Three Adventures in Chiang Mai

In Chiang Mai, my Mum came to visit. She was last here 40 years ago!!!  We all enjoyed her visit and company and we raced about and did lots of cool stuff together.  Our adult:child ratio also grew, and it gave us a rare opportunity to sneak off by ourselves and have some fun. Here are three stories of our adventures alone:

Chris writes:

I feel a bit bad that it was on the ONE day I had away from the family, that I had a really fantastic time. But it was really fantastic!!  Many words scrolled through my head while riding a mountain bike down single track jungle trails from above Doi Suthep toward Chiang Mai, but the word I specifically remember was ‘privileged’. It may sound a bit lofty, but I caught myself thinking it was a privilege to be there, a privilege to have a spare 1500 baht to join a mountain bike tour and a privilege to be fit enough to ride.

I teamed up with a fit American cyclist and a Swiss guy who rode the length of the Americas in 2010, so I knew we was in for a challenging ride. Our guide rode 7 days a week and it showed; he was full of energy, muscle and smile – and very keen to watch us scramble down some scary tracks. Once I’d awakened my single track riding skills with a coffee and some near falls, I started to appreciate the beauty and enjoyed directing the bike between trees and through streams. I recalled Newton’s laws of motion as I tried to minimise the forces that large rocks and roots apply to an ill-directed front wheel. But alas, I failed and cracked my front rim.

Our guide swapped bikes with me and took great pride in leading us the rest of the way with a cracked front rim. Did you know most countries have bicycle brakes configured in reverse to Australia?  He kindly swapped the brake cables over so I wouldn’t go head over turkey the first time I squeezed the lever!!

 

We ended our ride at the beautiful lake Huay Teung Thao; a great sight when my body cried out that it had been pushed to its limit. You know that feeling when you’ve challenged yourself to the limit and come out alright? You probably even come out with new and bigger limits. While it may be a long time ’til I challenge my new mountain bike riding limits, I am enjoying pushing my other limits, physical and emotional, as I continue to travel with my family.

1500 baht ($45 AUD)  got us transport to the top of the mountain, bike, helmet and all crash gear, cycle shirt and pack hire, insurance, coffee and a beautiful Thai lunch in a bamboo hut on the lakeside.  The guides were excellent. A great day.

Mum’s adventure:

The other adventure was my Mum’s.  She is a rockclimber from way back, and it was easy to persuade her to take a day trip out to Crazy Horse Buttress during her week with us in Chiang Mai. The climbing was challenging and really fun and Mum was impressed with the guides and huge variety of climbs.  She was in a group of only two, so there was no waiting around. Being an intermediate level class, there was no lengthy briefing either, so they were able to climb all day. Can your Mum do this? Check out these great photos:

 

My story:

When I was 18. I learnt to ride a motorbike and got my license. Then, to my Mum and Dad’s relief, I bought a car instead, and haven’t ridden since.  But I was pretty happy when Chris hired me a scooter for a day to hoon around Chiang Mai on. It took me a couple of hours to get my confidence back enough to give the children a ride, but then spent the afternoon and evening taking some of them around. One of the characteristics of our family is that we all do everything together, time with just one child at a time is a special event even if its just a trip to the shopping centre. So time one-on-one on a scooter was a double treat.

 

The next day Mum hopped on the back and we drove off the map. We happened upon dozens of plant nurseries full of gorgeous flowers on the outskirts of town.  We went up one side of the Ping river and down the other, passing little houses, road side stalls, children palying in the streets  and men and women going about their daily work.

The the wind-in-my-hair freedom was a real treat and I just loved it.

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2 Responses to Three Adventures in Chiang Mai

  1. Alison March 5, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    Chris, your vivid descriptions of navigating thru’ the rugged terrain on your bike, bring back memories of a horse trek we did across the Otway ranges in Victoria. l was on an ex race horse called Pegasus, who wanted to be out front, the whole way. There are certain branches, rocks and gullies firmly entrenched in my memory – as l imagine is in yours.

  2. Sam March 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    So Chris, thee old adage you taught us of “left to live” doesn’t work then??? Glad you had a great time xxx

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