During the last days I hit the 10,000 km mark on a cycle trip again (whereof Jela and I cycled already almost 3,000 km together). Again, because nearly 10 years back I did my first extended cycling touring trip with Hannes, my brother. On that trip we achieved the 10,000 km after less then 4 month in Northern Mexico (see report here, unfortunately in German). Back then we already noticed how much “monotony, patience, ambition as well as love for cycling” is hidden behind that abstract number.
As one consequence of the lessons learned from this first extended trip, I am now allowing myself considerable more time in order to cover a certain distance, i.e. more days without cycling and less kilometer a day (so far averaging about 85 km/day). Thus it took me more than a month longer to cycle the first 10,000 km.
Indeed, every day on a cycle trip is unique and comes with something new to experience, something interesting to discover. However, in contrast to what the posts and photos might tell, one thing never changes on a cycle tour: a huge part of the spent time is stoic pedaling. Consequently, apart from the easy days where the cycling seems almost effortlessly thanks to the landscape, encounters or other distracting things, there are also sufficient days of monotone, almost meditative, pedaling or worse, the few days where cycling is a sole struggle, e.g. strenuous never ending days in ascents.
The same is basically true for the last couple of hundreds kilometers that also contained the 10,000-milestone.
A day of rest in Kanchanaburi – we did some sightseeing and more important, had a buffet-dinner for only 4€ pp. twice – gave us new energy for the following six days of cycling. On the first day the kilometers passed by quickly and effortlessly mainly due to the neat landscape and a national park as the day’s destination (well-visited scenic middle-sized waterfalls split in 7 tiers). The following two days where the energy-sapping ones – quite a few ascents and a night spent camping on a little pass (850 m). And finally the relatively monotonous and boring days simply in order to reach a certain destination (Sukhothai) that lead on the flat through sugar cane plantations, rice paddies etc. Highlights of these days were mainly the meals we had.
All the same, on those seemingly boring stretches are still interesting and nice little things to explore, e.g. flowers for Jela, and surprises to discover, e.g. surprisingly neat, comfortable and cheap hotels in the middle of nowhere. Another little surprise worth mentioning was the police man Uthit. He suddenly appeared next to us on the road with his moped, accompanied us for few kilometers and finally invited us for cool drinks on the road side. After a joint photo session we parted again.
The day after we received the following e-mail:
“First of all, thank you very much for visiting our hometown. We hope you are enjoy on the two wheels.
Today, you met with my dad. He is the police man who gave the drinking water to you in Sawang Arom, Uthaithani. He is so excited and showed your photos to me. Luckily, you gave the website to him and he asked me to look on the this website. Not too many tourists came to our hometown so, my dad\’s boss would like to post your photos on the news board at the police station.”
Nice, isn’t it? That is one of the many occasions that make us feel very welcome in Thailand. Thank you very much, Uthit and Pookie.