Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Betong, Thailand - part 2

Unloading the bikes at the Piyamit Tunnels

Rolling downhill

At the Betong junction
After a good rest, Michelle and I did a walking tour of Betong.
We checked out some good eating spots around town and had breakfast in a shop located about 300 metres from our hotel.
Earlier in the previous night, we made an agreement with cyclists Wey and Ming to leave for the Piyamit tunnels in the later part of the day.
When we were done with our breakfast, we met up with two other cyclists Wei Ling and Debbie who were part of 'team B' in the group.
Later, I caught up with Siang who was seen preparing his ride with three other cyclists.
Their plan was to ride up the Piyamit tunnels towards the Winter Flower Garden Resort which was located within the vicinity.
On a hindsight, I planned a 4WD drop from Betong to Piyamit which is located about 18km from town. 
Given our present level of fitness, I don't think we wanted to kill ourselves just to reach there.
I negotiated with a driver and the cost to transfer six people and bicycles to the location was 800baht.
The pricing was decent, so, we jumped at it.
It took us about 25-minutes to get to the Piyamit tunnels. Michelle and the rest of the girls toured the attraction while Wey and I looked after the bikes.
While I was there, I met Mr Loh (The Star's canteen operator) and his family.
It was a surprise for me to meet the entire family whom I am well-acquainted with.
The ride down from Piyamit to the Betong hot springs was challenging.
Certain sections of the road was covered with sand and if you speed down too fast, braking suddenly would pose a danger.
This was apparent when Wey had a puncture nearly half-way down the hill.
So, we decided to pull over at an archway to conduct the repairs.
It was there where we met up with Siang and company who made their way up. They were about 3km short of reaching the Winter Flower Garden.
After a short rest, team A proceeded as we slowly pushed our bikes down the steep slope.
We continued downhill for another 3km before breaking for lunch at a roadside stall.
Tomyam soup and some traditional Thai food had raised the morale of the team.
There, we also discovered that Wey's tire tube was punctured by a loose spoke. It was quickly repaired as we made our way back to Betong.
I too was having an unpleasant situation where my rear brake line was cut.
When we reached the outlying area of town, we stopped at a pro bicycle shop where I got the brake line changed.
Wey and the rest purchased some spare bicycle tubes at cheaper than dirt prices at a family own bicycle shop in one of the Sois in Betong.
On the second day, we did good time by touring the Piyamit tunnels one way and that was downhill.
The ride towards Betong from there was pleasant. It took us about an hour or more to complete the ride from the hot springs.
Later in the night, we had a simple dinner before calling it a day.
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