Mini Itinerary

  • 8:00am 4 July 2019
    London to Folkestone by Bike
    Estimated 104km
    Sunrise (Europe/London): 04:50
    Sunset (Europe/London): 21:12

  • 3:30pm 4 July 2019
    Folkestone to Calais by Train

  • 8:00am 5 July 2019
    Calais to Ghent Gent by Bike
    Estimated 162km
    Sunrise (Europe/Paris): 05:45
    Sunset (Europe/Brussels): 22:01

  • 8:00am 9 July 2019
    Ghent Gent to Brussels Bruxelles by Bike
    Estimated 56km
    Sunrise (Europe/Brussels): 05:41
    Sunset (Europe/Brussels): 21:55

  • 8:00am 11 July 2019
    Brussels Bruxelles to Namur by Bike
    Estimated 67km
    Sunrise (Europe/Brussels): 05:42
    Sunset (Europe/Brussels): 21:50

  • 8:00am 12 July 2019
    Namur to Bouillon by Bike
    Estimated 125km
    Sunrise (Europe/Brussels): 05:43
    Sunset (Europe/Brussels): 21:45

  • 8:00am 13 July 2019
    Bouillon to Luxembourg by Bike
    Estimated 96km
    Sunrise (Europe/Brussels): 05:46
    Sunset (Europe/Luxembourg): 21:39

Trips / The Return To The Sea

    Bike: 82 journeys (82 complete)
    8149km (8149km complete)
    Bus: 1 journeys (1 complete)
    Ferry: 6 journeys (6 complete)
  • The Departure
    15 November 2011

    After low quality sleep and a 6:15am alarm, I walk along Wenlin Jie and Wenhua Xiang to head to the office for the last time. The air is crisp and the sun's thinking about rising.

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  • Now Recording a New Track
    16 November 2011

    Today's a lot less eventful. We all walk out to breakfast at a place Chris has tracked down. Bowls of ersi supplemented with some chaocai, and we're ready for the day. Sander, Tom and Chris are headed for the bus station to return to Kunming, Marc and I will head to Kaiyuan, 86km almost due south.

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  • Unpremeditated Climbs
    17 November 2011

    Marc and I take it slow in the morning. I've been trying to catch up on sleep, so no complaints from me about a lie-in. We get our stuff together and head for a bowl of ersi. Leaving the hotel, I discover the useful knowledge that if I use the long pannier shoulder straps, I can carry both of my panniers and my bike in one heaving, cumbersome go.

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  • We (That's Vee to You and Me)
    19 November 2011

    The big question mark about today's ride was hovering over the 2.3km long Geleng Tunnel just outside Gejiu - would we be allowed to cycle through it? Being turned away would mean a 70+km diversion. It was paramount we make it through if we were to make it to Xinjie, at the top of the climb out of the Red River valley, rather than just to Nansha, at the bottom.

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  • High Mountain Country
    20 November 2011

    Straight out from Xinjie we run into a traffic jam. It's a total classic: cars head to head on both sides of the road, tractors trying to sneak the queue, people wandering everywhere, vehicles left empty. An overloaded truck has snagged an overhead cable and loused up the only road through town. The upside of this is that we're unlikely to have much traffic overtaking us until late in the day.

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  • From Green Spring to Big Black Mountain
    21 November 2011

    We've got just under 100km on the slate for today, and after the climbing efforts of the last couple of days, we're silently hoping for some kind of reprieve. Luchun's a classic linear settlement, strung out along a mountain ridge along which the road runs. We trundle out to the west, stopping to wolf down a couple of longs of baozi and a bowl each of doujiang.

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  • It's All About the Surface, Baby
    22 November 2011

    We'd heard in Kunming that the stretch of road after Daheishan was unsurfaced and uphill. Asking in Daheishan confirmed this. We decided to hop a bus to Jiangcheng, the regional centre, after which the road was said to improve. We located the bus station Monday evening, and were told to show up early to ensure there was space on the bus for our bikes. At about 8am, we rocked up, to be in good time for the 9:10am bus. A flurry of phone calls later, and we're told the 8am bus is waiting for us up on the main road. Back up the hill, the driver helps us put bikes and bags inside the bus - a bonus, as this is much better for the bikes than the roof rack. We head off for the 60km or so to Jiangcheng, and immediately the road turns to moonscape. Mud, rocks, dust, landslides. We cross a sinuous reservoir. There's some sections of sealed road, but around half the trip is on smash.

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  • Just My Cup of Tea
    23 November 2011

    Today is much the same as yesterday - same road, same rolling hills. Tea trees on the higher ground, bananas lower down. We're let off a little by the terrain, with small ups and downs alongside a river before heading into a 10km climb that rapidly became challenging. We keep thinking we're done going uphill, but there's always more.

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  • Bean Me Up
    24 November 2011

    This is the closest we've had yet to an easy day's riding. The departure from Pu'er is straightforward. We stop for baozi and doujiang, our now established breakfast standard, then get onto the road out of town. It's a little broken and shabby at first but soon settles down to be a very useable country road.

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  • Return to the Lowlands
    25 November 2011

    We aim to get on the road early today, the plan being to get to Mekong Café in Jinghong in time for a late lunch. We roll out at 9:40am after throwing down some baozi, zhengjiao and doujiang.

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  • Detach Third Stage Booster. Check.
    28 November 2011

    Marc and I head to Banna Café for some breakfast. While it's being prepared, we pop to the bike shop around the corner on Manting Lu to check out a handlebar bag. Having some weight on the bars the last few riding days has made the ride feel a bit more treacley and less twitchy. The bag seems to do the job. Breakfast does the job too.

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  • Riding the Dragon's Back
    29 November 2011

    Quite a ride today. I've had a heads up to expect three biggish climbs. When I cross a little blip of a climb early on, I'm uncertain whether it counts. I'm right to assume it doesn't.

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  • And Out.
    30 November 2011

    The weather's cold, the sky overcast, the locals are wearing coats. I have to put my fleece on until I've warmed up. I stop a few times on the way out of town to make certain of the route. It starts spitting rain. Not rain. It's like the jungle and sky are sweating, water drops forming around me rather than falling from above.

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  • Tarmacadam Imperialism
    1 December 2011

    Overcast start to the day. I'm still feeling a little full, so I defer food. This turns out to be a good strategy, as my breakfast, taken after 27km in Na Mor, hits my system just as I get stuck into the day's main climb. I reckon I'm just going to rattle into places and speak a few words of Thai, as it seems to be understood. For breakfast, I lead with a kin khao (eat rice), and get a kin pho (eat noodles) suggestion in reply - job's a good un. Got a salad of mint, green beans, watercress and other unidentified greens on the side too.

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  • The Beer Lao Road Surface Lifecycle
    2 December 2011

    Today has the worst surface since that prior to Jiangcheng. I've left the new Chinese road behind, it becomes apparent as I roll out of Oudomxai. After about 5km, the road turns left towards Luang Prabang, and the first of two big climbs starts.

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  • Luang Prabang: UNESCO World Tourist Site
    3 December 2011

    I wake with the lights on. This is happening a lot lately. Evenings I do chores, I read, I snack and then I fade out. I'm tired, and the two planned rest days in Luang Prabang are only a ride away. Ok, so it's still 110km, but there's no major climbs, and it's a net downhill.

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  • The Queen Stage
    6 December 2011

    "The ones who are brave enough to face the mountains will not be disappointed." Jesse put in his GoKunming write-up of this leg. He's right, I'm not disappointed. I am, however, not far short of convinced that that was the hardest day I've ever spent on a bicycle.

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  • There Are Downhills, and There Are Downhills
    7 December 2011

    Legs and morale still sapped from yesterday's outing, I rolled out of bed not too happy about having to get through 100km or so on the bike. It was chilly at first, but as it warmed up, thinking of the 44km downhill to Kasi, I get myself together. As it's a downhill, I decide to wait to eat in Kasi.

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  • Bumpy Ride
    8 December 2011

    As it's only 85km today, and there are good breakfast options in Vang Vieng, I don't rush onto the road. The first place I seek breakfast has staff far more interested in clipping their toenails in the restaurant than noticing customers. Next door is cheaper anyway. Eggs, bacon, baguette, coffee, check out, bike, road, gone.

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  • It's About the Bike (And Some Other Stuff)
    9 December 2011

    A pretty uneventful ride into Vientiane today (aside from seeing a sign for a bar/karaoke called Crammy Valentine), so it's time to talk about gear.

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  • Flat Out Over the Flats
    14 December 2011

    It's going to be a biggie, so I'm out of bed at 7am. I'd gone to bed late because I was busy finishing Midnight's Children and getting in a last WiFi fix before heading to the boonies, but I sleep well and wake feeling fresh. Four days of getting fat in Vientiane, and I'm nervous about how today is going to pan out. It's also dawned on me that it could be late March in Singapore before I cross paths with anyone I know, which suddenly seems a long way off.

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  • A Soireé at Lao Ding's
    15 December 2011

    Another flat and generally uninspiring day today, though fortunately a shorter one. It takes me through 2000km, though I barely notice.

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  • When the Wind Blows
    16 December 2011

    Today's ride was a bit more interesting, if only for the road being less flat. Gentle ups and downs all day. There were some karst-like mountains to the east, which raises the spectre of climbs once I'm headed east after Savannakhet.

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  • Savannakhet: A Sketch
    19 December 2011

    Savannakhet certainly has the air of a border town. Plenty of people passing through, few staying. It's not unlike Hekou's China-Vietnam border. In Hekou's case, Vietnam's tiny Lao Cai is across the Red River. Here, Thailand's Mukdahan is across the Mekong, and it doesn't look small. Thailand's economy dwarfs that of Laos.

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  • A Brief Rant About Leaving China
    19 December 2011

    I've left Kunming after four years. I've left China after 13 years. It was time. It was not doing me good.

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  • Seno's Paradox
    17 December 2011

    Bit of an unconventional day, in many respects. After the last few repetitive days, today comes as the rest that they say a change is.

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  • Going the Wrong Way
    20 December 2011

    Today I've gone pretty much due east, towards the Laos-Vietnam border. Savannakhet has a ferry and bridge border with Thailand. I could have chugged across, headed to the beach and skipped Vietnam and Cambodia in favour of sipping Singhas by the sea for a few extra weeks.

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  • C'est Bon, Sepon
    21 December 2011

    A shorter day today, after yesterday's, umm, bonus kilometres. Breakfast is the remaining baguette. It's gone a bit soggy, but it still hits the spot.

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  • Into Vietnam
    22 December 2011

    Today's main task is not the ride, but the border crossing into Vietnam. The weather is overcast, and unstable with it. I think there's a real chance of rain, and try to make quick progress.

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  • Grizzly, Grizzly, Wet and Drizzly
    23 December 2011

    My first steps into the cold and wet this morning take me to a banh my bakery. I wait for my baguettes to be filled as I bask in the warming glow from the baking ovens. A team of guys shape the dough on large trays, slam them in to bake, and then dump out the freshly cooked ones into a heap for the sandwich makers to mine into.

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  • Down to Sea Level
    24 December 2011

    This isn't going to be pleasant, this isn't going to be comfortable, but it is going to be. It's supposedly pretty much all downhill on good surface, so hopefully I should be in Hue well inside four hours.

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  • The Sea
    27 December 2011

    Including the day I entered, I've now been on the bike for four days in Vietnam. It's rained for all of them.

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  • Passing South of the Divide
    28 December 2011

    Lang Co is just north of the Hai Van Pass, considered by many Vietnamese as the physical divide between north and south Vietnam.

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  • Southbound Again
    1 January 2012

    Three days off the bike getting fat and now it's time to get going again. I'm going to head for the coastal resort of Nha Trang along highway 1 (QL1). It'll take five days.

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  • Grrr
    2 January 2012

    Today gets off to a bad start when the hotel rip me off on the room.

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  • A Good Day Ain't Got No Rain
    3 January 2012

    Finally, a day on the bike with no rain. And what a difference it makes. Today's terrain is similar to the past couple of days, but paddy fields with their greens glowing do so much more for one's optimism.

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  • Farthest East
    4 January 2012

    My first dorm night of the trip, and probably the last. Not the best of sleep, but the price was right. I'm slow off the mark, but take time for a sturdy breakfast of chips, eggs, bacon, toast and coffee.

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  • Blowout
    5 January 2012

    The wind's really been the story of the past few days. Without it, I'd have spent a lot more energy getting to Nha Trang. Against it, these distances would have been hard. But today's blowout was of a different kind.

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  • Distance Defeats Dismal
    7 January 2012

    About 100km on the slate today, to the twin cities of Phan Rang-Thap Chiam. Bit of a dismal day all round, thanks partly to overcast, blustery weather.

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  • Sticks and Stones...
    8 January 2012

    Today turns out to be much longer than I'd expected. It's unfortunately all my fault.

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  • Enter The Dragon(fruit)
    9 January 2012

    I cobble together a breakfast from my guesthouse's confused menu, do a bit of basic bike maintenance, and roll out.

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  • Into Saigon's Gravitational Field
    10 January 2012

    Knobbled for baguettes again! I've really not sorted the eating patterns of Vietnam out. Rice is not for dinner, ok, I think I've got that straight. I've been offered rice porridge for dinner, but elsewhere in Asia, that's pretty squarely in the breakfast department. What's going on? Anyway, I thought baguettes were an all day kind of thing, but I don't see any on sale as I roll out of La Gi.

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  • Routines
    12 January 2012

    Here's what the rest of the day looks like, aside from bike time, starting with rolling into a destination town:

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  • As Brave As Traffic
    11 January 2012

    Piece of cake, really. Point bike at city, ride, arrive, stop. Well, ok, there's a bit more to it than that, but it's not too much of a challenge.

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  • Into the Mekong Delta
    14 January 2012

    Getting out of Saigon was as easy as getting in. I track west on a busy but orderly road until I hit QL1, loop around on a feeder road and bam! I'm right back in the highway melee.

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  • Ferries Cross The Mekong
    15 January 2012

    Sore throat this morning. I make a mental note to have a few soothing cold ones if it persists.

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  • Another Day at the Office
    16 January 2012

    Just like a day job. Wake up, wonder where you are, who you are, what it all means. Put on your work clothes, grab some breakfast, begin your commute. Today was little more than quotidian drudgery.

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  • This Is My Bicycle
    17 January 2012

    Lunch is for breakfast today - rice and chops, again - at my guesthouse. Rocket fuel coffee on the side.

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  • Into Cambodia
    18 January 2012

    Big fat breakfast at Oasis Bar. After eating and caffeinating, I go two doors down to the jeweller and sell all my remaining Vietnamese currency for US dollars, the de facto currency of Cambodia.

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  • Sneaking to Snooky
    19 January 2012

    A longish but surprisingly easy ride today. I definitely get some wind assistance for a lot of the ride, as well as a helpful pull from another bike tourist.

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  • Back to Kampot
    21 January 2012

    Back to Kampot today. There's nothing really wrong with Sihanoukville, but I think I felt a bit more relaxed in Kampot.

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  • No Let Up on the Phnom Penh Time Trial Let Down
    23 January 2012

    My day off the bike in Kampot was spent hanging out with Justin and Emma, reading, eating, strolling around the town and getting some fixes done on the bike.

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  • Half Century / Goodbye Mekong
    27 January 2012

    My first bike tour was from Kunming to Hekou for four days over the Christmas of 2009 with Chris. Then followed an ill-fated but educational five dayer around the Lincang area with Dan for Christmas 2010.

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  • I'm Getting Tired of This
    28 January 2012

    Had a chat with Mrs Chen this morning. She said she was born in Cambodia, but her ancestral home is near Shantou in eastern Guangdong province.

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  • Phnom Penh Pitstop
    26 January 2012

    First full day in the capital, I squirt some air in the troublesome tyre and head off to the bike shop to get things sorted. The bike shop's closed for Chinese New Year. I thought I'd got away from all that. I'm told it'll be open again on the 26th, which isn't too bad - I'll just be here three days instead of the planned two.

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  • Mr Front Wheel, You Must Be Here For The Slow Puncture Party
    29 January 2012

    Long day. First 20km goes in 50 minutes, as does the second, which is a reassuring start. I hit the Coke early, but it doesn't quite hit the spot.

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  • Just Passing Through
    2 February 2012

    49, 42, 42, 44, 43. These are the rolling times in minutes of all of today's 20 kilometre blocks. This is what happens when the wind is on your side and the surface is golden.

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  • So, I Hear There's Some Temples...
    31 January 2012

    I'm well aware that my tolerance level for temples and ruins can be rather low. Ruined temples? Yep, turns out similar. I chose to get the one day ticket for the Angkor Archeological Park, and it was the right decision.

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  • Aeolus's Revenge
    4 February 2012

    After an easy, smooth day yesterday, today's the opposite: highway 5 is rather bumpy, and I'm going into the wind for most of the ride.

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  • Heading Towards the Border
    5 February 2012

    This is my last full day in Cambodia. I head along route 57 to Pailin, a small provincial town that lies 19km short of the Thai border.

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  • Transposition
    6 February 2012

    Why did the cyclist cross the road? Because Thailand drives on the left.

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  • Trat Farang Mayhem
    7 February 2012

    Drunkenly tottering older female yank, Bond orchestra style horns and drums, a tribe of Germans, a polite Polish couple, and a Brit in an Hawaiian shirt that's bordering on obscene.

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  • A Fresh Look at Chanthaburi
    14 February 2012

    Today I finally manage to get back on the bike. I've been a week in Trat feeling under the weather.

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  • Highway Grind
    15 February 2012

    I spend a few kilometres getting out of Chanthaburi and snaking north to get on highway 3, and then most of the day is a steady grind along it.

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  • I Can Ride Forever...
    16 February 2012

    ...but the sun's not going to stay up for me.

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  • Unpicking the Bangkok Lock, Block by Block
    17 February 2012

    Gonna be a short one today. I demolish three bananas for breakfast and roll out.

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  • Southbound Again
    22 February 2012

    Bangkok's been the second stage of getting some rest and stability after so many kilometres. I spend my time running a few errands and eating, sleeping and rejigging my itinerary. Now it's time to get on the road again and actually start aiming at Singapore.

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  • You Don't Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows
    23 February 2012

    No main highway today. It's good to have a break from the noise.

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  • The Dogs Must Be Crazy
    25 February 2012

    Today is a pleasant surprise of a ride, only marred a little by poor food planning.

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  • Thailand Narrows
    26 February 2012

    Today's a highway day, but I manage to clock quite a few kilometres off it, and those that are on it are painless.

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  • Chumphon the Bandwagon
    27 February 2012

    I get up at 6:20am to watch the sunrise over the sea. I'm not the first up.

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  • Farthest South Yet
    28 February 2012

    Lang Suan's a tiny bit farther south than Rach Gia, at just under 10 degrees north.

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  • Same Mitochondria, Just More of Them
    29 February 2012

    Lang Suan's small, the rollout's easy: under the rail line, an immediate right, and keep on riding.

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  • Checkmate, Coast to Coast
    1 March 2012

    I get up early, as I know it's going to be a long one.

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  • Ferry to Ko Lanta
    7 March 2012

    Since Jiangcheng, I've not used motorised transport as a means of biting off a large chunk of distance. Today, however, is a ferry day.

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  • Racing the Rain
    9 March 2012

    The rain's been a reliably recurring feature of the last few days, generally making an appearance around mid afternoon. With this in mind, I set out early to try to get the ride done before it dumps.

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  • Rainy Ride to the Edge of Thailand
    10 March 2012

    The plan today is similar to yesterday's: get going early to beat the rain. The hotel café opens at 8am however, and breakfast is too important to skip.

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  • Selamat Datang
    11 March 2012

    Up early, not much cycling planned, as it's a ferry day, so a quick 7-11 breakfast will do.

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  • Island to Island Ferry
    14 March 2012

    The ferry to Penang leaves at 2:30pm, so it's hardly a hurried start to the day.

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  • Back on the Mainland
    18 March 2012

    Woke up sore from yesterday's exertions. Nothing to be done. Breakfast, pack, bike.

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  • Hashing in the Land of the Mother Hash
    17 March 2012

    I've several cuts and scratches on my hands, patches of moist forest matter stuck to my ankles, a red patch on my left sock where I've bled into it, a rather muddy rear, and I ache all over.

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  • Finally, a Real Puncture
    19 March 2012

    My tyres are getting worn. Back in Ao Nang, I swapped front and rear, due to the rear wearing faster. It's no big surprise when I pull a chunk of metal out of the rubber.

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  • Riding to Colorado
    20 March 2012

    Tanah Rata is the administrative centre of the Cameron Highlands. There's a clue in the name that hints at what today's ride was like.

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  • Back Down Into the Oxygen Soup
    23 March 2012

    For a day with such a hefty descent, today's a lot of work.

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  • Bumping Through the Jungle
    24 March 2012

    I'm expecting a flat easy day today, with a few bumps and maybe with a nice tailwind. No can do.

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  • Out of the Hills, Hopefully
    25 March 2012

    A short outing today, but still with bumps.

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  • Rest. Repair. Ride.
    26 March 2012

    Yesterday's short day seems to have led to good recovery. At no point was today's ride challenging, even when it looked like the wheels were going to come off.

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  • No Room at the Inn
    27 March 2012

    Something feels wrong with the day from the get go. My breakfast plans come unstuck, I can't find what I need in the shop, etc. Just got that feeling.

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  • I'm Mersing Myself
    28 March 2012

    Today was pretty much as expected for a short day after a long day: difficult but over quickly.

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  • Penultimate
    3 April 2012

    Palm oil plantations, lots of them. Consequently it's a bit of a tedious day.

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  • Thanks
    10 April 2012

    Nearly done. The Asia leg is complete: Kunming to Singapore. Now I just have to hop the aluminium bird back to Heathrow, clatter about in London a few days and then ride a couple more days across the UK's south east.

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  • Clear and Bright
    4 April 2012

    After an overcast start, it is a clear and bright day, which is appropriate for Qingming festival.

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