Thursday, January 26th, 2017
This is it, last day of the mad dash to Bangkok. Another big day on the odometer but it's nothing but flat, although the wind isn't helping as much as it has been.
Morning and I'm back at the same rest stop where I had dinner last night to get coffee and breakfast.
I'm following a river road for most of the day, it meanders a bit but it keeps me off the highway. The wind keeps the heat down to a bearable level.
40 kilometers from Bangkok I'm into the industrial outskirts of the city, the river road morphs into a significant highway, and I'm feeling the tensions rise along with the increase in traffic. Big diesel-belching trucks pass me by too close for comfort. The shoulder is sketchy in places, cracked and full of detritus that pushes me nearer to the left lane than I would like. Having already ridden out of Bangkok twice I'm familiar with the particular dangers of cycling in this city. The flyovers are the worst; in order to follow the highway in a straight line I often have to cross two-lane exits to my left to get up over the bridges. The openings in traffic are few and far between. Usually I end up stopping parallel to the start of the bridge, staring back over my right shoulder until there is enough of a break in the steady stream of cars and scooters to make a dash for it. Then I'm pedaling furiously up and over the bridges that rarely have much space for a shoulder to minimize the amount of time I'm exposed. To add to the excitement I have to dodge the little bits of rebar that poke up through the cement. Hitting one of those square-on would mean an instant flat. Miraculously I haven't had a single flat tire on this trip, 4,300 kilometers without a puncture is quite a streak. I should play the lottery.
I wanted to get farther into the city but I'm running out of daylight. I book a place 10 kilometers away knowing I'll have to ride at least part of it in the dark. I strap the lights on and ride hard.
At last I reach the hotel, a cheap but clean place on a busy square next to a market. I drop my stuff and make the rounds of the food stalls eating up a storm. I'll have a short ride into the city center tomorrow but the trip is basically over. I wanted to see how fast I could ride from Chiang Mai to Bangkok; the answer is 4 days, 700-something kilometers. So ends this cycling jaunt through southeast Asia.
70 meters of climbing according to Strava.