Tour on my conversion
On July 16 I commenced a 720 km tour on my folding, 20" conversion (http://cruzbike.com/cruzinspeed-2.0) from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, equipped with a NuVinci N360 IGH and Patterson-Metropolis CVT. I carried about 10 KG of luggage, including tools, spares. I swapped my fast Panaracers for decidedly heavier and fatter Marathon Racers to mitigate punctures and traded my normal 15t sprocket for a 16t, to help carry the load and manage the long climbs in northern Thailand.
Most days were sunny and hot, ranging from 35º-39º C, so diet and hydration were critical. Given the unsuitability of most Thai food for sustained energy, I relied on Hammer's Perpetuem and electrolyte?s. Thais love, grow and serve great coffee, meaning an ample number of coffee opportunities, along with WIFI.
The bike performed brilliantly. Other than the 1100 total meter climbs in the north, I had no issues with climbing, and flats saw speeds, depending on wind, of between 18 and 21 km/h. Not fast but enough to assure getting to my daily destination before the hottest part of the afternoon. For the longest, steepest climbs I relied on the kindness of strangers to make my destination (Lampang). Of the three long grades, I rode the first, walked the last kilometer of the second and accepted a lift over the third and longest. I knew going in I'd be hitching a ride for part of that 148 km stretch as there was no midway place to stay and it was simply to hot to risk it. The following day I faced one more long, steep grade but was able to ride all but the final 1 km, where I walked.
I should note that when I chose to walk it was because at any speed less than 6 or 8 km/h I struggled to keep my balance.
Needless to say, the bike garnered a lot of attention, and eventually I had to refuse to stop to be photographed with various folks along the way. Lot's of thumbs up and horn honking...
I've shared some photos, in no particular order, here
I've been watching the photos as they appeared. Incredible journey. Nicely done and thanks for sharing with us!
Thanks for sharing. The photos were really nice to see!
In that heat it sounds more like an endurance challenge rather than a tour but then I moved up to Michigan from Texas because I'm not fond of really hot humidity. West Texas is OK as it traverses into really hot dry heat which I'm OK with.
Otherwise Chris, absolutely stunningly beautiful surroundings and nice write-up. I'm impressed with your touring bike configuration - it looks right smart and pretty darned ingenious.
Thanks all for the comments. Yes Eric, endurance is the operative word. The ride itself was not terribly challenging; staying on the bike through the heat and humidity was tough.
As a touring bike, this thing is great. It's small and in a pinch it folds compactly, yet while I'm riding it it doesn't feel small. The 1.5 tires softened the ride and gripped well.
I never experienced an ache or pain after hours of riding. And, despite their weight, the NuVinci and Patterson-Patterson really simplify things. I rode through a lot of water, mud and other road grime, without a thought to the drivetrain.