Sunday, January 30, 2011

Utrecht Church and Dutch Flag

Mountain biking along the road leading to Cape Bakaro of Manokwari city in the morning is really fascinating. Besides having the chance to inhale fresh air, I could see people preparing for morning Church service. Manokwari and the whole territory of West Papua used to be under the Dutch administration. So, it is not surprising to see some Dutch influence in this tropical island. When I was in Pasirido and Abasi areas, I took some pictures of a Dutch flag and a Protestant church named Utrecht Sau Abas. Utrecht is definitely a Dutch name. It is a city in Europe. Since it was Sunday morning 30 January 2011, I saw some people at the church.
Most Papuan in Manokwari were preparing to go to church that's why the road from my house to Cape Bakaro was relatively quiet. There were not many motorized vehicles moving around the bike riding was really excellent.
The Dutch flag that you see below has been on the top of the tree since the world cup event in South Africa last year. Although the world cup was over and the Dutch could only get the runner up position, the Papuan still do not want to take the flag down the tree. This flag clearly shows strong emotional connection between the Papuan people and the Dutch or the Netherlands.
The road from Missi to Cape Bakaro is quite far. It takes around a little more than one hour cycling to reach the cape. Although it is a long ride, the scenery of the coastal area of Manokwari in the morning is really beautiful. Cyclists will never get bored when riding their bicycles along this route. I have been cycling through this route many times but I never feel bored. The tropical rainforest, the white sandy beach, the coconut trees, the flowers, the villagers, and the scenes of children playing or swimming always attract my attention.
If you plan to visit Manokwari and are interested to see its beauty by mountain biking or cycling, I will be happy to guide you around - with bicycle, of course. It is my personal commitment to promote ecotourism that preserves the tropical rainforest and coral reef around this city and it is also my passion to re-introduce cycling culture to the city dwellers. I believe that by regularly cycling around, I have directly promoted this environmentally friendly lifestyle to the Papuan people. I am happy to see that more people are now riding bicycles in this town. The more we cycle the better our city will be - the cleaner the air and the healthier we will be.
One week from now, there will be a great celebration in Manokwari. The Christians will celebrate the Gospel Landing (or Preaching) Day in Papua land. On 5 February 1855 two European evangelists landed on Mansinam island to preach the Good News to the Papuan people. That's the beginning time where Papuan civilization entered its new chapter. Now majority of the Papuan are Christians. Thousands of people will gather in Manokwari city to celebrate the Gospel Preaching day with various activities from art exhibition to street parades.Tourists will come to this city too to see the wonderful celebration. So, if you have time, don't forget to visit Manokwari now! by Charles Roring

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tropical Cycling in Manokwari city

I have just checked my google analytics account a few minutes ago that I found someone typed "tropical cycling" and landed in this blog. I wrote some articles related to mountain bike tour in Manokwari city, the capital of West Papua province in New Guinea island. New Guinea is the largest tropical island in the world. It consists of two parts, the eastern region which is the independent state of Papua New Guinea and the western region which is the territory of Indonesia. There are two provinces in the western region i.e. Papua and West Papua. Cycling in Manokwari is a great way to travel around the tropical city and its surrounding areas. Some cycling destinations
Also read: Mountain bike tour in Manokwari
This is a great location for tourists who want to do some mountain bike tour to the Table Mountain. To climb the mountain, I used my Polygon mountain bike. The slope is quite steep but I can manage to reach the top of the mountain if I use gear 1 both at the front and rear chain wheels of my bicycle. Several meters before the gate of the Hutan Wisata Gunung Meja (meaning tourist forest of Table Mountain) is a great spot to see the beauty of the Dorey bay, Manokwari city, and the Arfak mountains. I don't enter the gate, instead I continue riding my bike around the mountain. There are more things that I can see such as the villages of the indigenous people and campus areas of Papua university. It takes between 1.5 to 3 hours cycling if we want to enjoy the natural beauty of the tropical rainforest of the Table mountain, the village life in Anggori and Ayambori, and the academic environment of the university.
Pasir Putih beach, Abasi and Cape Bakaro
This is my favorite tropical cycling tour. Because it's terrain is quite flat, tourists can use road bicycle to travel around. The best time to visit these beach areas is early in the morning. I used to go out of my house with my bicycle at 5.30 a.m. I rode my bicycle to Cape Bakaro which is a famous fish calling station. Here, we can ask a Papuan man to call fish. He usually uses termites and a whistle. Standing on the rock by the sea water, he will brake some termite house and throw it to the sea. After that he will blow his whistle to call the fish. When the weather is good and there are no waves, a lot of fish will come to eat the tiny termite which has been thrown by the man. Also when I ride my bike in the morning to this area, I could hear sounds of birds in the tropical trees that are covering the Cape Bakaro. Please, read: Mountain bike tour to Cape Bakaro
The Northern Coast
The northern coast of Manokwari regency stretches from Aipiri to Yonsoribo. It is more than 50 kilometers. Although the road has been built along the beach, the terrain is not always flat. Tourists need mountain bike to cover the long route of the northern coast of Manokwari. There is no hotel along this region but accommodation at some good houses can be arranged for cycling tourists. Be sure to bring with you enough food and water if you want to visit the area by bicycle.
Prafi valley
Cycling to Prafi is also possible. I have never done a cycling trip to Prafi but from the information that I got from mountain bikers in Manokwari, it can be done with a support van or car. Prafi is a huge plain in Manokwari regency. It is an agricultural center that supplies fruits and vegetables to the city. The most important thing that we need to know is that the road leading to Prafi valley consists of flat and steep slope terrains. Most often cars and trucks run fast.
Manokwari - Ransiki
Other Cycling Route that I recommend is from Manokwari city to Warkapi - Oransbari - and Ransiki. If we start riding our bike in the morning, we will arrive in Ransiki in the afternoon. We can stay in motels there. Make sure that your mountain bike is in good condition before you start riding your bike.
If you are interested in cycling around Manokwari city and its surrounding areas, you can contact me via email, I will be happy to cycle with you and guide you around to see the natural beauty of this great tropical island.
Also read:
Tropical rainforest mountain bike tour

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mountain Bike Tour to Cape Bakaro of Manokwari city in West Papua

It was Sunday morning 23rd January 2011, 5.30 a.m. when I was pushing my mountain bike out of my house. It was still dark outside. This time I planned to do a mountain bike tour to Cape Bakaro located on the east of Manokwari city. Much of the cape area is still covered with tropical rainforest. On the previous days, I always rode my bicycle in the afternoons from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. During those hours, there were cars and motorcycles on the streets and roads of the city. So, I decided to change my cycling exercise time to mornings.
After wearing my bike helmet, I got on my bike and began pedaling it to Brawijaya street. All the city dwellers were still sleeping. One or two ojeks (motorcycle taxi) passed by me. I could feel the cool air when I increased my speed. Going down the slope behind governor's office of West Papua province, I felt that my mountain bike was going faster and faster through the dark under the big trees which had been planted by the Dutch. Because I did not attach the front lamp on the handle bar, I was afraid that I might hit other motorcycles or cars at the cross roads thirty meters ahead of me. So, I "squeezed" the Tektro front and rear brake handles to reduce the speed of my mountain bike. Everything around me was still dark. I could see some motorcycles were approaching the cross road with a small round about in the middle. I was now at Kampung Ambon area behind the city's general hospital.
I was not far from Ketapang boat terminal in Kwawi area where I could see Arfak mountains on the other side of the Dorey bay. Some people were sitting by the beach. Perhaps they had been there since night time spending Saturday night under the full moon light. Manokwari is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Mansinam and Lemon islands in the middle of the bay are famous destinations for tourists who like swimming and snorkeling over the coral reefs which are the tropical rainforest of the sea. Personally, I am really concerned with a lot of plastic wastes from the Manokwari city that are now polluting the coastal area of the Dorey bay. I really hope that the local government will take serious actions to tackle this problem. 
When I arrived at Pasir Putih beach, the Sun was emerging on the east just a little bit above the horizon of the sea surface at the tip of Cape Bakaro. Although the scenery of the sunrise was beautiful, I did not stop to take some photographs. I was still half way to Cape Bakaro my usual cycling destination. I would take the sunrise picture when I returned. I needed around twenty more minutes to reach the cape. The scenery of the Abasi beach was really beautiful. It was calm and peaceful to be at the beach that morning. I did not see many people there. I turned right and headed to the beach just ten meters from the waves. I pulled my digital camera out of my pocket. It was a Sony SteadyShot DSC-W310. I turned it on and began shooting.
Then I got off my mountain bike and pushed it back to the road again and took some pictures of the surrounding scenery. I was quite happy because I could take as many pictures as I like. After spending five minutes taking pictures of the beach, some flowers, and the road of Abasi, I continued cycling to Cape Bakaro again. The morning was now bright but with the half full moon was still white in the middle of the blue sky above my head. Birds were singing on the coconut trees. I thought that because it was Sunday, I should not go further to Bakaro village where the fish calling station was. So, I turned around and returned to Manokwari city again.
Before completing my morning mountain bike tour, I went to the ship harbor of Manokwari to take some pictures of a PELNI ship. It was MV Labobar capable of carrying around 2,500 to 3,000 passengers. My friend Grietje in the Netherlands needs the pictures to complete the revision works of the Travel Guide Book of Ecotourism Manokwari West Papua. The bell of the Catholic church St. Agustinus was clanging when I arrived at home again. People were now preparing to go to church. by Charles Roring
Also read:
  • Mountain bike tour in Manokwari
  • Riding bicycle is good for our health and the environment
  • How to promote cycling culture in your town
  • Mountain biking to Cape Bakaro in Manokwari city

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mountain Bike Tour in Manokwari

Last Christmas, I gave a mountain bike tour to an Indonesian tourist. His name was Danang. He worked for Datascript an IT company in Indonesia whose headquarter is in Jakarta. He rode my dirt jump mountain bike Polygon Cozmic DX 2.0. which had just arrived on 6 December 2010. Danang rode his bicycle every Fridays to his office so it was not difficult for him to adjust the seemingly complicated Shimano Alivio gears of my newly arrived mountain bicycle. The first touring route was to Pasir Putih beach. It was on 25 December 2010 and the second one was touring around the Table Mountain which is still covered with tropical rainforest.
As a matter of fact it was my first time providing a cycling tour to a "tourist." Most of the tourists who visited Manokwari rent a car for traveling around the city or going to the Table Mountains. I saw the potentials of providing mountain bike tour to tourists as a new way to raise awareness among the cycling tourists about the importance of preserving rainforest that is now shrinking in size very rapidly.
The first tour went well but the second one was completed with a small incident. When we were entering Anggori village in Amban area behind the Table Mountain, on a small slope, the chain of Danang's bike went off the rail when he was trying to shift it to gear 2 (which did not exist) and stucked between the bike frame and the front gear. I had to borrow a screw driver and a plier to hammer it out leaving deep scar on my new bike. Well it was an unfortunate experience but it taught me a lot about how to adjust the screws that control the derailleur mechanism.
One thing that I was really impressed from this mountain bike tour was that along the road to Pasir Putih beach and to Cape Bakaro, a little bit outside Manokwari city, we were warmly greeted by children, and teenagers. They might see our new mountain bikes complete with their  Shimano Alivio gears as their dreamed bicycles because such human powered vehicles were quite expensive for them. They might need to save their pocket money for years before being able to buy one. But the mountain bike tour has given a great impact to children a long the usual route that I pass through that now I see more bicycles on the road from Missi - Kwawi - Pasir Putih - Arowi - Abasi and Cape Bakaro.
As of today, I only have two mountain bikes but I can buy more if I see a definitive growing interest among tourists who want to enjoy the natural beauty of Papua by riding bicycles. by Charles Roring
Also read:
Tropical rainforest mountain bike tour
Mountain biking to Cape Bakaro
Mountain biking in the Table Mountain
Benefits of riding bicycles
Riding bicycle is good for our health

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tropical Rainforest Mountain Bike Tour

Last Christmas I guided an Indonesian tourist cycling around the tropical rainforest of the Table Mountain. His name is Danang and he was very fond of cycling. So, in the afternoon I offered him a cycling tour with my mountain bikes. I gave him the dirt jump mountain bike polygon dx 2.0 whereas I rode the Polygon Celine 3.0. We began cycling from my house along the Brawijaya Street and slowly ascending the Sarinah area. From the Sarinah, the slope was getting steeper and steeper. the dark green color of the tropical rainforest of the Table Mountain was in front of our eyes. It was only around 200 meters ahead of us but it was difficult to be reached.
I shifted my front gear to 1 and gradually moving the rear gear to 1 too from speed 9. I felt that paddling up the slope is difficult but I managed to get to the top where I could see the gate of the Table Mountain on my left. Danang seemed to be exhausted in the middle of the road. He got off the bike and started to walk up the slope pushing the mountain bike on his right side. Finally, he was able to reach the top.
After taking a rest for around 15 minutes watching the blue sea of the Dorey bay below us and some part of the Arfak mountains at the other side of the bay I decided to carry on our mountain biking tour that afternoon. We did not enter the forest because the road condition at the slope near the gate was not good enough. We passed through the Ayambori village, the Litbang area, the black house, and then the Kebun Percobaan.
Several hundred meters before the entering the Anggori village, the chain of Danang's bike went off the gear when he tried to shift the front speed from 3 to 1. We stopped to repair it. The chain stucked between the gear and the dirt jump bike frame which was made of aluminum compound called Alx 6061 manufactured by Polygon - a wellknown bike maker in Indonesia. Fortunately there was someone on the other side of the street who was repairing his grass cutting machine. I borrowed his screwdriver and plier to hammer the chain out to the narrow gap. I saw that the friction between the chain and the frame left some deep scratches on my mountain bike that had just arrived 3 weeks before Christmas 2010. While repairing the chain, we were able to hear the sound of waves landing on the beach of Amban beyond the tropical rainforest of the North Coast area of Manokwari. We arrived at home at around 7 p.m.. Although we experienced small incident that afternoon, I could say that I really enjoy the cycling trip on the second day of clear afternoon Christmas.
Private Guided Tour
As a tour guide, I provide a private guided cycling or hiking tour services to you if you are interested in exploring the mountains, the tropical rainforest and the coastal area of Manokwari. I can also escort you on a hiking and snorkeling trip to Numfor island - a small and peaceful tropical island in Cendrawasih bay. Please, contact me via e-mail: for further arrangement of your trip.
Also read:
Mountain Biking in the Table Mountain
Riding bicycle is good for our health and environment

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tropical Rainforest Timber and Its Sustainable Extraction

I have written a lot of articles in this blog and my other websites about the promotion of ecotourism for the preservation of tropical rainforest and the providence of jobs in Manokwari regency and its surrounding region. From those articles, some tourists came last year and more have contacted me expressing their plans to see interesting tourist destinations and do activities that I had mentioned. As a matter of fact, the functions of forest are not limited to ecotourism. Tropical rainforest have been producing a lot of things that we need. Some of the rainforest products that have been extracted are wood and NTFP (Non Timber Forest Products such as rattan, rainforest flowers, mushrooms, medicinal plants, resins and wildlife animals)
Sustainable Extraction of Timber
People living in or around the rainforest build their homes using wood. Wood is one of the best construction materials in the world. From bookshelves to tables and from doors to floors, we can see many of the things in our houses are made of wood. I have stated many times in my articles that I am against deforestation. But it does not mean that I oppose timber extraction from forest. These issues are two different things. Based on my personal experience, I saw a lot of naturally fallen trees when I was guiding tourists in the Table Mountain. Yet, these trees are not extracted for their logs which are highly needed in the nearby Manokwari city. People working in the forestry department do not see these naturally fallen trees as important timber commodity that they can harvest from the forest to generate income both for the state and for the people living near the forest.

Process of Log Removal
I don't recommend the use of crawler tractors because they can inflict substantial damage on forest ecosystems. To minimize the destruction of other vegetation in the forest during the extraction of the wood, chainsaw operators can cut the fallen trees into smaller blocks and panels. These wood products can then be transported out of the felling site using cable system. Because there are no elephants, horses and water buffalos in Papua, local people can be employed to carry the wooden blocks and panels to the nearby road before they are transported to the saw mills in the city by logging trucks for further reprocessing works. During the colonial period, the Netherlands government had built roads inside the Table Mountain of Manokwari. These roads, if cleared, and maintained, can be used for the removal of timber and as track for tourists who are interested in hiking in the Table Mountain. 
Extraction of Fuelwood
Segments of branches and twigs that have been cut from the naturally fallen trees that are not used for home building and furniture can be taken by the people for fuel wood. Papuan children are often asked to help their parents collect firewood in the forest. For Papuan children, forest is not only the source of food and fuelwood but also their playground.
I support the extraction of wood from these naturally fallen trees because the removal of the wood will accelerate the recovery of the "naturally deforested" area. Wood from the naturally fallen trees can be used for fuel wood, home buildings and furniture. By wisely extracting timber from jungle, we can continually preserve the rainforest for future generations. by Charles Roring