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BANGKOK 26 June 2019 00:31
carlf

Issan biking

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4 minutes ago, geoffbezoz said:

Yep you just have to love these crackpots who go out of there way to justify stupidity. Re- my post #28 earlier

The OP seems like a pretty smart dude, thoughtfully planning his trip. I seriously doubt he's dumb enough to follow such horrible, inane, dangerous advice.

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2 minutes ago, LawrenceN said:

The OP seems like a pretty smart dude, thoughtfully planning his trip. I seriously doubt he's dumb enough to follow such horrible, inane, dangerous advice.

Lets hope so and I hope he enjoys his Issan cycling.  Lovely  area and traveling along the banks of the Mekong, or at least as close as you can, is a very rewarding and refreshing way to see Thailand and Thai Issan people for real.

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so cyclists around the world are doing it all wrong and in thailand the cyclists and motorcyclists riding on the wrong side of the road were right all along! who'd have thunk it!



I know legally you’re supposed to ride with the flow of traffic but when I used to be an extreme runner I survived running sometimes as far as 26 kilometers sometimes less sometimes even further than that down some of the most dangerous city streets in the world. Although biking and running are two different things so I understand your point but you gotta be able I see what’s going on around you out there somehow especially in Thailand because people get killed doing this. I understand not being afraid of taking the risk because I used to be an extreme athlete as well. Looking back now sometimes I think some of the things I did was just unnecessarily dangerous.


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So your advice of riding against the traffic flow is clearly the exact same principles employed by most Thai motor cyclists.  So lets be done with all the thread comments about stupid Thai motorcyclists riding the wrong way against the traffic flow, and instead let us all praise them for using their intelligence knowing full well that as you state "Always ride against traffic so you can see what’s coming at you".    Amassing Thailand to be sure.
 
However , certainly in Udon Thani, khon Kaen and Nong Khai areas all of the cyclists I see on the main highways must plainly be stupid in your eyes as they are always cycling on the near side of the road in the direction of the traffic flow, as is accepted practice.


It’s a risk period basically just do whatever you have to do to survive out there which sometimes means improvising in some way shape or form. I’ve most certainly taken my share of risks. Maybe better to do good route planning and try to predict what traffic and the weather is going to be like out there and do a risk assessment. I get that you can’t ride that way all the time but you will end up in situations out there when you might have to at least around corners when you can’t see what’s coming around the corner. Route planning, what’s the traffic gonna be like, what’s the weather conditions gonna be like, and assess the risk based on all factors on the ground.


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Careful route planning, predict what traffic is going to be like as much as possible, get the weather report for the times you’re going to be out there, and conduct a risk assessment.


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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, LawrenceN said:

I disagree. I rode more than 5000 km on country roads in Chiang Mai last year. Are you speaking from experience or your reading of the scary news stories? People die using motor vehicles, too. In my roughly 30,000 km experience on road bikes in rural CM, drivers are careful and courteous. The smaller the road the better.

Just a couple of comments. For me, I was speaking from experience; according to my trip logs I racked up about 8800 km last year. But even someone who never cycles but regularly drives has an opportunity to directly observe Thai driving skills and road manners. The OP wasn't talking about taking an idyllic Sunday ride along a remote stretch of the Mekong, or up in the back hills surrounding Chiang Mai (which I agree sounds like a great deal of fun). He was talking about going intercity from Ayutthaya to Nakhon Ratchasima, possibly along Route 2. A night and day difference, I am sure you will agree.

 

While admitting that because of its cooler weather and surrounding hills, Chiang Mai may have a more developed cycling culture which has made motorists generally more conscious of cyclists, I have to say your claim that drivers there are uniformly "careful and courteous" has been met with a fair amount of skepticism. Just for purposes of discussion (and maybe for the benefit of others), let me ask you how the drivers in your area typically behave in these two types of situations:

 

1. I am sure you are familiar with the concept of riding "assertively", that is, riding not in the extreme curb position but further out away from the edge of the road in order to force traffic approaching from the rear to either slow down or give you a wider berth. For those who might not know, the reasoning is that if the cyclist keeps to the extreme road edge, traffic approaching from the rear will not slow down and not give you an adequate space berth. In my area if I do not ride "assertively" motorists will very frequently pass with minimal clearance and with minimal effort to slow down. They are oblivious to the possibility that you might need to swerve in order to avoid a pothole, a branch, or road debris.

 

I typically ride in the "assertive" manner, but even this is tricky, because some drivers seeing that you're further out in the road, which they see as their dominion, will actually speed up as they approach in order to intimidate you into moving to the edge of the road. I also occasionally encounter drivers (even on country roads) who seem to be amusing themselves by passing at speeds of 70-90 km/hr with next to no effort to move further towards the middle of the road. Are you saying none of this ever happens to you?

 

2. Here's another example. Let's say you're riding on a road which has a solid white line on the left edge of the road which demarks the shoulder of the road. And let's say the road has moderate to heavy traffic on it. You're pedaling along and you come up to a small bridge which is narrower than the road. The road shoulder is crimped and effectively disappears because of the narrow bridge. In order to go over the bridge, you have to move into the lane which is normally dedicated to motorists. How do motorists in your neck of the woods typically respond to this situation? Do they anticipate that you'll need to move into the lane and slow down to allow you to do so safely? That would be the "careful and courteous" thing to do, right? Or do they speed up and force you to come to a stop and wait for traffic to go by? In my area the latter is almost always how drivers behave. How do drivers in your area behave?

 

Edited by Gecko123

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1 hour ago, Gecko123 said:

I typically ride in the "assertive" manner, but even this is tricky, because some drivers seeing that you're further out in the road, which they see as their dominion, will actually speed up as they approach in order to intimidate you into moving to the edge of the road. I also occasionally encounter drivers (even on country roads) who seem to be amusing themselves by passing at speeds of 70-90 km/hr with next to no effort to move further towards the middle of the road. Are you saying none of this ever happens to you?

Yes, that's what I'm saying.  I'm on roads where motorists rarely exceed 40 kph. I often pass old people putting along on motorbikes. 70, with or without bicycles is dangerous for any motor vehicle on these little country roads. If the road is big enough to have a shoulder marked with a white line, I stay to the left of the line, considering it to be a bike lane, as most motorcyclists do. I'm more often annoyed at the overly courteous drivers who sit on my flank when they should have passed.

1 hour ago, Gecko123 said:

2. Here's another example. Let's say you're riding on a road which has a solid white line on the left edge of the road which demarks the shoulder of the road. And let's say the road has moderate to heavy traffic on it. You're pedaling along and you come up to a small bridge which is narrower than the road. The road shoulder is crimped and effectively disappears because of the narrow bridge. In order to go over the bridge, you have to move into the lane which is normally dedicated to motorists. How do motorists in your neck of the woods typically respond to this situation? Do they anticipate that you'll need to move into the lane and slow down to allow you to do so safely? That would be the "careful and courteous" thing to do, right? Or do they speed up and force you to come to a stop and wait for traffic to go by? In my area the latter is almost always how drivers behave. How do drivers in your area behave?

 

The former. 

 

As you say, it's not universal. I keep my head up and drive defensively. Idiots are out there for sure, but mostly, I feel good about the level of respect and consideration shown by those sharing the road with me 

 

BTW, it's hot in CM now, has been for months.

 

I'm done with this debate.

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Posted (edited)

@LawrenceN A little wierd to hear you declare "you're done with this debate" when you consider I was replying to your post for the first time. I did take the liberty of going onto GoogleMaps and looking up Sansai, Chiang Mai which is where your avatar says you live. I found some remarkably scenic one lane roads which appeared to fit your description of roads where nobody goes over 40 kph (25mph), for example the road leading up to Wat Doi Thaen Phra Pha.

 

All I have to say is that if roads like these are what you are basing your assessment of how safe Thailand's roads are for cyclists upon, they appear to be very unrepresentative of the inter-city road conditions the OP is likely to encounter on the road trip he is contemplating.

 

You needn't worry about me belaboring this point any further. The only reason why I brought it up in the first place was in an effort to drill down and determine what experiences people were basing their opinions and recommendations upon in order to help the OP make an informed decision. Cheers.

 

Edited by Gecko123

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On 5/11/2019 at 7:02 AM, theboogeyman said:

 

 


It’s always a risk no matter what but if you’re in really good shape and have very sharp reflexes you’ll probably be okay as long as you’re careful. I know because I used to be an extremely fast long distance runner and I used to run all over the place. I used to trail run through the woods, and in the big cities such as Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Tokyo, Japan, here in Thailand as well, Seoul, Korea which is also dangerous, and many other places. When I used to run through the cities I didn’t stop for nothing not even traffic I’d do 20K in about an hour I was in top physical shape back then almost at professional athlete level. I’ve almost been ran over many times but back then I had those really sharp cat like reflexes and I could easily run between cars across busy streets and just crazy stuff out there and I’ve never been hit by a vehicle in over 20 years of running that way.

Running through Tokyo was safer because the traffic moves slower there and the drivers in Japan are safer. Around here in Thailand and in Seoul, Korea sometimes it’s like they’re trying to run you over. I loved running through Tokyo when we lived there. And in Seoul, Korea there’s a really long and very good running trail that goes along the Han River nearby the JW Marriott in Seoul. But Thailand was probably the most dangerous for running. If you are confident and in good shape and have very sharp reflexes then do it if you want, but be extremely careful because people have been killed here doing exactly what you are planning on doing. Just be aware of the conditions and the risks. Don’t die out there be extremely careful!


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Running and cycling have nothing to do with each other...totally irrelevant comparison, and danger levels are miles apart.

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7 hours ago, theboogeyman said:

 

 


Always ride against traffic so you can see what’s coming at you. That’s what I almost always did when I used to run and it made it a lot easier to avoid getting ran over. If I had always ran the same direction as traffic back when I could run I’d probably be dead today and smashed by a truck.


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Very bad advice and one which will get someone killed, which is why it is against the law to ride against the traffic in most countries. Again running and cycling have nothing to do with each other.

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Very bad advice and one which will get someone killed, which is why it is against the law to ride against the traffic in most countries. Again running and cycling have nothing to do with each other.



Yeah well that’s how I used to bike and run all the time and that’s how I survived the busy streets in cities all over the United States and the world. I don’t know about you but I was just one step below professional athlete level for 25 years since I was in High School and throughout my 21 year Military career until I Medically Retired 5 years ago. If you you had seen me do it you’d get it. I had extremely sharp reflexes as well because I was in such great shape back then. I doubt that people who just sit in front of their keyboards all day long talking about stuff that truly has no meaning at all in life know the first thing about being athletic. Sometimes this forum is worse than a sewing circle. I just recently downloaded the Thai Visas iPhone app so now I find myself engaging in this meaningless dialogue as well. This is honestly a waste of time.

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Running and cycling have nothing to do with each other...totally irrelevant comparison, and danger levels are miles apart.

 

 

Not exactly how many Triathlons have you done???? I’ve done 3 Ironman Triathlons including the one in Hawaii. But that was a very long time ago. I’ve also ran 5 marathons and countless other races from 5Ks to 42K Marathons. I was extremely good on the bike and in the water as well. I used to be an extreme runner/athlete until my body broke down on me.

 

My 21 years in the military, 5 combat tours, and being on Airborne Status for most of my Military career didn’t help my body at all, and I was on Military Free Fall (MFF) status as well, that’s High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) jumps where you’re jumping between 10 and 35,000 feet and require O-2 Oxygen Masks. At altitudes above 12,500 feet without O-2 you will go into hypoxia and blackout and possibly die. I have hundreds of static line and free fall jumps and I had multiple injuries from jumping such as fractured feet and ankles, severe knee injuries, fractured vertebrae in my back (I actually have metal in my back I’m very lucky to not be in a wheelchair), and multiple other injuries including getting whiplash all the time on Static Line jumps because of the strong jolt of the opening shock of the parachute. I’m also a Stage 3 cancer survivor as well.

 

Otherwise I’d probably still be running, biking, and swimming like I used to. I always thought I’d end up being one of those 80 year old men that you still see running Marathons. But I’m a 100% disabled veteran so unfortunately those days are gone. There are a lot of keyboard warriors on this forum sometimes. I recently downloaded the Thai Visas iPhone app so now I find myself engaging in this meaningless dialogue.

 

 

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