Apr 05 2012
Our days cycling from Bangkok to Singapore developed into a routine. Awaken early (which proved to be easy, as most evenings we were in bed and unconscious by 22:00) and take ibuprofen. This trip has taught me what it will be like for me when I am very old and the simple act of getting out of bed will hurt. Get up and wash, put on cycling gear and go check out the bikes — tyres still pumped up? Chain clean and lubed? Pack panniers. At breakfast, we generally agree on a route and a general plan for the day. And then we set off. This process, in the first few days, required about three and a half hours — we’ve streamlined considerably and can be on the road in an hour now.
The first 10 kilometres are awful. The legs are sore still from a night of rest; the back and shoulders groan assuming the crouching position. But after a bit, the tyres really start to whir against the pavement and whatever burg we slumbered in recedes in the distance, the sore legs warm up and the back and shoulders settle in. It gets good, and with any luck, it starts to feel effortless.
We generally try to aim for 100+ kilometres a day, normally around 120 kilometres. We’ve cruised past through Bang Saphan Yai (650/2000km), to Surat Thani (860/2000km), and then east to Sichon and down the tiny strip of land that runs between the Gulf of Thailand and the inland lakes that separate Phattalung and Songkla provinces. We dropped down between the southern tip of the lakes and crossed the causeways that link the island in the middle, and were in Songkla province proper. We pedalled on to Hat Yai (1374/2000km) and spent our last night in Thailand drinking beer and congratulating ourselves on making it this far.
In the morning we got up early and made our way to the border at Sadao. This entire trip I sometimes feel like I’ve been in some sort of impromptu parade — Thais seem pretty excited that we’re biking around their country and are not afraid to encourage us. We get a lot of thumbs ups, smiles, and encouraging honks from trucks and vans full of school kids. It was no different at the border, as we were stamped out of the kingdom, and we pedalled across the black line on the map to the Malaysian side of things, riding alongside transport trucks and public vans waiting to go through immigration. On to Malaysia.
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