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Motorcycle touring from Jakarta

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  • Motorcycle touring from Jakarta

    Hi. I've done some motorcycle touring around Java and Sumatra and wanted to see if anyone else is into this. My current touring partner isn't available as much these days so I'm looking for someone else who might like to plan some trips on the weekends. For example, last weekend I went up to Batujaya which is a temple complex and the surrounding area. I'd also be interested to know if anyone has any advise about navigation. So far I've relied on google maps and stopping to ask directions a lot, which may not be the best system, someone recommended "wayz" to me. I tested out using andromax but the connection is random away from the city. Replies, tips and PMs warmly welcomed...

  • #2
    Originally posted by tomasturtle View Post
    ... I tested out using andromax but the connection is random away from the city ...

    I suppose it may depend on each area too , but be informed that SmartFren (provider of Andromax) is not the biggest internet provider in Indonesia , so its coverage area may be not the best .

    I guess the 3 biggerst 3G/4G internet operators are : Telkomsel (the biggest) , XL (second ?) , and Indosat .

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    • #3
      Hi there! Where are you right now? I love motorcycle touring too. Maybe we can meet up and get to know each other. I live in bogor, west java but travel to jkt often especially weekends. Planning to ride my motorcycle from bogor to bali in the next couple months! Please pm me so we can meet up and get to know each other!

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      • #4
        Think I've found an answer to this issue that works pretty good and would like to share it so others who also like touring can know.

        First of all I've gotten using Google Maps which I think will serve a lot of people the best because it can be used totally off-line, just there are a few tips and tricks you'll need to know to get the most out of it... a few thoughts... (Some of the jargon might not make sense, but if you start to play with the app I hope you'll get what I mean.)

        - The app is not made for motorcycling in rural Indonesia so have patience and get to understand all the sub-menus and quirks of the system.

        - Start by downloading the map for off-line use of the area you'll be wanting, I found that the whole west of Java is about half a gaga-byte. This map will contain all the roads and addresses and locations that are in the online version.

        - Certain features don't work off-line like satellite or traffic so you'll want to think about your routing a little not just click a destination and start driving.

        - You *can* route your own path just like with the computer version of Google Maps, to do that, select Additional Destinations, you can choose A to I, so 8 points, I'm only counting up to H because for some reason on my device, which is a second-hand Samsung smartphone I got just to use for navigation and mapping, it always freezes if I try to add the last Additional Destination I. Maybe this problem is only on my device?

        - By the way, the GPS does not use data, but from what I've read you will want to have a sim card for it to run, so I activated a Simpati number and put the minimum pulsa on to keep the number alive.

        - Another issue is, off-line you cannot choose Avoid Toll Roads which won't be an issue away from the big city, but you'll need to watch out for the tendency of the AI to put you onto a toll road if there is one anywhere around, to solve this use the Additional Destinations feature to map your route in detail.

        - You can save your routes, only one at a time however, for off-line use. To get it to go from Preview to Start so you can get the interface into navigation function and not just the bird's-eye view map you'll need to edit the first point to My Location at the time you're ready to roll and then it will show the Start button and you can enter the navigation mode. Use this trick too if the device or you exits navigation mode during your trip, delete the points you have already passed and edit the first point, again, to My Location and you'll be good to go.

        - So if you are planning a big trip, you'll want to do all this routing the night before and save the route off-line so you can do some investigating of the roads and so on with the satellite function to maximize your safety and understanding what's going to be coming. Doing this routing with the little tiny smart phone screen on the side of the road is not going to be fun, better pull over for a rest and some shade if you need to add some changes or plot out a new path.

        - If you zoom right in, or use satellite online you can predict fairly well the quality of the roads. Google Maps will route you onto a huge crowded truck filled road or a muddy walking path just the same. It prefers to put you on the big roads usually. It is the country roads, which are neither main routes full of big trucks nor muddy jungle paths which are probably going to be the nicest for cruising along both for aesthetics and freshness of air, but also rate of progress and safety. This is the whole magic of routing your plan out, since staying on the main roads will add hours and hours to your trip when there are lovely rural roads that are much more direct -- just watch out because what Google Maps counts as a road might just be a foot path through a swamp so look at the route you're planning carefully and be prepared to change your plans on the fly if needed. Also, in rural areas there are a lot of eretang, that is, little barges for crossing rivers, these are not on Google Maps so you'll need to discover them as you go.

        - While offline you can use the Save and Star feature to mark a place, but you'll need to come back to wifi connection to be able to Label that Star and save it in your Google Maps.

        - Hopefully you wear motorcycle gloves when driving, if you have full finger leather ones like me you can't click on the smart phone easily with them since they don't conduct electricity well and that's how the touch screen works. Either you'll need to lick your dusty glove finger to make it conductive, pull over and click carefully because the gloves can click if it is a real careful deliberate click, use gloves without fingers which I wouldn't recommend myself for safety reasons, or else online it suggests sewing a stitch of conductive thread into the finger, I haven't looked for this kind of thread yet to see if it's easily available around Indonesia. Not to be lecturing, but safety first, pull over if you want to do something with the smartphone rather than driving without looking where you're going.

        - I put a mount for the phone and found that even with the screen brightness turned right down its easy to see if mounted at the right angle even in the blaring sun. I found the battery will last close to six hours with navigation turned on the whole time. If you have such stamina to drive more than six hours which is quite a lot if your driving hard through rough roads and sight seeing you'll need a battery charger. At least speaking for myself I would not want to drive too much more than six hours in a day without total exhaustion setting in. I have done seven in one go and four and a rest and then four more but that's a lot for me and I'm in good shape. If you are new to motorcycle touring in the countryside take this into account because I understand some people who tour in developed countries will cruise 1000 km in a day in 10 hours and that is definitely not possible on Java.

        - Notice that your map needs to be updated monthly otherwise it will expire. I expect all your Labels and Stars will stay since they are saved in you Google Maps account and in your phone respectively. You can label things on your computer too and they'll go into your smartphone app, if you've been online since. You can route online to and then send the route to your smart phone and save it off line, but, since the app and the computer version of Google Maps work a little differently I would not recommend this and instead use the Additional Destinations trick otherwise you risk losing all your planning in the transfer.

        - That's all that comes to mind just now. Google Maps app is not made for motorcycles or rural Indonesia so be prepared to have some patience to figure out how to use the service and acquaint yourself with the features and sub-menus and tricks, while initially I found it not a little frustrating, after some practice it is a veritable miracle for motorcycle touring in the country.

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