Well that’s no good!

Our route today took us around the busy royal city of Hua Hin, the residence of the respected king and family in Thailand. After a busy market street, we were treated to a beautiful dedicated bike path with light sprinkles of rain keeping us cool.

Shortly after, we found ourselves on the stunning Gulf of Thailand coast, one of my absolute favorite areas in the whole country. We cycled for miles on beautiful palm tree-lined roads by endless shops and restaurants, stopping at a British themed cafe for an iced coffee. The woman working there told us about a fellow she met a while ago who was walking (yes, just walking!) all the way from Australia back home to Europe. He stayed a few nights on this beach, and she invited him in. Bicycle touring seems so mainstream compared to walking across 3 continents… Respect!

A few kilometers later, cycling peacefully, watching the calm water, thinking about our beloved friends battling headwinds and miles and saving lives at AIDS/LifeCycle right now, and feeling a level of inner peace encompass me that I haven’t felt in a while, we prepared to turn …


Oh shit, that can’t be good. I’d gone over a small speed bump. I sat on my seat and felt it sink under my weight and twist around. Oh shit, definitely not good. We pulled over under a palm tree on the beach and sure enough, the seat post clamp had cracked in half.

No problem, I’d packed extra clamps just for this occasion… Right? Well shit, we dug through the bottom of every bag, and nothing. In an effort to lighten our load a bit, we’d mailed a bunch of things we didn’t think we’d need for a while to Phuket. The clamps must have been in that package.

We packed up and I prepared to cycle the next 11 kilometers to our lunch stop without sitting. I had to use bungi cords to strap my back bag to my handlebars because my seat could no longer hold it up, and that made it so I couldn’t shift. So I was riding single speed with no seat and 5 pounds of stuff hanging unevenly from my handlebars, making steering really tricky. Fun!

We made slow progress but after 2 kilometers of not sitting while cycling, my feet were on fire. Luckily we happened on a small mom and pop auto repair shop and I showed the clamp to one of the guys. “Oh… Hmm… Aluminum” he said, shaking his head, along we some other Thai words. Aluminum is impossible to weld, so he couldn’t fix it.

But he then came up with one of those cheap screw clamps and successfully fastened it around my seatpost. I knew it wouldn’t last long but we only had 9 kilometers to go before we could find a hotel for the night and figure things out. I asked how much, and he just laughed at me and waved me off and went back to work.

We made it without further incident to our favorite restaurant along the Gulf coast, my seat only sinking a little, and ate again at this award-winning seafood restaurant with great prices, and then found the cheapest hotel we could nearby, getting a nice deal on a resort with a pool, thanks to off-season mid-week rates. I think we might be the only guests.

Unfortunately their taxi rates weren’t as good, and we used up a whole day’s budget to get back to Hua Hin to get to a nice bike shop, where I bought two clamps just in case! Plus picked up some new gloves, since the padding in my current ones is worn completely thin.

So we’re back in action now, but the next three days have a ton of rain in the forecast, so we may be staying still anyway. Our plan is to see how the rain looks in the morning and decide if we’re rolling out or beach bumming. I’m secretly hoping for sitting on the patio watching the rain fall for 3 days in a row, even though I would love to be out cycling as well.

We’ve got just over three weeks to cover 600km more to Phuket, which we could cover in 5 days if we had to, but more like 8 days comfortably. So even with the rain, we’re still on schedule. Time to relax.

A Cyclist Theory Proven

With 10km remaining in today’s ride, a rule and theory every cyclist knows was proven when I had a flat for the first time on the road in our 15 months of touring. That “theory” is that you’re not supposed to talk about flats, and that’s exactly what I did on our rest day yesterday while we were having lunch. My exact words to Tim were “I haven’t technically had a flat yet on the road, because you can’t count the two I’ve had when the bike was being stored in our friends garage in France, or when it was left at another friends work in Thailand while we took time off the bikes to visit with them”. My theory is that those two sets of friends wanted us to stay longer so those were my other 2 flats on this journey.๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

Luckily we were at a place we could pull over with some shade at a restaurant on the side of the road after we’d just turned off a busy highway that we’d crossed. It was my back wheel and I found the culprit right away (which doesn’t always happen). It appeared to be the tip of a nail so we knew right away that the tube could be patched or replaced. I voted for replaced without hesitation since it was at the end of our ride and it was nearly ๐Ÿ’ฏ degrees. Tim said, “turn it over and get started”, whereas I said “great, this will take an hour”. So then began Tim taking over with me assisting, because I’m not the most patient or mechanical person when it come to these circumstances. I like to think of Tim as the Doctor of the bike, and me assisting as the Nurse handing him the tools needed when he asks for them. I would like to state that I did flip the bike over, and pump up the new tube 3/4 of the way with 150 pumps of our manual hand pump. So Tim 80%, Steve 20%, right? We were on our way again in half the time I stated it would take if I’d done it all by myself, so I consider that a Win Win and hope Tim feels the Same Same. ๐Ÿ˜‡

It was a easy and flat (no pun intended) ride alongside relatively quiet canal roads and in familiar areas that we’d pedaled back at the beginning of March on our way to Bangkok. Tim found a great homestay for us to stay at that has a small classic Thai kitchen and three rooms. An older couple and we assume their daughter run it, and we think they are just tickeled that we are here. The seafood (squid & shrimp) rice, noodle, and soup we had for lunch and dinner were perfect from the patio overlooking the Bang Tabun River that leads out to the Gulf of Thailand that we will pedal along most of tomorrow on another 100km ride we have planned in the saddle.

Start Time & Temp. 6:55am, 23C (73F)
Saddle Time 5:12:16
Distance 122km (75.8 miles)
Elevation 59m (194ft)
End Time & Temp. 1:23pm, 37C (99F)

Back to “The Bridge on the River Kwai”

Wednesday’s Ride 30/5/18

Start Time & Temp. 7:20am, 24C (75F)
Saddle Time 5:09:52
Distance 117km (72.5 miles)
Elevation 415m (1362ft)
End Time & Temp. 1:15pm, 35C (95F)

-stopping at half way point at classic Thailand gas station for snacks. Thai woman on speaker phone saying one of us was handsome.

-nice and quiet through country roads along the river and 5km of off road dirt.

-meeting other cycle tourist pedaling from Singapore to Hong Kong

-lunch and dinner steamed rice with pork, chicken, and shrimp

-quarter of the way to Phuket after just 5 days in the saddle and one rest day. 1200km to go.

Thursday Ride 31/5/18

Start Time & Temp. 7:35am, 23C (73F)
Saddle Time 5:26:19
Distance 120km (74.8 miles)
Elevation 549m (1801ft)
End Time & Temp. 2:30pm, 35C (95F)

-two iced coffee/latte stops 20-35 Bhat and a 2-3 year old little Thai girl…. played peek-a-boo with her while her Mom made our coffees and received BIG beautiful smiles back. Her Mom then layed her down in crib an played a Thai video of “The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round”. So fun to see both of these techniques that seem to be International.

-lunch of noodle soup with a chicken leg and feet and other parts not sure of. Tim ordered the crispy pork with steamed rice that looked much tastier.

-truck with an older Thai couple going by us buying things from people and passing us a couple of times and then giving us cold water in a cup and asking where we were going.

-it’s stupid to double the amount of your climb in the last 25km of a 120km day….from 300m to 550m.

Friday Ride 1/6/18

Start Time & Temp. 7:30am, 21C (70F)
Saddle Time 4:27:25
Distance 100km (62 miles)
Elevation 345m (1131ft)
End Time & Temp. 12:55pm, 36C (97F)

-Same Same as they say in Thailand….with beautiful back country roads through farming areas and stunning views of the mountains.

-90% humidity is STUPID and so is a hill and headwinds in the last 25km of the ride.

-when we stopped for coffee before the last climb, we overheard some women say “Farangs handsome but sunburnt”, so we each applied more sunscreen.

Saturday Ride 2/6/18

Start Time & Temp. 7:55am, 23C (73F)
Saddle Time 2:57:07
Distance 72km (44.7 miles)
Elevation 117m (383ft)
End Time & Temp. 11:24am, 39C (102F)

-hot and humid again with a later start than we wanted on our 4th day in the saddle to reach Kanchanaburi….a backpacker town that we’d stayed in back in March. It’s nestled on the River Kwai which is an Academy Award winning movie from 1957 named “The Bridge over the River Kwai”.

-the traffic was busier than we like and the headwinds were no joke either.

Sunday will be a rest day for us as we do some minor bike maintenance, get haircuts/massages, and do some Netflix & Chill. We are almost halfway to Phuket with 479 miles after eight days in the saddle and one rest day in between those. We are looking forward to getting back along the coast this week and thinking of all the amazing humans we know and love back home beginning their ALC “love bubble” journey to fight and END AIDS. โ™ฅ๏ธ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ

A classic roadside gas station pump without the underground tanks.

Tim exiting off our 5km of off roading.

Beautiful farming and mountain views we never get tired of.

One of our bungalows along the way.

Iced coffee never tasted so good in the intense heat and humidity.

Spirit Houses and Shrines we see all throughout Thailand usually on a climb. Google….Spirit Houses Thailand to learn more about the meaning behind them.

A welcome roadblock of goats and their kids. I want a baby goat now after seeing them randomly all throughout our adventures these past 15 months.

Our view of the River Kwai from our second story balcony room.

A classic Thai bike parked at our dinner spot in back packing area of Kanchanaburi.