Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Final South Thailand Ride (FSTR) Adventure, Aug 2016 - Prelude

In just a few days time, 8 of us will be flying into Bangkok to complete the final stage of our South Thailand Ride. The original idea was to cycle from the border of Malaysia to Bangkok in 3 stages, a total of about 1300km on side roads. The first trip was done 2 years ago where we did the middle section from Phuket to Chumphon, covering over 450km. Last year, in the 2nd stage we did Langkawi, Malaysia to Krabi and that was buckets of fun literally as we experienced torrential rains.

This FSTR is a bit different as we shall be heading southwards and the reason for that is we are betting very optimistically that there will be more tailwinds, though crosswinds seem to be the order of the day. We shall be cycling down the Gulf of Thailand cruising through many exquisite beaches and famous seaside towns like Cha'am and Hui Hin as well as the lesser known ones like Prachup Khiri Khan. At Chumphon, we will catch the night train to Lonely Planet's acclaimed Food Capital of the World - Penang!

Click here for a larger version of the picture

The rainy season is why we choose to do these rides in August as cycling through the cool drizzle in clouded conditions sure beats the hot searing sun. Especially in this part of the world, the high humidity can literally drain you. And when it pours, we simply just take shelter and wait as the world gets a thorough wash before our eyes, hopefully munching on hot banana fritters.

Special mentioned must be said about these awesome people who are crazy enough to sign up for all 3 trips. Ying Chang, my trusted sweeper and navigator par excellence who will be riding his Dahon Speed TR touring foldy. KC Auyeong, our Chief Engineer and resident comedian. There is nothing he cannot fix! Also George and Wendy, an amazing couple who love restoring old bicycles and are gifted Dog Whisperers. Plenty of Soi dogs in Thailand, and that is perhaps why they keep coming back.

First STR Adventure Team - 2014
YC, The Roscoes, Wendy, George, Ped and KC

Second STR Adventure Team - 2015
George, VT, Claudine, Wendy, KC, YC, Celia, Ped, Lance & Papa Mike

The other members of this team hail from JB, Malaysia. VT and Claudine only joined LTF adventures last April to Bintan but have become regulars and it is so good to have them. VT is a true blue foodie and his wife Claudine is a real live wire, bringing sparks of joy to everyone. She also has a bicycle blog  which is absolutely hilarious.

There are 2 Gospels that I live for in my life. One of course is the Gospel of God's Good News. The 2nd one is the Gospel of folding bicycles, especially touring on them. That is why it is a privilege to have Sue, a first time tourer, join us for this trip. She is gregarious and brims with enthusiasm. Sharing the good things that we are passionate about with others is so important.

Pic "stolen" from FB

It is always a challenge to decide which bicycles to use. I have been using my Bike Friday Expedition for the previous trips but this time, I proposed using small 16" wheel foldies. The reason for that is this ride is relatively flat and we do have to literally sleep with our bikes on the over-night train from Chumphon to Penang. The smaller wheels would prove to be more challenging as well to ride compared to 20" ones, but trying new experiences is what makes life interesting.

Hence, I shall be using my Bike Friday Tikit and this is the first time I shall be riding her for such a long 550km trip. Uncle KC too has stepped up to this challenge and will be using his Flamingo London, an even more "English" version of the Brompton. These two 16" cousins have traveled together to Betong Thailand as well as climbed Frasers Hill some months back.

Sue actually bought a brand new Brompton for this trip and will be experimenting a novel way of carrying her Ortliebs, in the front. Usually, Bromptoneers would use the famed T-Bag but as in all things, there is always a first time and it does look workable.

George has also stepped up to the challenge and will be using his classic 16" Da Bike, while Wendy will be riding the Dahon Mantis. VT and Claudine, like YC will be on proven 20" foldies; a KHS T3 and a green Tern named Cup Cake. With a milieu of different foldies coming together, this will be such a blast.

So stay tune for the FSTR Adventure. We have a few more things to be sorted and packed but the key is travel light. Some would argue that the most exciting part of any adventure is the preparation. I agree whole heartedly!

I invite you to join us from wherever you may be!

No comments: