Sing Buri to Uthai Thani – Thumbs-up for Bikes!
The day started in the town of Sing Buri, where we’d spent the night in a super-clean 380 baht (~$11) hotel room.
Nothing too exciting going for Sing Buri – just a nice bustling market and friendly people, like in so many Thai towns. We decided to raid the local 7-Eleven for breakfast. Yogurt drinks and jelly drinks and and salted broad beans and coffee drinks.
Thus breakfasted, we set out past many, many sleepy dogs.
After Mila’s flat tire on the road to Sing Buri, I filled the tire as much as the little Brompton hand pump would allow – that is to say, not near the required 100 or so PSI. We stopped as soon as we saw a coin-op pump.
This one was pretty great – after you put 3 baht in, it turned on the air and started playing a jaunty tune. Once the tune was done, so was the air. A race against the clock – it took two gos to fill all four tires.
As we made our way north, we passed through the charming village of In Buri – narrow paved roads, small market, temples, a school. All situated along the Chao Phraya river. At the police station, we learned about safety culture:
Speaking of safety culture, Mila is taking sun protection to the next level. [Mila: My sunburn the prior day turned me into an actual red-neck. I just wanted to avoid further damage.]
The weather has been much more tolerable than during our time in the south – still hot, but much less humidity. In the south, we’d never think of cycling after 11am or so. Here, we could pretty much go all day. Still, not much hunger in the heat, so when we stopped at a travel plaza, it was for water, pickled mango, and, of course, iced coffee.
It was all pretty super – almost as much as the Super Bumper, which arrived while we were taking our break.
We rode on, past many giant wooden bird sculptures.
As morning turned into afternoon and the sun started to beat down, we began to feel more and more like this guy:
Fortunately, we soon ran into this lady:
She was selling juicy salvation, a.k.a. delicious pomelos. A real treat of southeast Asia – bigger than a grapefruit and a bit sweeter, too. Just what we needed.
As we were eating our pomelo and checking the map, we were overtaken by this crew of cyclists.
Three quite elderly gentlemen and a young man, bedecked with Thai and royal flags and receiving a police escort. Not much English spoken, but they let us know that they are cycling north to Chiang Mai, “for the king.”
Uplifted by the citrus and the mutual good cheer of meeting other bike people on our shoulder of the highway, we rolled on for another hour into our destination for the day, the town of Uthai Thani. A really lovely little place with a great market (specialty: freshwater fishes/eels/etc) and a workaday vibe – no tourism here, just people doing their thing. A really nice change of pace for us. They also feature probably my favorite of the hundreds of posters of the king we’ve seen so far:
A great day. 84km, felt like we could have kept going. We felt as happy as this:
And as powerful as this:
Tomorrow we ride to Nakhon Sawan, where we plan to catch a train to Chiang Mai. We’d love to keep riding all the way north, but our time in Thailand is quickly running out!