January 20, 2020. Thailand
So the plan comes together and all the pieces fall into place. We will spend the next two months traveling in tropical South East Asia. I have a brand new tandem, a dedicated stoker, Lucy. We get to ride with good friends Irène and Joël that have done quite a bit of cycle touring all over the world.
Here’s the glitch. Tandems are not easy to ride. It takes the team of two riders a while to build up the experience needed. The 40kg tandem is loaded with 45kg of equipment. From a standing start, getting this thing rolling fast enough so that it can be balanced, takes a concerted effort of the two riders. When this fails, the bike wobbles and crashes at low speed. It is a little embarrassing in the parking lot. It is scary in traffic.
Lucy and I had done some training on a tandem in Santiago. That was child’s play compared to the fully loaded tandem we were to start our journey with. After a few low speed crashes in the hotel parking lot, we were ready to go play in traffic.
Well I would have wanted several days to get our routine down before starting such a large tour; however, we didn’t have that luxury. The bike was assembled, Joël and Irène were arriving the next day, and the sun had gone down. I remember telling Dana that I felt like I was walking into the mouth of a Dragon.
Not feeling ready has come up many times in my life. I have proceeded with good outcomes in the past. My recipe is pay close attention, don’t panic. In the end it all worked out. Lucy and I overcame the challenges and can deal with the chaos of Bangkok traffic.
We did have a number of low speed crashes in traffic in the process of learning. Somehow through it all, I still have Lucy’s confidence.
As we head north toward Laos and away from Bangkok, the traffic has become less of a problem and the scenery has become quite special.