Current Location : Krabi, Thailand (Google map)
Last entry date : 06/Feb/09
My hole in the boot repaired by the best cobbler in ChiangMai
16/Jan/09 to 22/Jan/09
Friday 16/Jan, the 3 of us got our bikes geared up early to take on the 1864 twists that the Mae Hong Son / Pai road is famous for. The city of ChiangMai was barely a few hours ride away, and Holger even kidded that we could be having a beer in one of its bars by lunch time.
The dry season has firmly set in here in Thailand. No rain for weeks to come, I’m told. It was an ideal day for riding in the hills. Thailand has good roads, even up here. Our 3 bikes swayed from hills to hills and we were clearly enjoying it. No reason to rush. Whenever a great scenery showed up, we would simply stop to appreciate the view and do some photoshots.
Then strangely, at the scenic pass which leads down to the town of Pai, a biker’s nightmare came true … for each one of us. Holger became aware that his rear wheel’s axel was sticking out by 3 cms on the right side !! The nut that held the wheel in place must have staggered out many kms away !! A check on Anja’s rear brakes showed there were none left !! The rear brake system was suspect since it had eaten up a set of freshly installed pads. Holger did quick temp repair to his bike by using a vice-grip to hold the rear wheel in place (no biker ever carry a spare rear axel nut), and another set of brake-pads (their last pair of spare pads) were installed on Anja’s bike. Nothing much we could do up there on the pass except decend cautiously down the hills to the 1st
bike shop we find in Pai. I would hate to be in such such a situation in the middle of nowhere on a long trip … so quite pleased my iron horse was doing fine.
As we decended the hills, I took position as last rider, behind Anja. I spoke too soon. I remembered eyeing a steep right turn. Next thing I know, the bike was screetching loudly sideways on the ground full of sparks ahead of me, coming to a halt some 20mtrs after it hit a curb, and I slided along stopping before the bike. I count myself lucky, there was no bodily harm. Passers by quickly stopped and help lift up my bike. The photos show the initial damage to the front and side sections. Once again, Holger was called upon to assist to do some quick fix. And he had great ideas !! Thanks. An hour and a half lost later, my iron horse wobbled badly and slowly down to Pai. We arrived late Friday evening in Pai and guess what ?? First no beer for Holger. Next all budget guesthouses were taken up, so we took out our tents and camped that cold night. On top of that, my biker friends said I snored ! Of course, that may happen – but only when I’m disturbed.
The next 6 days vanished quickly as I made hot pursuits of repair wishes in ChiangMai. Luck was with me, well, to a certain extent temp repairs can be done which will enable me to “continue” my journey until the damaged parts are replaced. Thanks to ChiangMai, they’ve plenty of bits and pieces here and good labour ready to help out. I ♥ CM !!
It certainly was a bad day on the Mae Hong Son / Pai circuit that Friday 16/Jan/09. A momentary lapse of concentration of what lies ahead ON the road and … sh*t happened !! The last thing I expected on the hills was spilled diesel or oil on the road. Lesson learned. The list of things to be aware of now include cows, dogs, kids, wild pigs, spilled diesel ….
Anja says I can now claim to be a long distance rider as I’ve managed to leave a “Sheen was here” trace far away from home en route to Australia …
Once is good enough. Not looking for an “encore”.