One evening at the PGT-Bar somewhere in 2011, Steve told me about his plan to bicycle from Ayutthaya up to Chiang Mai. I replied I was always "in" to join such an event and suddenly Steve's plan was more than alive. We set the date for the beginning of October that year. Unfortunately, we got badly flooded in October and the plan fell literally in the water. We all got serious water damage at our homes and/or our places of work and we needed time to lick our wounds.

My "Haro Flightline One" bike was such a victim of the flood. I brought my bicycle in December 2011 to the bike shop in Ang Thong for a check-up. The 7-speed Shimano 11-34 cassette was worn-out as people had been driven my bike through the flood waters for days. The shop owner suggested me to change it. I had the 26 x 2.10 original tires replaced with 26 x 1.50 Kenda Kwick Roller Sport tires and added kevlar tire liners. Unfortunately the new 7-speed cassette was not the same as the original but a 12-32. I did not go as fast as before and was crazy pedaling even in the highest gear. So, I went back to the shop and the owner suggested me to change the 42/34/24 crank set by a 44/32/22; which indeed I did. My bike went faster, but I had paid more than half the price of a new bicycle.

A new year and nearly a "new" bike. We had postponed the trip to begin November 2012. Nearing our starting date, I had not very much bike training in the legs as the weeks prior I made the descent of the Chao Phraya River and Lopburi River by kayak with another pal, finalising the last track on 21 October. Steve ventured prior with his "Trek 4 Series" mountain bike in the hills of Hua Hin, to do some hill training, so he was likely already fit to do the job. I had only a good week to get some bike legs instead of some paddling arms. 

Then one of my cogs seemed to hamper... As it was close to departure I brought my bike to the bike shop in Ayutthaya to adjust the gear. The owner checked it and found out that the bike was not able to shift to the smallest chain ring because the crank set and the front derailleur were not matching. In conclusion, I had to install a new 8-speed front-derailleur. The gears were adjusted, oiled and everything looked fine. Time to head off. Unfortunately, I would find out quickly that the problem with the second cog of the cassette was not resolved and this issue would cost me a lot of sweat in the hills of the northern provinces.

Then the date of departure arrived. The day prior Steve dropped his loaded bike at my place. We checked our equipment and made RV for 0615 Hr the next day. The adventure could take off...

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