Not So Much A Holiday As An Experiment
PaintedRoad’s LabRats are our pioneers. The LabRats are easy-going laidback regular guests with a sense of humour equaling their sense of adventure.
LabRat Runs are fist time tours, that for one reason or another have not been polished to the point where they are suitable for a regular scheduled tour - hence the 'Rats joining David for the ultimate inspection trip.
Our Tours in category "LabRat Runs"
LabRat Run 2022: Route 279 - Dien Bien Phu to Halong Bay
Dates: September 2022
LabRat Runs have quickly become a PaintedRoads tradition. A group of easygoing and adventurous regulars, the 'Rats annually sate their appetite for adventure by joining the inaugural running of a PaintedRoads adventure tour. The Trans Vietnam tour was first inspected by Phong and David, on a motorbike, back in a time when the world was open and travel was easy. Since then, the tour has sat on the back boiler, awaiting some semblance of normality to return. With the route being but a hazy memory in a pair of minds dulled by time, it seems the only decent thing to do is take a look at it with the 'Rats.
The Vietnamese had, by the 1970s, suffered more than their fair share of bother with the unwanted interference of other nations. So when the Chinese crossed their northern border without invitation in 1979, the war-weary nation wasted no time defending its newfound sovereignty. The North Vietnamese Army was arguably more aware than any other military on Earth of the importance of keeping military supply lines open, and so, in February '79 military engineers set about building a supply road tracing their northernmost border - a road that was aptly named 2/79.
And like the wonderful Ho Chi Minh Trail road that follows the border with Lao, QL279 is a mountain road, little used by motorised traffic but kept in good condition due to its strategic importance.
A well maintained rural road through stunning mountain scenery, bereft of traffic and leading from one side of a nation to the other - what is there for a cyclist not to like?
We begin our ride in Dien Bien Phu, the site of the battle that finally bought French colonial power to an end in Indo-China, and saw the rise of Communism in Southeast Asia. Our journey ends an unforgettable 900 kilometres later with a relaxing cruise on the UNESCO World Heritage Ha Long Bay.
Total Days: 16 | Cycling Days: 10 | Difficulty: 7/10 | Daily Average: 92km | See more information, dates & prices »
The Bhutan Rats
Dates: May 2023
For 2023, by invitation only.
LabRat Runs have quickly become a PaintedRoads tradition. A group of easygoing and adventurous regulars, The LabRats annually sate their appetite for adventure by joining the inaugural running of a PaintedRoads adventure tour. for 2020 we head for the Himalayas, and the little-visited Buddhist Shangri-La, Bhutan.
Bhutan is a special and unique Himalayan Kingdom where success is measured in Gross National Happiness, not Gross National Product. In order to keep tourism at a controlled level, a minimum fee per day is levied on all tourists. Not only does this famously make Bhutan one of the most costly nations in the region to visit, but it is also, quite genuinely, probably the happiest, most peaceful, and safest.
PaintedRoads cycling adventure through Bhutan offers a very special view of an already exclusive country. As we cycle through the Himalayas, enjoying some of Asia's most spectacular views and exhilarating cycling terrain we pass beautiful monasteries, wonderful wildlife - hunting is illegal, and meet fascinating people.
Bhutan really is the ride of a lifetime.
Total Days: 11 | Cycling Days: 7 | Difficulty: 8/10 | Daily Average: 97km | See more information, dates & prices »
An Exploration of Northern Lao
Dates: No dates available at this time.
Despite pockets of the country seeing much economic development over the last two decades, Laos remains a country somewhat lost in time. It is a mountainous and tranquil land, where for much of the time the only sound heard by travellers is that of bird song.
This cycling tour is an adventurous loop through the north of the nation, passing through ancient jungle where tigers roam, agricultural land that is home to minority groups, past mysterious prehistoric archaeological sites, and the craters and bombshells of a more modern era that bring home the stark horrors of war.
The byways on which we ride are quiet, winding, hilly, and tranquil, and the towns at which we stay vary from the back of beyond to tourist comfort.
Total Days: 15 | Cycling Days: 10 | Difficulty: 8/10 | Daily Average: 95km | See more information, dates & prices »