After the day at Krakatoa, we continued on to the end of Sumatra to catch the ferry to Java.
Once we were on the ferry and waiting to leave Sumatra, we noticed a guy (perhaps a bit mad?) in the water, swimming up and down the length of the ship. The racket was that as he was swimming around beside the boat, you’d throw coins into the water and he’d dive down and get them as they were sinking.
As the ship was heading towards Java, I was walking around on the deck when one of the crew approached me. After talking for a couple minutes, he lead me up to the steering house, where he let me take control for a few minutes.
Steering a massive ferry is serious business.
Once we arrived on Java, we navigated the ever worsening traffic as we approached Jakarta. We needed to get into Tangerang (a suburb of Jakarta, if you can call it that) to get some new tires. Luckily Tangerang was the first bit we hit, as going any further into Jakarta and dealing with the traffic would’ve been a pretty miserable affair.
We stopped by this little shop that had quite a different feel than any at home, but is par for the course in SE Asia.
The little building was filled with parts (the walls and shelves were absolutely packed with any random part you could want for any big Japanese bike) and all the work done on the bikes was done outside in the lot in front of the shop.
The two main mechanics there had to share a brain…never before have I seen two guys work on the same task at the same time and never once get in each other’s way. They seemed to know what each other was going to do before they even did it.
Ben got a couple new tires and new brakes on the first day we went in, but they didn’t have a rear tire in the proper size for my bike, so they had to overnight one in from Singapore.
We went back the next day so I could get my new tire…
They didn’t have a tire mounting machine at the shop, so one of the mechanics would just bring them to a tire shop down the street to have it done…on a scooter of course.
Just a quick look at how desperately I needed a rear tire…
Towards the end of Sumatra, the steel belts started to show through, and it only (obviously) got worse over the next couple days, but there wasn’t much of an option other than to press on (slowly) towards Java, where I could get a new tire. Not only was I alarmed by the excessive wear to the tire, but it was incredibly uneven…I’d say there was a 1000+km difference of wear between the worse part (say, zero degrees) where the steel started to get exposed and the opposite side (180 degrees), where the wear was not nearly as excessive. So between the accelerated wear and uneven wear, I’m a little skeptical of these tires…
Also, when I rolled into Tangerang, where I was set to get my new tire…I noticed this nice little addition…luckily it didn’t puncture the tube!
With everything sorted out on the bikes, we continued through Java, heading east, passing some huge tea plantations as we got out of the city (the emptiness was a very welcome sight!)
Hey! I’m doing a bit of moto travel too- I have a question about strapping down a motorbike on a ferry. Would you suggest one strap over the seat? Can I just get basic all-purpose tie downs, or do I nee some sort of fancy type? Thanks!
Very inspiring! Best of luck from a fellow motorcycle adventurer.
Great to see someone else out there hitting the road on their bike!
Typically, I haven’t even strapped down my bike, and it’s worked fine for even some fairly rough crossings. If it’s looking really rough, putting it up on the center stand is quite a bit more stable (although that won’t be an option for all bikes).
For the boats that have required tying it down, typically they just want it set on the side stand, then they tie down the left side so it can’t tip to the right. For the boats that have required it, they always had rope for it.
If they don’t require it, but you want to tie it down for your own peace of mind, just your basic tie down strap would be more than enough to make me feel comfortable with it.
Another trick I’ve used a couple times for rough crossings when on my center stand…typically the bike will rest on the rear tire (under the weight of all my luggage), so I of course leave the bike in gear to prevent it rolling forward and off the stand, but in case it would rock forward (onto the front wheel), I zip tie my front brake on to prevent it rolling if it rocks forward.