Chiang Mai

Mountain Biking I – The Fulfilling Preparation

We don’t bike often. Especially in Shanghai, the concrete city, biking on the street is terrifying. Shanghai is so urban that there’s basically no place for biking for fun instead of for commute unless we get out of Shanghai by driving a few hours on weekends. Plus biking is such an expensive sport, you know, with the bike, gears, shoes, clothes, etc. Nah, don’t see that’s happening. To sum it up, we don’t bike! That’s one of the reasons that we wanted to seek the opportunity of biking in the mountain. As a result, we knew it’s going to be a hardcore day for us. So we made sure we had a good night rest the day before. Got mentally and physically ready for some active fun in the mountain.

Early In The Morning Waiting For Pick-up

We got up early and packed up two-day necessities for Gibbon On Wheels tour. This time, the greeter showed up a bit late due to traffic jam. It’s the pick-up truck instead of air conditioning van compare to the first day of elephant training. The back of the truck was packed with people already when we hopped in. We headed straight to their office.

This pick-up truck brought us to the office.

The Office Where We Learned About Biking

It took us about 15 minutes to arrive at the office. All the gears including helmets, knee pads, elbow pads, gloves, day pack and even different size of biking T-shirts on the left caught my eyes as soon as I walked into the office.

Some of the helmets were hanging outside.

Gloves on the table.

There’s an middle-aged white guy waiting for us inside already. Was too busy checking out the gears. Didn’t catch his name. I will call him Master (quote from Kungfu Panda) for now since the introduction was given by him later on indicates that he is an absolute pro. Master started greeting all of us after everyone walked in. That’s when I had a chance to see who we would be hanging out with for the day.

Master’s making the introduction.

As Master was checking names and head counting, we learned that other than a couple who planned to go hiking in the mountain, the rest of the group of 11 people all signed up for mountain biking.

Everyone was required to filled up the insurance forms and sign the name.  After finishing the paper work, Master asked for everyone’s attention and got straight into the status of different biking routes (there are 4 biking routes for different levels) and hiking trails by showing them on a terrain map through Google earth from the screen on the wall including where and approximately when we would stop by a coffee shop and the lake where lunch would be served.

Presenting biking routes and hiking trails on the screen.

Since the group was full of people from different countries, Master specifically asked if there’s anyone who is used to front disc brake on the right because some European countries usually set the front disc brake at right as opposed to most countries do it at left. If you happened to come from these European countries, then no worries, they will make the change at the spot for you. Nevertheless, it’s important that you let them know. By the way, as mentioned before, I don’t usually do biking so I don’t know bike much. As a biking noob, this was my first time learning about disc brake. Apparently, it was not suggested to use for beginners especially when going downhill cos when it’s used, the dead stop of the front tyre will be so extreme that the back tyre will be lifted up which as a result, the rider will most likely fly out of the bike and….die. (This was my understanding based on Han’s explanation. It made perfectly sense and I was a little scared…)

In fact, Master made the whole speech relaxing but none of the important points and details were missing out. As getting ready to have some outdoorsy fun, he also did a great job to draw everyone’s attention on the safety part! Safety is the top priority. Basically according to Master, we don’t have to worry anything about returning the bikes in a different condition, which in other words, we can throw away the bikes in the mountain if it’s necessary.

All the unnecessary belongings were suggested to be left in the office. Since we booked a two-day trip of mountain biking and Flight of the Gibbon, toiletries and some changing clothes were taken out of our day pack. Water, mosquito spray, camera and snacks were all we needed. As I was stepping out of the office, Master stopped me and handed me one of the smallest shirt hanging on the hangers at the left. He said, ‘You probably want to put this on to protect your shoulders from scratching by the trees out there.’ Big smile on both our faces. By the way, the T-shirt smelt surprisingly good! Really good!

One last gaze before taking off. Oh, here’s the phone number for your reference. :)

Leaving for the mountain! The day just started. Check out what the training was like in the mountain. Pros! :-D

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