As winter sets in, Northern Thailand enters the very best season for cycling. Combined with beautiful scenery and rural byways free of motor vehicles, cycling life in Thailand is going to be splendid for months to come. But, best of all is the endless network of unsealed tracks and trails, single track, and jeep tracks to explore. Here, in glorious colour, is a moving picture of a Sunday morning blast on the PaintedRoads' scrambler in the hills, rice paddies, and pineapple fields of Chiang Rai.
Winter is now setting in here in Thailand's far north. Should a cyclist with a passion for gravel cycling, bike packing, and exploring tracks trails and unbeaten paths be moored up anywhere for winter, here is as good a place good as anywhere I know. With no tours to run in the coming months, there will be much local riding and documenting of said rides. The first offering of the season is this moving-picture of a 4-day three-night, 575-kilometre jaunt around the Golden Triangle region - mostly in glorious technicolour.
Back I was a lad, when the world was black & white, and we had to dodge dinosaurs on the way home from school, we used to find old bicycle frames, big wide handlebars, hopefully a Sturmy Archer three-speed, and if we were getting high tech, some brakes; we'd cobble 'em all together, and make - a scrambler.
These machines were named after the off-road racing motorcycles, which were little more than thumping four-stroke road bikes with high-level exhausts, raised mudguards, and slightly elongated suspension (if you were an ace). Just as motocross machines superseded these behemoths, so, the scrambler bicycle was soon outshone by the BMX, and the mountain bike. However, although the motocross machine and the mountain bike are undoubtedly better for winning races, jumping onto and off of improbable, and being generally rad and gnarly, it doesn't mean that there is no place these days for the humble scrambler. For those of us who don't wear a trucker cap backwards and talk with passion about "getting air dude", the scrambler offers an alternative, laid-back, super fun way to discover the unchartered territory of hills, valleys, jungles and plains.
More words and images about the build of this machine will come soon, but for now, by way of an introduction to PaintedRoads newest machine, Echo and I are rather pleased with our most recent video: