Ninety, it's the new Fifty

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Funny little bungalows

Flag of Thailand  , Chachoengsao,
Thursday, March 24, 2011

When we set out back in September the plan was to target 50 miles a day. This was reasonable, it would give us time to stop and see things along the way and it would allow us a good morning and evening rest. Indeed, on the chaotic, potholed roads of India 50 a good number. In the freezing mountains of China, 50 was a good number.  But now here we are on the flat, smooth roads of South East Asia.  Thailand has provided an obstacle free, omnipresent hard shoulder perfect for speeding cyclists. With our fitness back up to top levels we have decided that 80 mile days are well within our capabilities.  Today we smashed our existing record and bashed out 92 miles.  Not bad considering the slow start we had to the day.

The hotel breakfast took at least half an hour to arrive.  We heard the eggs frying but after a 20 minute wait we asked the nutty receptionists.  She suggested we order rice because there was no bread for the egg sandwich.  Then the cook reappeared with a loaf of bread.  She then only took another 10 minutes to half toast the bread and place the now stone cold omelette alongside aforementioned toast.  Bless them, they were trying.

Then the border crossing.  No obvious system but some helpful people pointed the way through.  We passed through the Casino Zone.  Apparently an all night venue for Thais escaping for a party.  Passports were stamped without any questions and we were in, back in the saddle cycling into our 17th country.

The first difference was the driving.  Back on the left hand side and unlike the other Asian countries we have spent the last few months in, most people actually seemed to be sticking to the right side of the road.  There were even people waiting at traffic lights and indicating at junctions.  When we went Indian style later in the day we received disapproving looks from the Thai drivers.  The other differences were striking.  Thailand has been westernised, Tesco was here and 7-11 minimarts were peppered around towns.  And yesterday we had been passing people still living in wooden huts washing themselves in muddy lakes.

The scenery was pretty unspectacular, reforestation lined either side of the road for most of the way.  The road was however excellent for us and we sped along at 17mph.  Poor Polly has been feeling pretty unwell with heartburn but she struggled on determined to get to Bangkok in two days from the border rather than the previously planned three.

One of my curiosities was how the people would be different to the extreme warmth of the Cambodians. The early answer is not much.  A couple of relaxing drinks stops confirmed that we would receive a true welcome along our way.  I especially liked the shop on stilts, the two girls were cooking up a wonderfully aromatic Thai curry and didn't even mind when my foot went through one of their floorboards. 

Lunch was also great.  Pad Thai for the first time and some wonderful coffee fuelled us up for the final 40 miles.  The owner also gave me a free cup of what he called 'power tea' – very kind.

When we arrived in our destination town the priority was to find a pharmacy. Pols got checked out, they even weighed her and took her blood pressure which I thought was very important in the diagnosis of acid reflux!  Impressively her blood pressure was completely normal after 90 miles in the baking sun. We left with a bag of drugs and directions to a hotel.  Let’s hope the drugs work out better for us than the hotel recommendation (see photo).  It was a stinker, as bad if not worse than some we stayed in through India.  We turned around and reluctantly, having already done 90 miles, hit the road for Bangkok.  Fortunately, a couple of miles out of town I spotted the newly tiled roofs of some huts.  We were very surprised to find out that we could stay and even more surprised that the rooms turned out to be clean and comfy.

Without dinner we remounted and cycled a mile back into town to the Tescos which we had spotted.  We left half an hour later stocked up with pizza, donuts and chocolate.  What more can you ask for after 8 hours on the bike?

What this means is that we will reach Bangkok tomorrow afternoon.  The 10 lane highways running into the city could be interesting but having sneaked into Istanbul, Mumbai and Saigon, I’m sure we will work something out.

Miles cycled: 92 + 2 to Tescos

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triciagick on

Wow you're doing well. Is there anywhere Tesco does not rear its ugly head! - hope you bought some of those lovely pants Mikey...
Trust you're heatburn is responding to medication Pols - obviously chilli hot foods will not help, but who can resist a good Thai curry!
Following your movements avidly on my map. Spotted Ellie and Dave at GunWharf yesterday after they had finished a celebratory birthday meal - good to see them.
Alice is a mass of masts, halyards, blocks etc - all strewn on the deck whilst Alan works out where they all go - he's really amazing and I don't know how he does it!
We have had some stunning weather this week - temperature up to 19degrees C - just lovely.
90 miles a day takes a lot of concentration, so take care on those roads - especially as you get to Bankok.
Tons of love to you both xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Jojo on

92 miles is just amazing - I'm absolutely exhausted after myone hour circuit training for the elderly and infirm you must be so ulta fit! Sorry to hear about the heartbutn Polly - I'm a martyr to it meself.

Alice Banting on

Hello guys

Sorry for being completely rubbish and not writing on here have been checking up on your progress lots hard to believe how long you have been cycling. Everyone is good back here, cousin Jane and Mike got married secretly she wore a parachaute wedding dress. Spring has sprung thank godness. I passed my dissertation horaah....

love you lots stay safe


Shep on

Not sure that 'power tea' would pass doping controls in Le Tour

Ray on

Hope you're feeling better Polly x

Lindy on

Find it hard to believe that you are in Thailand already - seems no time since you were in China. Amazed at the thought of 90 miles in a day - used to think I did well to cycle round a local island - all 11 miles of it!!!
Like Trica we have had some lovely weather - hence gardening madly and having the odd glass of wine in the garden - even had a BBQ yesterday.
Polly hope you are feeling better and that meds are working.
Love reading about your travels - take care all love Lindy

triciagick on

Just took in washing from the line and found 107,000.00 Vietnamese Dong wet but fine in your jeans pocket Mikey. Got excited and thought I could treat Alan and myself to a meal out tonight. I suspect however that it wouldn't even cover a local's night cheap meal at the Anchor? It might however have got you two a baguette or something - we'll keep it with your things ready for when you next visit Vietnam! Great to have a typed skype with you this morning Pols and glad to hear the heartburn is no worse. Take care you two and tons of love

HBK on

92 miles!!! WOW that is pretty amazing....remember when you were in switzerland and were doing 50 miles.

Hope you guys are both well and enjoying yourself.

Lindy on

Just been looking at the news for Thailand and weather looks fairly awful - hope you are managing to stay dry and keep to your plans. looking forward to updates
love Lindy

jojo on

Glad to hear from Tricia that you are both safe and sound - I hope plans haven't been distrupted too badly - I read in the Telegraph (so it must be true) that the best thing for athletes with hearburn etc is to drink the milk of a cow who has just calved - so keep a look out in the fields to see if you can spot one.

Amanda down at w/e and she Charlotte and George had a terrific cycle ride up in the downs on your bikes (Amanda says she overtook them both going up-hill)! Charlotte joined us for sunday lunch which was very jolly as Giles was off with Tom and mates for the stag w/e - haven't heard any reports as yet but assumed they all got back in one piece!
Lots of love Jojo and Christopher

Catalan couple from Barcelona on

Hi travellers, I'm Jesus from Barcelona, we met you in Pokara in January!!!!!!! After we traveled around Argentina, very big country and really nice, tomorrow Olga and me will work again, it is crazy, the time passes very quickly.
Enjoy a lot your trip and for us was a pleasure to know that people like you are living in this planet!!!

jean morris on

if you get to pattya go to pjs bar for some lovely english food travel safe jean and boys

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