Happiness Is An Offroad Adventure Around Bali’s Volcanic Mountains With New Friends
Photography by Tom Hawkins
Editor’s Note: I met Tom Hawkins at Deus Ex Machina’s Temple Of Enthusiasm in Canggu, Bali a few months ago. We bonded over his love for German cameras and a restlessness that could only be cured with exceptional travel. He recently shared his shots from an adventure taken around the volcanic islands in the Balinese archipelago on his trusty Leica M9. While some of them feature more modern bikes, I couldn’t help but sigh with jealousy over what an experience they had. We now have the pleasure of sharing his photos with you.
The internet is a crazy thing, not only has it revolutionized the way we do pretty much everything in our day to day lives, but it has also made the world a much smaller place. We here at the Temple of Enthusiasm had been admiring the quality of work and content coming from an independent Moto publication from Colorado named META for quite some time and then were randomly introduced to each other by chance by a mutual friend. After shooting the breeze for a few months we decided that the best course of action was for them to hop on a plane across the pond and come see first hand what we get up to here in the Indonesian archipelago, so that’s exactly what they did.
When Ben and Andrew from META arrived we didn’t really have a plan per se. Zye Norris and Forrest Minchinton, both experienced motorcycle riders who spend about half the year on and off here in Bali, happened to be in town as well as good friend and filmmaker Andy Gough, who was also hanging out in Canggu after finishing up another project. These three guys along with Bali-based Photographer Tom Hawkins and Deus Bali’s head honcho Dustin Humphrey made a pretty good team of creative misfits and from there the ‘Membah’ project was born.
We started things off by taking the boys from the landlocked state on a couple surf missions. With boards in the racks we woke them at dawn and showed them how riding along empty beaches lead to empty peaks, and if there were no waves how fun the miles of pristine low tide sand could be on two wheels. We also gave them a peek at our local beachside MX track and we watched as Ben, the creative director for META, proceeded to throw some crazy whips into the salty ocean breeze. After a few sunsets and a few beers it became apparent that everyone in the group was pretty much cut from the same cloth, meshing really well, chatting up a storm and sharing a love for anything with two wheels and a motor.
After a few days on the coast we wanted to show the guys one of our go-to riding zones that is pretty unique to this part of the world, so we loaded up the truck and headed inland to a more volcanic region of the island. Arriving in the dark, it was fun to watch the expression on their faces change as the first light revealed the playground of terrain before them. Ear to ear smiles. We let the boys loose and watched as they climbed hills, hit lips and carved lines into the side of an active volcano, stopping only for water and reluctant toilet breaks. Over beers that night we told them stories of an even bigger volcano with more diverse terrain on the next island over. What started as just an offhand chat and the dinner table ended up with us packing our bags, loading the trucks and heading west to a larger island with a larger volcano.
We started our journey from Canggu in the dark and after arriving at our destination in the dark again, the sunrise produced even bigger smiles this time around. The terrain that lay before us is almost impossible to describe with words alone. Sitting on the edge of a volcanic crater at sunrise, 2000 meters above sea level, we gazed down into its foggy abyss. Wisps of wind framed breaks in the cloud, revealing glimpses of terrain that seemed too diverse to be true. Think the ashy barren volcanic regions of Iceland mixed with rolling green hills of Switzerland, all surrounded by the cliffs of Kauai with random sand dunes thrown in here and there.
It’s safe to say we spent the next 3 days in a state of adrenaline filled bliss, waking up early and riding late until the sun set behind the towering cliffs. After it was all said and done, it was hard to believe we had spent 2 weeks riding and shooting, it all went so fast. I guess time really does fly when you are having fun. We all hugged it out and parted ways, headed to our respective corners of the globe to go through the content we had created and reminisce.
Now, a few months later we are stoked to share with the world what we have been busy with since the day we left the side of that volcano. Here are a few images from our adventures along with the full short film Andy cut together. To see more head over to readmeta.com and order yourself a copy of Volume 7.