I’m in Greece. Four days and 400 kilometers after leaving Istanbul, Turkey, I arrived in Greece. To say I’m excited to start bicycle touring in Greece is an understatement. And first impressions did nothing but fuel the enthusiasm.
The headwind was relentless. Again we had to push the bikes. I had a profound feeling of hopelessness; completing the Ring Road was starting to seem like an impossible challenge. All I could do was grind forward by putting one foot in front of the other, pushing my bike.
In preparation for my upcoming tour of Iceland, I wanted to make some touring bicycle upgrades to my Surly Ogre. To start, I wanted power. I wanted a solution for charging electronics while touring. I also needed more storage. Unlike my previous tour of Southeast Asia, I will need to carry a tent, food, fuel, and other camping supplies.
BICYCLE TOURING SE ASIA PART 6
I found a route towards Bangkok that took off me of the main highway. I was feeling horrible, but the backroads offered some of the best touring of my trip. The scenery was spectacular. There were dirt roads that meandered through lush green rice patties and limestone towers. The route was peaceful and empty except for the occasional village.
BICYCLE TOURING SE ASIA PART 5
It was still dark, but I was racing through the city to make it to Angkor Wat before sunrise. I arrived with only minutes to spare, and it was brilliant. I then spent the rest of the day riding from temple to temple. There were busloads of tourists, but since I was on a bicycle, I easily avoided the crowds. My day in Angkor Wat was hands down the highlight of my time in Cambodia.
When I first entered Laos the children would shout “hello” as I rode by on my bicycle. Then one day, amongst the barrage of hellos I heard a single “sabaidee.” I didn’t think much of it, but over the next hundred or so miles the hellos slowly disappeared and were replaced entirely with sabaidee.
BICYCLE TOURING SE ASIA PART 3
I’m in Laos. I’m on the other side of the world riding my bicycle. Everyone I know and love is over 8,000 miles away. Most of the time it gives me a thrill to focus on this. Other times, I’m overwhelmed with loneliness.
BICYCLE TOURING SE ASIA PART 2
Because it’s the main artery connecting North and South Vietnam, Highway 1 isn’t the best road for bicycle touring. It’s busy and loud. There’s a constant barrage of honking horns, and the air is thick with the smell of diesel fuel. The only thing it had going for it was endless packs of other bikes in which I could seek shelter. Like a shy fish, I’d settle into the center of the school. The plan was to follow the highway South to Vinh, then turn West towards Laos.
BICYCLE TOURING SE ASIA PART 1
I was so incredibly nervous. The traffic in Hanoi was intimidating. How the hell was I going to ride a bike through it? I left before sunrise on an early Saturday morning hoping to beat the crowds. It didn’t work. There were bicycles, mopeds, cars, buses, and people moving in every direction. Lights were flashing, and horns were honking. It was sensory overload.