I've just returned from a foldie holiday in Pai, Northern Thailand. Because of its natural beauty - hills, river, rice fields, orchards & cool weather (winter), its called the Switzerland of Thailand. Some even call it Thailand's Ubud (Bali) because of the confluence of artsy people.
I live near there part of the year every year, running an NGO. It is indeed a beautiful town.
Unfortunately, the influx of tourism has had a dramtic negative impact on social capital. Most of the Thai folks we know have split because of this. Believe it or not, crime rates have been "soaring" there (in quotes b/c it is such a small town). The crime is being blamed on the refugee population living on the outskirts of town, but we know this not to be the case, since we work very intensely in this community and know every single one of them.
Don't mean to be a downer. It is a great place, after all.
Does one of your crew speak Mandarin? The Chinese community there is very interesting indeed.
The Birdy is great on many the trails through the mountains, but definitely reaches it's limits as an off road vehicle on the rutted back roads with steep descents.
Glad you got to meet Chris (the activist) and the post card shop dog that hangs out at All About Coffee!
Many of us restrict our foldies to good roads. But for this trip, we really tested its limits. My Tikit was surprisingly quite good off road despite the 16' wheels. I have ridden MTBs before and was surprised that the Tikit could handle most of the trails, not ALL.
Even the little Carry Me went for a little excursion off-road - here seen having a bit of one wheel fun!
So don't underestimate that foldy of yours
Last edited by OldiesONfoldies; 11-15-07 at 01:04 AM.
Bangkok's main cycling store near Lumpini Park sells folders. Most everything bike-wise there is significantly more expensive than anywhere else due to a hefty import tax. Exceptions include Thai-made mountain bikes. You can get an Acera set up for about $200 US, but I would do that outside of Bangkok.
There is one store to avoid; Top Gear in Chiang Mai. Many have been ripped off by them, but some others say they are OK. At any rate, the other stores are cheaper and nicer.
Thai is no problem. I speak some (and some Mandarin), but most everyone speaks back to me in English. This is a country literally overrun with tourists. There are 10 million visitors per year. You will be lucky to really get to meet a Thai person unless you get off the beaten path!
Oh, just to give you an idea, the Chinese made Jetstream (with MegaRange der. and steel components) goes for about $600 there. In China, the same bike is about $180. In the US, you can get the same bike with SRAM X7 components for just a little more. So, definitely bring your own bike.
OLDIES: Nice pics, what a wicked trip to go on! I may be doing the same summer 2008.
Do you recommend changing to knobbies for this trip, or did you find the stock tires okay.
I know you stated that the BF can handle most of the trails, can you tell me what type of trail it stalled on (I am assuming big rocks, tree roots and the like).
on a travelling related note... do you speak thai, if not, how was it conversing with the local population?
Hi Psykoocycle, so glad to hear you are planning a trip there. But I must warn you that mid-year, could be hazy as they have a bad habit of burning to clear the land. PM 124 would be able to advise since he is quite familiar with that area. I believe Nov - Jan would be the best time.
Concerning Knobbies, it really depends on how deep you wanna go. Some of the trails through the mountains are pretty bad, even for MTB. I have 2 friends who went really deep into the army camp and the soldiers had to take them to town in their 4WD due to safety reasons. But if you are simply visiting the usual sites just outside of town, normal tires should be ok. But lowering your pressure to 30-40psi would be very helpful.
Speaking Thai is of course an added advantage but really, you would be ok with English. Just speak
s l o w l y.... My Thai is very basic
Have a good trip and if you like more info, feel free to PM me.
One of our riders on a rental mountain bike gave up the ghost towards the end but the Tikit of course climbed effortlessly with its 8 speed gearing and high pressure Schwalbe tires (Celia has 3 marathons under her belt and that I supposed played a small part). I was pleasantly surprised the little no speed Carry Me too was able to conquer the long arduous climb albeit at a much slower pace.
Did you have any chain skip when you pushed the Carryme up the big hill? Sometimes the chain skips on my Carryme when I'm going up a big hill...I haven't exactly figured out what causes it, but I suspect that, when the chain is too loose, a sudden jerk from the cranks makes it jump. Sometimes my chain gets loose because I probably don't tighten the rear wheel enough (I haven't yet mastered the art of tightening the wheel bolts while holding the wheel in position...so when I get it right I stop fiddling, even if it should be a little tighter).
Also, did you climb out of saddle? I find that the Carryme's wheelbase is too short to pedal out of saddle on the flat (the balance just isn't right), but uphill I manage to climb out of saddle with no problems.
I suspect yr chain is loose - not too difficult to tighten it via the end bolts. The tension allowance should be about 1cm at the mid point b/t crank and rear axle.
Climbed mostly seated as its not very stable trying to stand up. One of my friends leaned a little too backwards while cycling on a flat and the whole bike wheelied unexpectedly. No big shakes if you know the CM's centre of gravity/sweet spot.