Days begin early in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. So Passoni owners Shandy and Ramon Teng are often up and out on their bikes as the sun is coming up. “The traffic in Jakarta is infamous,” explained Ramon when we caught up with him. “So we’re often ready by 5 am, and when you go for longer distances, you might even start at 4:30 am”. These pre-dawn roll-offs help Ramon and his wife escape the city long before rush hour. However, they’re not uncommon. “The majority of Indonesians wake up to pray before dawn, so it’s not unusual to be up so early anyway,” explains Ramon.
In fact, early starts are a part of Indonesian life, thanks partly to the country’s hot and humid climate. “It can already be 28°c when you wake up,” says Ramon. “And by the time you’re done cycling, it might be over 32°”. Fortunately, he and Shandy live in the more mountainous area south of Jakarta. “We’re at a higher elevation where it’s cooler, and the temperature is milder,” he explains. Not only does this mean conditions are a little less sweltering, but it’s a location that provides ready access to some of the island’s scenic climbs.
However, beyond the high-altitude ascents up the largest island’s volcanic mountains, cycling in Indonesia is incredibly varied. “Indonesia is made up of over 17,000 islands,” explains Ramon. “So there’s no one thing to say about every spot in Indonesia. In Jakarta, you see metropolitan cycling in the city streets. But even just one or two hours away, people speak different languages and dialects. And then there are different terrains, including lakes, forests, and uninhabited islands. Through cycling, you get to see so many different people and cultures”. Road cycling is still relatively uncommon in more rural areas of Indonesia. However, people on audax rides can expect help in the event of a breakdown. “It wouldn’t be unusual to be invited into someone’s house and fed,” says Shandy. “It’s in the Indonesian culture to be welcoming”.
The pair’s love of cycling grew out of a background in triathlon. “Triathlon can be challenging with all the training and the scheduling,” says Ramon. “Eventually, we got more and more into cycling and fell in love with it”. With cycling winning out over running and swimming, bikes also became something they could share with their family. “With triathlon, we were training twice a day. And the kids were complaining that it was a bit too much. But cycling is now something we enjoy with the family,” says Shandy.
The pair are now also very active in their local cycling community. “In Indonesia, people like to do these activities communally,” says Ramon. So cycling is like a social gathering organised around people with the same hobby. More than the sport itself, this aspect is really important”.
Indonesia’s cycling scene has traditionally been small. However, it’s grown enormously during the pandemic as people sought to exercise outdoors. “Before, we would see the same groups. We’d spot them and know who they were from far away,” says Shandy. “Now there are so many”.
Shandy and Ramon also spend a lot of time in the USA and Europe and often bring their bikes. “We’re going to the USA this summer,” says Shandy. “We’ll land in Atlanta, then go to Michigan and Lake Idaho, next to Seattle and onto Colorado. We’ll have an RV camper and take the bikes so we can stop and explore”.
On previous trips, the pair have also visited Passoni’s factory outside Milan. “I have an XXTI, and my husband has a Titanio,” explains Shandy. “We’ve always loved bikes,” says Ramon “There’s so much value to having a bespoke bike crafted with real sentiment. You feel as if you’re set up for life”.
Both Ramon and Shandy are now part of a growing informal club of Indonesian Passoni owners who meet up to ride near Jakarta. “You meet so many interesting people in all kinds of fields. With the cycling group, you can sit down with anyone,” says Ramon. “That’s the beauty of the community. You can get to know people you might otherwise never meet”.