I’m sure for anyone starting their cycling tour there is a big count down until the day they leave. For us, we had the idea for our trip around three years before we set off, we hosted numerous touring cyclists in Hokkaido, gathering lots of useful information, and we did a few smaller trips in Japan before the big off. Now it is a whole year on since we said goodbye to our apartment in Iwamizawa and our friends we had many fun adventures with in Japan. And what a year it’s been. There have been so many amazing experiences leading to it being one of the best years, but also one of the worst years with losing my Dad. With great loss it can put life in perspective, to try and live every day and make the most of this one opportunity we have. I have tried as best I could to do this.
March 10th to 16th 573km
We were keen to get away early from Bangkok to hopefully avoid the worst of the traffic, so the alarm was at 5:30 and we were rolling by 6:15 just as the sun was coming up. It was a good move, we got away from the central area quite easily and it was only as we were into the outskirts that the traffic started to build up. As it was the morning rush hour, most of it was going the other way to us, so it was quite a painless ride out of the city. Until we got to the road running north past the old Don Muang Airport where we got caught up in roadworks, narrowing our road to a single lane which gave us a tough few kilometres, just as we thought we’d got away!
March 1st – 9th Bangkok & Chiang Mai, Thailand
We had a hectic day rushing around Bangkok before we headed up to Chiang Mai on the train. We cycled up to Bok Bok Bike, a known and respected bike shop among touring cyclists (http://www.bokbokbike-thailand.com/). It seems like most tourers get their bikes serviced when they come through Bangkok and Bok Bok is a name that crops up a lot on blogs and journals. Sure enough, when we arrived at the shop and were waiting for them to open at 2:30pm (their opening hours are somewhat random!) we met two other cyclists from Holland, Geart and Sytske. They’d cycled through Asia a couple of years ago, then stopped in Australia for a year to work, and are now returning to Europe, via Myanmar, China and Central Asia. We may well run into them again in China or the ‘stans.
February 22nd to 29th 560km
We enjoyed our couple of rest days in Battambang. We did some sightseeing, but also spent a lot of time relaxing, eating, and figuring out a plan for our first week in Thailand. We had a really great last night there, having a couple of sundowner beers next to the river then dinner, before an early night, as we wanted to hit the road in good time before the sun got too hot.