Monday, February 1, 2010

Bicycles and motorbikes

After the day of doing nothing, Rhian, Marina, and I decided we'd rent bicycles on Sunday and head out toward a waterfall that we'd heard about called Mor Paeng about 8km away from Pai. Gabby had told us that it would take about an hour to get to the falls and then only about a half hour to get back. Remember when I mentioned all the curves on the way to Mae Hong Son and Pai? All those curves also end up meaning a lot of hills, too, so this is why it would take longer to get there than back.

It was probably the longest 8km of my life. We took liberal rest breaks - more than I'd have taken if I were on my own - and it took us 3 hours to get to the falls. We took a tiny little wrong turn at one point and were faced with the steepest hill ever. It was so steep that we got off our bikes to push them up the hill and that was tough. I stopped to take a picture of this oh so steep hill and, Miss Clutz that I am, I dropped my bike. The pedal came down on my right foot, leaving a scratch and an egg sized lump. The handlebar came down on my left leg, leaving another scratch. The bruise on my right foot hasn't shown up yet, but it sure feels bruised. Almost worse than going up a steep hill we didn't have to go up and almost worse than injuring myself was that we had to turn around and go down that very steep hill. It was terrifying, especially since the brakes aren't all that great on rented bikes. The three of us were literally gripping the hand brakes (and maybe praying just a little bit) the entire way down. It didn't seem fair that when we finally had a chance to give our legs a break from the hills that the work switched to our hands and arms. Once we were back on the right track, the waterfalls just couldn't come soon enough. There were a number of times when we had to give up and push the bikes for awhile. Every time a motorbike passed us, we could feel the pity in the riders' eyes, lol.

We did finally make it to the falls and it was quite pretty. We immediately stripped down to our bathing suits, tested the waters (COLD!), and laid out with our books. Ahhhh, relaxation after such a long trip! Even though we knew the return trip would be much better, we still were in no big hurry to get back on the bikes. Eventually the sun started to go down, though, and we had to get back into down. Any guesses as to how long it took? The hints: 1) we stopped once for about 40 minutes for a soda - not because we needed a break, but because we wanted to enjoy the view from high above Pai - and 2) we didn't need to pedal at all the entire time. Needless to say, we were all pretty exhausted last night. We didn't even go out for fruit shakes and cards, the evening activity of choice recently, and Marina and Rhian went to bed at 10:30pm.

Today we wanted to explore a couple of other waterfalls and a hot spring, but this time, we decided to go for motorbikes instead of bicycles. None of us had ridden a motorbike before, so we were a bit hesitant, but when we asked around at the rental place, they said they'd show us how and let us do a few test runs before we decided to do it. Once you get the hang of it, it's really very easy, especially because the rental places have the option of manual or automatic (we went with automatic). What a difference a motor makes! Instead of huffing and puffing and being hot and sweaty, we had a pleasant little drive through the countryside. Being on a motorbike meant that fewer pictures were taken, but I did manage to have one of the girls snap this one of me:


  1. Uh-Oh. My daughter has turned into a biker chick. She has a bit to learn about ATGATT though - flip flops?!


  2. LOL, I knew someone would say something about the flip flops. I know flip flops are a no-no and I would normally never wear those shoes on a motorcycle. But we weren't on major highways going fast or anything, mostly just going slow and steady on city roads. Besides, my leather toed motorcycle boots wouldn't fit in my pack. :-)

  3. hey! you look pretty kool on that bike.
    How is your foot from your accident?

  4. i did flip flops on my vespa through the 895 tunnel. no biggee! had a tank top on as well with capri pants. but i was wearing a helmet!

    (didn't seem so stupid in my 23 year old mind at the time)

    aren't they fun though?

  5. Mom - My foot is fine, healing nicely and not nearly as bruised as I expected it to be. The scratch on my other leg actually looks a lot worse than my foot, now that the egg sized lump has gone away.

    Laura - SO fun. I used to ride on DSH's bike (as a passenger) all the time, so I could still hear his voice in my head telling me to at least wear long sleeves (I did), but I had to go with the flops. Also, are you calling me stupid?? :-)