Bicycl Profile: UpShift Tours

We were introduced to Jarrod Partridge from Upshift Tours via Bryant Tang. It's a pity we didn't get to meet Jarrod in Melbourne on the Capital City Trail but great that we are now connected via Bicycl!

Words and Photos by: Jarrod Partridge

What inspired you to start Upshift Tours?

For me, Bali was always one of those places I never wanted to visit! I believed all the stories about the bogans and the drinking, which isn’t my scene. Then three years ago our friends got married here, and my wife and I came for the wedding. As the plane was descending, we fell in love with this slice of paradise!

While we were driving around Bali I noticed that the roads were amazing; well surfaced, picturesque, and quiet once you get out of the Kuta/Seminyak area.

That planted a seed in my head.

I love having fun. Fun in life, and fun in business. What could be more fun than escaping Australia’s cold winters to go riding in the tropics??

After spending time thinking, planning, scouting ride routes and accommodation, I finally launched the business late last year, and ran the first tour in April this year.

How would you describe the business?

I would describe it as a marriage of two passions; cycling and travel.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to travel, especially throughout Europe and Asia.

Then for the last seven years I’ve been covering bike races as a photographer.

It’s true that when you do something you love, it’s not work!

When people come on a tour, a bond is formed through the fun, enjoyment, and challenges of riding new routes with new friends.

I love seeing people having fun and taking an opportunity to relax and truly do something for themselves, something that will reinvigorate their spirit.

Can you tell us more about this simplicity and beauty of Upshift Tours?

I think it’s a very simple formula :-)

Awesome rides and ride support, awesome food, awesome accommodation.

For the rides, we have an incredible team. Wayan and his son New Kadek run the logistics, while Gede is out cycling with each group. Gede loves cycling, it’s his passion. He also loves learning about all the guests and showing them his Bali. Everyone just loves riding with Gede!

The beauty of these tours is ever-present.

In a literal sense it’s beautiful to know you’re going to be picked up at the airport by a trusted driver and spend a week riding with a guide, motorbike scout and support vehicle full of snacks and cold drinks.

As for on the road, the beauty of cycling in Bali goes deeper than the stunning vistas and meandering roads through eye-popping rice fields.

There is also beauty in the sounds of village life, from roosters crowing to bustling markets to the rhythmic chanting of a community ceremony.

Then there’s the smells!

When we roll out at sunrise, you can smell the freshness of a new day. As we go through villages, wonderful aromas from local warungs fill your nostrils and get the mind thinking about post-ride coffee and nasi-goreng!

We have relationships with villas in Canggu, Sanur, and Ubud, ensuring we can access accommodation that feels luxurious and has great breakfast. That’s super important! All our guests need to do is dump their bags in their room and dive into the pool, everything else is taken care of.

What do you personally ride?

I ride a Trek Emonda S5

What’s your favorite cycling route?

My favourite ride in Melbourne is the Capital City Trail.

It’s about 35 kilometres and takes you on a huge lap of the city, through parklands and along the Yarra. It also takes you through the Southbank area, which makes it easy to stop for gelati :-)

In Bali, my favourite route is the one we do up Mt Kintamani.

It’s a 35 kilometre climb at around 4-5%, with just over 1200 metres of climbing.

From the summit, there are spectacular views of the Mt Batur volcano.

The descent back into town is the highlight of the trip for many.

On smooth, wide roads we fly off the mountain, freewheeling most of the way. On the lower slopes we then go through the Tegalalang region which is dotted with sleepy villages and punctuated by incredible rice fields and jungles.

What’s a typical day like for you?

A typical day for me is fun!!

We get up early and have a traditional breakfast at 6 so we can be on the road by 6.30am. This ensures we beat the heat, beat the crowds at the sights, and get home before the roads get too hot and hectic.

After that, it’s four hours of adventure!

I love seeing how people transform from being nervous about riding the bustling roads of Bali, to developing the confidence that comes from knowing the locals will offer plenty of space when passing.

Having the opportunity to take photos and videos of the groups riding is also a lot of fun. You can’t ride here without having a huge smile!

We always get home around lunchtime to stop at a restaurant and refuel, leaving the afternoons for swimming, shopping, and sightseeing.

Then in the evening we head out to places where we can dine at sunset, before having a great sleep and doing it all again the following day!

What are some of the challenges you faced with the Upshift Tours?

The only challenge has been people's mindset about what Bali is.

Like I did a few years ago, many people think of Bali as a place that is crowded with people getting drunk. Many people also believe the roads here are in a terrible condition and overcrowded.

Now that we have run a few trips and people can see the photos, watch the videos, and hear the stories, I think we’re starting to change people’s beliefs on just how incredible cycling in Bali can be!

What’s next for the business now?

Up next is a ‘Tour de Bali’ style ride!

This will give people options. We’ll always run The Challenge where we ride a loop every day as it means people can unpack their bags and really unwind.

The Tour de Bali will be a point-to-point ride each day.

It will be a little less luxurious as guests will need to have their bags packed every morning, but it means we can take in all corners of this magical island and have an even bigger mind-blowing experience!

After that, there will be more islands in the region to take in, such as Lombok and Flores :-)

Thank you Jarrod for sharing about your story about UpShift Tours. Do check them out at:

UpShift Tours

Michael ONG

Michael loves to travel and cycle. He has cycled in 7 countries and chat with many cycling enthusiasts about how they share stories. At Bicycl, he is the Product Guy.