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Trail Riding at Lake Toba, North Sumatra – Indonesia

Trail Riding with Egoll Lifestyle at Lake Toba, North Sumatra – Indonesia : A Supervulcano History on Earth.

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For 2 years now, I’v wanted to do a cycling trip to Lake Toba in North Sumatra, where the location has very challenging tracks, trail and downhills, with fresh air and cold weather. With my arm still broken, this second time caused by a cycling trip to New Zealand 10 months ago, the three of us, Thea, Troy and I, arrived at Kuala Namu Airport, Medan (the Capital of West Sumatra) at 11:00 PM. We went straight down to load our bicycles into a mini truck to continue our journey to Lake Toba, about a 3 hour drive. We arrived at 3:00 AM at the Hotel Danau Toba in Tongging, we still had the opportunity to eat Durian, the famous Indonesian fruit.

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With less than one hours sleep, we assembled our bicycles, ate breakfast and loaded them into the mini truck. Then at 9:00 AM we went to Haranggaol district, the starting location, at an elevation of about 1600 mtrs above see level, the track was sandy soil, full of loose small and big stones. The whole track was steep downhill with many a switchback. As we arrived at Hutatingkir district, we entered Saribu Dolok track. We again faced exciting challenges of fully steep downhill with more switchbacks. Also, the single track near the edge of Lake Toba was really wide. The track was enjoyable because it could be taken at full speed. We could do this trip in 2 ways, riding all through the edge of Lake Toba by finishing at Tongging or hiking to a machine boat to Tongging for 40 minutes, we chose hiking our bicycles to the boat, so we could enjoy the spectacular view of Lake Toba and the surroundings. The total distance from Harranggaol to the harbor was about 25 km but in all it was 40 km if you continued riding right to Tongging.

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We again loaded our bicycles for the lift to Simalem Resort, where they have 2 short but awesome downhill trails. DH One Tree Hill track of 1.4 km, with a starting point and elevation of 1800 mtrs, with beautiful a landscape that reminded us of when we rode in Queenstown, New Zealand 10 months ago. Lake Toba is so similar to Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, NZ. We entered DH One Tree Hill track at high speed, flowing and rolling and at the same time enjoying the amazing beautiful landscape created by God. The track was very extreme with very steep drops and jumps. After that, instead of riding the DH Pangambatan track of 1.55 km, we decided to ride the Kuda trail track of 1.4 km which was easy and short with the night atmosphere. We finished exactly at the restaurant and cafe inside Simalem Resort complex.

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After almost 12 hours riding, we slept in a tent at Simalem Forest camping ground. The weather was cold, but with a good meal, campfire and beer, it was awesome. The next day, we prepared for the trip home to Medan to Kuala Namu airport…..back to the city.

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There are many challenging trails and downhill tracks around Lake Toba with fresh air, cold weather and amazing landscape. It is a “must” for MTB riders all over the world to visit there. Indonesia has so many different characters of XC, trail and downhill on the island of Java, Sumatra and Bali.

Words & Photos: Arno Himawan Egoll

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