We were all excited about the prospect of riding bicycles out into the Central Javan countryside. But, first, we had to travel for about 20 minutes by bus to get to the place that hired out the bicycles.
Those bikes were a somewhat interesting lot.
About half the group took the less vigorous option of being driven around in motorised tri-shaws. We had the prospect of a 20 km ride with frequent stops along the way.
It only took a few metres for me to realise that the geometry of an Asian built bike is not the same as the geometry of bikes built for Western people. The seat was far too close to the handlebars, in fact it felt as though the seat was in front of the handlebars! And the seat was definitely not designed for my bottom… each time I remounted, the seat was a little more uncomfortable. I must also say that it’s been nearly 15 years since I last rode a bike any distance so that may have had something to do with it all.
Not withstanding the discomfort of the bike seat, it was fascinating riding around the paddies because the rice harvest was in full swing. There would be much of interest.
Rice was being cut by hand.
The knife blade was kept sharp by rubbing across a sharpening stone.
Bundles of rice were carried across the field to the threshing machine.
At least the threshing machine was shaded from the unrelenting sun.
Small bundles were prepared for threshing.
The threshing wheel is powered by foot power… hard, hot work.
Threshed rice was spread to dry on sheets laid out on any available flat surface.
Older members of the family raked over the drying rice to make sure it dried evenly.
Three rice crops can be grown in this area each year.
It’s a case of one crop harvested, another planted. This is a new crop.
Time out for a bit of a rest in the shade.
Leaving the farmers, we rode on through the paddies to a village where we were to visit a family run tofu making business. More of that anon.
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