Day 1: Spice Roads cycle trip starts with a warm up ride

I woke up at my friend Jonathon Beedham’s condo this morning know that Barbara was safely on her flight back to South Africa. I felt like I could face this day with full power. After the day before’s chaos travelling I knew today would be better.

I woke up fairly early and didn’t want to disturb Jonathon and his girlfriend, so I took the oppertunity to plan some work for my LightSpeed team back home. Felt good to plan some work.

Once Jonathon woke up, he came down stairs and we sat catching up for a while. He is in the US Airforce and had been working in Chiang Mai for about 28 months. In this time he had learnt fluent Thai which is extremely impressive to me.

His Thai girlfriend came downstairs and joined us. I had asked them the night before if they could help me construct a Thai phrase for my tattoo I want on my calf muscle. The phrase I gave them was “Leave only footprints and take only memories”. There is evidently a similar Thai phrase or saying that the Thai people use, so we researched it and found the letters. Jonathon printed it and his girlfriend said the phrase while I recorded her voice on my phone.

Jonathon said he could drop me off at the Imperial Mai Ping Hotel where I would be staying for the first night of the cycle tour. He also helped me find a place to have my legs waxed, he left me at the waxing place and we said our goodbyes. What a big help Jonathon had been, without his help I would have struggled!

After a painful full leg waxing I headed back to the Imperial Mai Ping hotel for a cycle tour briefing. Mr Tee and Woody were our tour guides., they explained roughly what would be happening each day for the next 11 days along with a host of warnings and our they gave us tshirts.

We started our warm up ride at 2:30 and headed out to a nearby area called Baan Wai that was known for its wood furniture. The day was set to be about 45 km, I was not quite sure what to expect. Most of the people who were on the tour were 50 plus except for one couple who had not really done a lot of cycling.

I was a bit worried I would be bored with the pace, but Mr Tee said to me that he raced road biking and would make sure I was able to go fast when I wanted. We slowly meandered out of Chiang Mai at a leisurely pace, which was fine seeing it was just a warm up ride.

We stopped for pictures along the way whenever needed. We quickly moved out of the city and into the more rural areas with rice paddies. I am very interested in farming Thailand, the floods, general life so I asked lots of questions. the guides were very informative and I got a good feeling about the coming days.

The idea was that we would stop every 30km for snacks, drinks and a breather. Seeing it was a short day we only had one pit stop. We stopped at a wholesale furniture place with spectacular furniture. I specifically noticed a swing chair that we first saw at Klong Proa on Koh Chang, the price was amazingly cheap for such incredible workmanship and quality. To ship this home would be near impossible and costly.

After some tasty snacks and much needed drinks we continued with the ride and back to our hotel. We arrived back at the hotel around 6:10pm and were told that dinner would at a restaurant in Chiang Mai. We left at 7:30pm for the restaurant in a mini-bus. The dinner was fabulous, we were next to a river and the setting was just magic.

It was good to engage my fellow tour members, there were some interesting people on the tour. I was very happy and looking forward to the rest of the tour. We headed back to the hotel around 10pm.

Once back at the hotel I immediately headed out to the Chiang Mai night bazaar. I got a little shopping done, the market was fairly large so I knew it would take a while get through it all. I was done by 11pm and headed back to the hotel. On the way back I got a foot and leg massage in for 200 baht / 1 hour, so cheap it’s hard to believe.

Hit the hay at just past midnight.

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Traveller, extreme sports fanatic, entrepreneur, trance head and WordPress / Open Source geek.