The family and I just got back from Bali, taking a couple of weeks to recharge and soak in some sunshine, eat at incredible restaurants and take in some of those magic Balinese sunsets your mates on Instagram know and love.
But, Bali isn't just about Bintang beer and beaches. Traffic is rife through the densely populated areas of Bali and when I was transferring between areas I couldn't help to catch a glimpse of Indonesia's incredible cycling scene - and it got me thinking about the worlds (including humble ol' Newy's) bicycle culture, and how it transcends a means of transportation.
Indonesia: Embracing Mini-Velo Style Bikes: Picture this: cruising through the bustling streets of Bali on a compact mini-velo style bike, pimped out with some of the finest components and paint jobs. In Indonesia, these nifty little bikes have stolen the show. They're not only practical for navigating crowded roads but also serve as a canvas for personal expression. It's incredible to see how riders in Bali deck out their mini-velos with colourful accessories and artistic flair, turning heads wherever they go.
Mini-velo style bikes have a smaller frames and typically 20-24" wheels which help them be incredible nimble and carve up the streets. I want one, no I NEED one.
Thailand: Single-Speed Culture: Now, let's head over to Thailand, where they have a wildly popular road-cycling scene, with lycra-clad Thai's chewing up the kilometres end to end. But it's not the roadies I'm interested in. There is an incredible single-speed (or fixie scene) scene in Thailand, where track bikes have been re-purposed into nimble, yet risky fixed-gear bikes where your legs don't stop spinning. Young Thai's have really leant into it, with finessed frames with wickedly good paint jobs, spot on components and probably some of the most well maintained and clean bikes I have ever seen.
Also, shout outs to House from back in the Sydney days who lead Robocog Cafe in Surry Hills - 3 Thai guys that served up great coffee and had a wild collection of fixies. Proper dudes.
Speaking of Thailand, one of my fondest memories well before Newy Rides was for my bucks party, a small crew of us cycled 400km south of Bangkok with Hua Hin Bike Tours enjoying a very authentic, multi-day ride through coastal towns, eating incredible food and being spoilt by our hosts Chris and Gai - shout outs to those guys too. Do it if you get the opportunity - I still talk about the crab fried rice and young mango fish to this day.
North America: Bikepacking Adventures: I'm not sure how many of you associate North America with bikes but you definitely should. Known for epic mountain-bike adventures, there is a scene carved out for especially bikepacking. But what is is? Essentially it's backpacking/hiking + bikes i.e. strap everything you can carry to eat, hydrate, sleep and wear on a humble bicycle. The sport is huge with specialty gear to make it easier and routes out there taking you to the most picturesque parts of the country. From the breathtaking beauty of the Pacific Coast of California and Oregon to the rugged wilderness of the Appalachian Mountains, bikepacking is a huge vibe, bringing out the adventurer in all of us and is truly an authentic way to see the continent.
There is a race called the Tour Divide which spans from Banff (Canada) to New Mexico (USA) - 4418km, yep! Folks have to cross a bunch of mountain ranges riding (and camping) through bear country. Often riders mount bear repellent emergency spray to their handlebars just in case. What!
A friend and I recently did a short bike packing trip to Kosciusko if you're curious and want to check it out.
But you're looking to head to North America then check out this quirky little video below by Canadian lads on their first time bikepacking through British Columbia on some shiny new bikes - their camp kitchen game is next level too btw.
Europe: A Rich Tapestry of Bicycle Culture: Now, let's pedal our way across the pond to Europe, where cycling is practically an art form. In cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, bikes are like an extension of people's souls. It's a region where cycling isn't just a means of transport—it's a way of life. Commuters, families, and tourists seamlessly share the roads and dedicated bike lanes, making cycling part of essential day-to-day life. And don't forget about those legendary cycling events, like the iconic Tour de France. It's a cyclist's dream come true!
Central America: Cargo Bikes as Vendors: Heading south, we arrive in Central America, where cargo bikes have taken the entrepreneurial scene by storm. Imagine street vendors serving up mouthwatering treats from their mobile cafes, or repair shops on wheels coming to the rescue when your bike needs some TLC. Cargo bikes have become the backbone of small businesses, providing sustainable solutions and strengthening community connections throughout the region. It's an inspiring sight to behold!
Did you know that way before Newy Rides we owned a food 'truck' business called Busboy that served handheld food up out of a cargo bike kitchen!
Bicycles have a universal language that transcends borders and connects us all. Whether it's the mini-velo style bikes in Indonesia, the single-speed culture of Thailand, bikepacking adventures in North America, the rich tapestry of European cycling or the cargo bike businesses in Central America - we're pretty chuffed to play a small role in getting more people out there where the rubber meets the road.
Newy Rides curates bespoke cycling itineraries for groups no matter where in the world you're from, if you're visiting us here in Newcastle, let us show you a great time. Learn more at newyrides.com.au