NOVEMBER, 2016: We are getting closer to the holiday season and everyone has their own plans. The fascination for Bicycle Touring was still keeping me awake and I really wanted to make it happen this time. I wanted to go someplace warmer and closer to the beach. I chose Thailand probably because I have been there several times and for me it is like a second home.
I didn’t know where to start from and how to plan things for my first Bicycle Tour. Thanks a lot to Priyanka and Mehul who helped me a lot getting the basics right and also to legendary Saminder Singh Saluja (Dicky Bhaiya) who really inspired me and made me believe that I can do it. I met Priyanka and Mehul on twitter and they guided me with almost everything. Priyanka has already toured solo through Germany and Australia, while Mehul just participated in his first Iron Man.
Saminder Singh Saluja aka Dicki Bhaiya is a legend in the cycling world. He has been touring across India and outside for years now. Cycling clubs and association from across the globe keeps on inviting him for his knowledge, trainings and inspiration. I was damn lucky to have him around me for guidance.
So I started with making my route. The two things I had in mind while planning the route was that I had to (1) start from Bangkok and then (2) go down south for some beach love and sun. Bangkok to Phuket or Bangkok to Krabi seems to be most apt options for me as I can comfortably end my trip in either of these two places with beautiful beaches and nice hippie life to relax. So I figured out map with places I would stop at and the roads I would take.
Bangkok – Phetchaburi – Hua Hin – Kui Buri – Baan Grood – Chumphon – Ranong – Kura Buri – Khao Lak – Phuket/Krabi
The total distance to be covered was approx 800 kms in over 2 weeks.
The next thing after finalizing the route was to finalize the dates of travel. I wanted to end my ride at Phuket/Krabi around the New Years Eve and therefore decided to start on 21st December from Bangkok, ride down South to reach Phuket/Krabi by 30th December, spend couple of days in the Islands around, get wasted (haha) and then fly back to Bangkok with my bike. I booked my tickets for 21st December and return on 5th January.
BIKE and GEARS
This is where I got stuck for the longest time. I didn’t own a good bicycle which I could have carried along with and neither had I enough money to buy one for this trip. Only option left with me was to buy a second hand bike or rent it in Bangkok. The option to buy a second hand bike seemed bleak because for finding an old bike I had to spend more time in Bangkok which I didn’t had. I wanted to start my ride on the very next day of reaching Bangkok. I kept looking for shops in Bangkok which would rent a decent touring bike at the cheapest possible price with back racks and pannier bags. That is when I came across Velo Thailand, a shop primarily into renting bicycle for touring. They offered me a decent bike with rack, panniers, tool, pump, helmet, repair kit etc at 4200 Bhatt for 2 weeks. The price seems good and I booked them instantly in the second week of December.
I was now in the 3rd week of December and everything seems sorted. My tickets were booked, bikes were booked, I got my tent ready and I was suppose to leave in just few days for my first tour on Bicycle.
December 17, 2016
Just a week before I was suppose to fly and everything seems to be falling in right places, I had to undergo a surgery in my right thigh. It was such a big bummer for me because I can’t ride my bike for next 2 weeks and might have to cancel the trip as well.
I waited till 20th December, a day before the flight to see the recovery of my wound but there was no relief. I had to cancel the entire trip. It was one of the most difficult things for me to do. I had planned so much for my trip and was really looking forward for cycling around Thailand.
I was taking every possible care of my wound and was checking with doctor almost every second day if I can travel to Thailand and ride my bicycle. It was the Christmas eve that my doctor told me that I can now travel to Thailand and also ride my bike considering I take proper care of the wound, get the dressing done every alternate day and keep it away from water. Believe me I was so happy that I started jumping right there in front of the doctor. Hahaha! Yayyy! I am gonna make this trip happen.
I instantly checked the flight tickets and luckily got some really cheap deals. Booked my tickets for 27th December and return on 12th January. I reversed the entire plan and decided to first spend the New Years in islands around Krabi and later start riding my bike from Krabi to Bangkok. The route remained the same but simply got reversed.
It is 27th December and I am already en route Bangkok. Happy Me!