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Going Up (& Down!) The Country

Our first ride yesterday was overall pretty smooth, cool with some rain, and relatively flat surface roads.

Still, some issues were starting to appear with my bicycle, such as the rock-hard narrow saddle getting more and more painful.

Also, the position of the saddle and steer were too low for a 190 cm guy like me, and adjusting them wasn't possible...

This nice stretch along the Mekong didn't last very long as usual and we turned a bit inland.

There we quickly discovered that today wouldn't be that easy, as it was getting seriously hilly...

Ray's video also shows clearly my bicycle issues!

For relatively flat areas like Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Ayutthaya, etc. riding a too-small bike is not a big deal, but with hills it becomes a very different story!

Going uphill was tough and downhill tricky as some parts were a bit steep...

Therefore the first coffee stop was very welcome!

Probably the weirdest accident I ever encountered, the bolt that connected the saddle to the pole suddenly broke!

It happened while we were cycling slowly into Sangkhom town and I managed to control my bicycle without crashing...

If this mishap had occurred earlier while going downhill fast.., different story!

Continue cycling standing up was a real pain in the ass, to put it mildly...

Luckily we found a bicycle shop nearby and the owner helped me out although not with a longer saddle pole as basic Thai bikes only use short ones...

Here you can see him in action!

At least I got a much more comfy saddle!

During lunch in Sangkhom we decided to adjust our travel plans, instead of turning much more inland and looping back to Nong Khai, we thought it would be more fun (& less hilly!) to follow the Mekong all the way to Chiang Khan.

From there (theoretically!) we could put the bikes on a local bus and return easily to Nong Khai...

The Mekong views were getting more and more impressive with large sand banks against a Lao hill backdrop.

Ray tried out a mini tuk-tuk but preferred to continue cycling instead.

Chiang Khan 115, Loei 159, and Chiang Mai 707 km...

Oops, another end of a cycling trail!

This wasn't really surprising as these paved trails are mainly built on reinforced riverside embankments.

An unusual sight, caravans along the Mekong!

We arrived in Ban Muang and finally found a bit rundown resort along the river whose single staff did her best to make us move to another place, very strange.

Unfortunately for her, she wasn't successful and had to clean up my room...

Later that afternoon we went for a walk into Ban Muang looking for a potential dining spot.

Tim and Ray admiring the village map.

In a classic 'mom and pop' store we had a very welcome cold beer!

Something new; a 'rot sing' (?)

This type of vehicle we hadn't seen anywhere else before...

Of course, Tim had to try it out!

It looked like a reconfigured 'iron buffalo'...

Finding a restaurant here wasn't easy, but we succeeded at last.

Our dinner: beer - a special laab 'kom' - tom saeb (photo: Tim)

Here we were given some freebie sour fruit with a chili dip (*), as you can see from Ray's face, it had a particular taste!

One of the ladies insisted on having her photo taken with us, sure, why not?

A perfect way to end this unusual day!


(*) Bilimbi > ตะลิงปลิง (Talingpling)

Bilimbi is a very sour fruit that can be used instead of lime or tamarind in soups such as in Tom Yam.

Also eaten raw with a sugar and chili mixture.


To be continued!


Previous posts:


All about last year's trip here:

2 則留言


ray storey
ray storey
3月12日

This was a wonderful day of riding and exploring, KK, and your post shows it very well.

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art58koen
art58koen
3月12日
回覆

Thanks Ray and now we know the name of that sour fruit too!

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