Laos border and Thinking. 21,22 March 2017. 

21 March. Savannakhet to Phueng Daet.
Bit of a recovery ride today. Just as well as crossing the border took some time. More than I thought. 
I brought some food (rice and pork) and Sat with a guy who kept bringing me more food!     Salad, fish, more rice and water. I offered to pay but he said no. I spent at least 45min talking to him. Well kind of, we couldn’t understand a word each other was saying. 
I tried to change some dollar I had with me but again the bank wouldn’t. Ended up changing it at a jewellers. ( any gold smith will exchange money, and at a more than fair rate).   The guy in the jewellers told me his son owns a coffee shop up the road and I should go, so I did. Pretty cool place actually and good coffee. Obviously all this took time. 

I ended up riding to the border about 3pm. I was told that in order to cross the Thai/Laos friendship bridge between the two countries I would need to get the bus. The road was apparently too narrow, far too dangerous for a bicycle or moped for that matter.  I really couldn’t be bothered to take my bike to bits so tried to bribe the police man but to no avail.  I think he liked the fact I tried.   Ended up getting bike on bus after the usual form filling and driving to border control in Thailand.   One more small form and I was free to ride again.  No money to pay for entry this time?!  
I rode for 40 odd kilometres looking for a place to stay but couldn’t seem to see anything.  It started to get dark and then started raining hard.  This was not looking good.  Eventually I found some funny looking shed type buildings.  A little weird as you can see from the picture but I was more than happy to call it a day and crash out. 

March 22. Phueng Daet to Kalasin. 135k 

Started cloudy which was nice but got hot about 11am. Set a good pace and arrived in good time. I’ve spent hours and hours on the road alone. Plenty of time to think. Which reminded me……
Some people have asked me what I think about when I’m cycling for six hours a day on my own. I think about everything and sometimes nothing. I think about my daughters, my family, my friends. The people I’ve met, the people I’ve said goodbye to, The job I don’t want when I get back, How long I’ve been riding, how many kilometres I’ve covered. How many more kilometres to lunch, why is my belly still fat – I’ve been cycling for days.  Sometimes just get into a rhythm on a big climb and in a sick way enjoy the pain.  I think about getting to Nepal and meeting my ex-wife there, (yes that is happening). The very reason I left the UK is now the very reason I’m going back to the UK. 
Today I thought about ironman in amongst all my other thoughts.  Ironman is absolute bullshit, okay his suit may protect him from bullets etc but it won’t protect him from being smashed into the ground at 1000 ft per second.   I don’t care what suite you wear, it could be a £1500 Armani suit you’re not gonna look cool after that!  it’s the same principle as smacking your head against a brick wall. Your brain hits the inside of your skull and is smashed.  it’s the same thing with Ironman’s suit! He would be dead!  I can’t believe I actually thought for a moment he would be fine.  I’m glad I had time today on the bike to think about that very important issue. 

Anyway – how many kilometres did thinking about that just take, what’s my average speed, Wonder what I’ll eat for dinner, will I see another westerner in the next few days? ……..

Sometimes I don’t just think it, I say it out loud. It gets lonely out there now and again. 

Leaving Hoi An. Back on the bike. 15-17 March.

Wednesday 15th of March. 127km, Hoi An to Houng Thuy. 
Left Hoi An. My favourite place in Vietnam! Relaxed, friendly, pretty and somewhere I have now made many friends. 
If you ever go to Vietnam you must visit. You’ll be missing out if you don’t. Look my mate Long up and get a Kayak tour booked with him. You won’t regret it!  I have had some of my best times on the river there. 
Great weather today burnt my nose and due to my new haircut also the top of my head a little bit.   My good bud Long rode with me to the top of the Hai Van Pass where we said our goodbyes, a little bit emotional as expected for somebody I’ve spent a year with.  We have both been through a lot together in that time and had a hell of a lot of fun.  God knows how many litres of rice wine we consumed.  A great friend.  He will be sorely missed.  

I saw the 90 year old man once again just to say farewell, there were no logs to saw but it was good to see him. 

Thursday the 16th Houng Thuy to A.Luoi 76 km 4100 feet of climbing.  Left a little late today, felt a bit tired after yesterday had Pho for breakfast, obviously.  The road towards Hue was very busy lots of big trucks,  I saw three accidents.  Lorries were taking over into oncoming traffic round blind corners and worse.  It was a bit scary. Once I turned left off the main road and onto the mountain road towards A.Luoi the traffic died down.  I rode through local villages and started climbing.  The road was rough in places, not a place for a road bike. The weather changed and it got slightly cloudy and a little cooler. The temperature dropped from 33° to 25° by the top.  I have ridden this section before but didn’t remember any of it,  well maybe a couple of sections, I think that was quite a good thing because the climb went on for quite a while.  Booked into a hotel that was 140,000 dong about 5 pound went to bed early slept well. Not a bad day ahead tomorrow now I have a lot of climbing behind me today. 

Friday 17 March. A.Luoi to Keh Sanh. 105k. Woke early and set off about 8 o’clock my kit hadn’t dried from washing the day before so had to put wet clothes on.  Cloud made it cool but was not good for the views. They would’ve been good as I was very high from the climb yesterday.  Greener and Cooler up here.  This section is one of the most beautiful I have ever ridden, easily the best hundred kilometres to ride in Vietnam. Slightly downhill following the stream through a tropical forest. Just awesome.  Ridden this section 3 times now. Once when I left Hoi An in late May 2016 and headed up to North Vietnam, the second time was with the charity newborns Vietnam and the third time was today. Really please this is one of the last sections I will ride in Vietnam before crossing the border into Lao. It completes my bike touring in Vietnam perfectly.  The last 8k is up. Really up to Khe Sanh so remember that if you ride this section. Save something!   Booked into a lower than average hotel, Khe Sanh is okay to stay, it’s a reasonable sized town and where a lot of the toughest fighting in the Vietnam war took place. 

Bangkok for Fishing. Feb 17. 

Haven’t been doing much for the last few weeks preparing my route, packing my stuff, getting insurance as I haven’t had any for about 8 months ????. 
Im leaving a lot of stuff behind for a friend to take back to England for me I’m taking minimal gear, leaving my tent, stove and lots of clothes going superlightweight for the next part of my trip. The mankini is packed though! 

Long had to go to Hanoi for a week at short notice so it was over to me to help look after his business and run the kayak tours for a week. I really enjoyed it as it was the last full week of kayak touring whilst I was in Vietnam. 

In February I flew to Bangkok to meet my brother for a fishing trip for two weeks. He was going on holiday with his misses and invited me to join him. 
Met him in Bangkok and our first night out was messy, a tough one. You know what they say: one night in Bangkok. Didn’t get up the next day until 2 PM it was good to see him and catch up it was a mad night.

Fishing was a two hour drive south of Bangkok to a beautiful villa next to the lake that we would be fishing on. We had a great weeks fishing and held our own with the other anglers on the lake catching some great Redtail Catfish and Carp. 
Flew back to Bangkok – Phil went to Phuket for a further few weeks so I did a few touristy things whilst I was there for a few days. 

I visited the royal Palace. It was okay lots of pagodas temples budders etc. Home to the longest reclining Buddha in the world at 46 meters. 

I went to a couple of rooftop bars whilst I was there, the sky bar was good. It’s where the hangover part two was filmed (well good for the view anyway) it was a bit pretentious and not really me. I had to buy some trousers from a lady on the street just to gain entry. My ears actually popped on the way up in the lift. I took a few pictures, didn’t stop for a drink and went home. 

I made the monthly news letter the fishing lake send out ! :
‘An interesting fella who fished here this month was a guy called Paul Lasenby Paul’s from Marlow, that nice part of old England in Bucks. And you won’t believe what this fella’s doing? Being an ex professional mountain biker, he flew out to Bangkok with nothing much more than his bike and he’s cycled all through Thailand, into and around Cambodia, into Vietnam from the south right up to the north near the Chinese border, into Laos and back through Thailand again. Pretty impressive stuff eh? That’s nothing! From here he intends to cycle through Burma, through Nepal, India and through every other bloody country until he gets back to England again. Is he nuts or what?
Anyway, after he told me this, it inspired me to go and get a mountain bike for myself which I duly did. It’s nothing of the calibre of Paul’s bike ‘cos his one cost five grand. Yeah, five thousand quid would you believe? Not for me mate, I’d want a bloody engine and four wheels on it for that! Nevertheless, I wish Paul nothing but the best of luck and my premature congratulations are extended to him because if he completes this marathon, I’m pretty sure that there ain’t many who have’!
In a few days I leave Hoi An which has almost become home to me and start my journey to the Nepal 1700 km to Chiang Mai – fly to Kathmandu trek to base camp and the Annapurna circuit. 

Back to Vietnam. Jan 20 2017.

Leaving this time felt a bit different I guess coming back after a long period away, spending Christmas at home. Seeing my girls again, family and friends made it harder. 
On the plane I started feeling ill. I’ve had a cough for 10 days which was now turning into a headache and cold with more coughing and flu like symptoms , sweating but freezing cold what a great start. I was in bed for 24hrs after arriving back in Hoi An. 

I’m staying with my friend Long now and plan to leave in March. 
After Christmas at home and lots of drinking, eating and generally gaining weight I was looking forward to getting healthy again. Little did I know that the Vietnamese celebrated the lunar new year quite so hard. TET as it is called here is basically 10 days of drinking and eating from end of Jan until beginning of February. Friends and family gatherings. As I have a lot of Vietnamese friends I got invites to many of these parties some stating at 10am. You were half drunk by midday and then off to another. I managed 4 (I think) one day. 

2017 is the year of the Rooster. 

You give small red envelopes to the children with ‘Lucky Money’ inside. 
Everyone buys a Kumquat tree. (Looks like a tangerine tree) this brings luck and the fruit represents fertility for the coming year. Good times. 

Hoi An old town flooded as it does most years in the wet season. Not helped by the fact that the hydro electric dams up stream end up opening the gates due to the amount of rain that over fills them. Wet season in Hoi An is Dec/Jan. Worth knowing. 
At the end of Jan to escape some parties and also as 99% of Vietnam closes down, Long and I decided to ride 500k to see some elephants.

January 29, 2017
67 miles from Hoi An to Khon Duc. 
Weather was great and the ride was steady. Ate Pho (noodle soup with beef) for breakfast, Stopped for lunch by a river. Nice easy start. 

30th January. 70 miles from Khon Duc to Ngoe Hoi. 6000ft of climbing. 
Tough day. This is the day I noticed I was carrying all our kit as Long had no fittings on his bike for any sort of rack or carrying device. Had Pho for breakfast and lunch. Saw a big landslide that very almost blocked the road. 
We were now way up in the central highlands of Vietnam and it was beautiful. 

31 January. 102 miles, 4500ft climbing from Ngoe Hoi to Cho Phu Non. 
Pho for breakfast and lunch!
The good weather was still with us and we were both a little burnt. Kind of ok for end of January. 
We later learnt that the day after we left it rained for all four days in Hoi An. 
Up here in the hills of this area its famous for growing coffee and pepper. Everywhere you looked there were both. Made for some good coffee stops. 

1 February. 77miles. 4200ft climbing from Cho Phu Non to Buon Ma Thuat. 
Sick of Pho now. Didn’t touch it again for at least a week. 
Arrived late so ate and slept. 

2nd Feb. 
Hired scooter to drive to see elephants. 
This is the only place in Vietnam you can see them. Not sure either of us were overly excited about seeing them, the ride could have just been to a coffee shop 500k away. Don’t need much of an excuse to go on a bike tour! 
Once we arrived we got a small boat which ran aground just before we reached the bank. Long and I jumped out and waded the rest of the way. 
It was good to see the elephants purely as we had ridden the distance for just that. 
We got the night bus back to Hoi An. 

Drove through the rain that we had heard about and rode the last 15k at 4am in the rain back. 

In a few weeks I am flying to Bangkok for some serious fishing with my brother. Looking forward to that. 

Hoi An. August – December 2016

Sorry to post this again. It was hacked so I removed it. No pictures this time. Just text.

Last blog seems like years ago.


I Flew back from Vientiane, the capital of Laos so I could house sit for two weeks starting from 1st August and and lead a charity cycle ride the first few days in September.
When I arrived I got visa on arrival for 15 days. (Basically you can just walk through customs get a stamp at the desk and you have 15 days).

To renew this I had a few options.

Leave Vietnam for a day and on re entry get a new 3 month one. Or, Pay $200 and travel 8 hours is a car to border and back or, pay $400 for a guy to do it all for me. I only had a few days left so chose the latter.

The guy took 10 days to get it sorted and I did wonder who I had given my passport to. It worked out thankfully and now I have a new 3 month visa. I go to Borneo jungle the day before it runs out so on return I should get a new one much cheaper. Less that $60.

You get a stamped piece of paper from travel agent for about $25, then on return you take it to the visa application area at airport. Pay another $25 and get a 3 month stamp in your passport.

I cycled to Da Nang 60k round trip to see the Dragon bridge breath fire. 9pm every Saturday.

Worth a trip if possible. Thousands of people block the roads. Starts prompt at 9 though and only lasts 10-15min so don’t be late.

I have still been taking the Kayak tours which are great fun although lots less as December approaches. Wet season.

I am staying in a very nice place and helping the charity ‘Cycle a difference’ and ‘New Borns Vietnam’ which raises lots of money for Vietnamese new Borns as many die that shouldn’t really need to.

I lead a group in the ride to raise money. 270 miles in three days. Raised $100,000.

Met some great people and had a great 3 days.

The last day of the ride The British ambassador, his wife and the Newzeland ambassador joined us. Had a great conversation with the NZ ambassador at lunch and some weeks later shared one of the British ambassadors cigars at a marathon running event in Sapa. (North Vietnam) a 5 hour bus ride north of Hanoi.
In preparation for the New Born charity ride the other week I rode 60 miles in 3 hours. Got 24th all-time fastest up the Hai Van pass (an iconic climb just a few km north of Da Nang. Very popular with tourists). The climb started 48miles into the ride and ascends 2600 feet so happy with that result. Wanted top 10, I think it’s doable if I can be arsed.

Update on Hai Van Pass – after the charity ride that also went over the Hai Van pass on the final day I have moved up to 16th.
A few weeks ago I was out riding and saw an old (guessing at 80 ish) guy sawing a great big hard wood log, sitting in the dirt with one of them old lumberjack saws two people use but on his own. I stopped, turned round, gave him my water, which he drank happily and sat on the other side of the log and sawed it with him. No language spoken between us. We (well I) cut through it in about 10mins. Bloody hard work and was pissing sweat. Recon he had been there 30 min at least to get through less than a quarter.

Looked like he was praying when I left after a hand shake and a whoop from me once we finally we got through it. Wish I had a picture of him. You wouldn’t believe he was sat there in the dust sawing that log. I hope I’ll see him again one day for another log to saw together.
A funny story.

I went to the shop today and asked for shaving foam in my best Vietnamese and she gave me a small spray. Ok i thought ill go with it, maybe it’s some posh oil based shaving solution. I got back sprayed it on face, tasted really bad but shaved anyway, met my friend Long and asked him what it was?

He said mosquito spray!!!

He laughed more than I did.

Returned to saw a log with the old man a month later. Much to my disappointment he had sawed all the log. He proudly showed a disappointed me a pile of neatly cut logs.

Turned out he was 90 years old!

Had coffee with him and his family. Still very little spoken but seemed to understand each other enough. He spoke fluent French as well as Vietnamese.

Flew to Sapa to watch a good friend run a 70k off road ultra marathon. I also wanted to check the terrain out for a 3 day MTB race I had entered that was using some of the same trails. I also used it as a training opportunity as I flew to Hanoi but cycled 750k back to Dong Ha In 7 days.

Sapa is amazing, beautiful. Cooler. Greener. The hills have been shaped by locals over thousands of years to create the paddy fields that encircle them.
Lost phone.

Big night out ended up with phone getting stolen. Lost Icloud account due to some nonsense with Apple but managed to resolve it after 3 months.

Lost a bit of interest in blog and stopped it. Pissed off I had lost all my pictures of trip etc.

In November I had an idea pop into my head. I was actually sat in the Borneo rain Forest at the time I thought to text a friend I had met very early on after crossing the border into Vietnam asking for an old number I had back then. She sent it to me and It was the number I needed to get my account back!

I entered a Mountain bike stage race. (Remember I mentioned the reason I was in Sapa).
Vietnam Mountain Bike Marathon. (VMBM). Stage 1.

Got 2nd today. First in 40 plus. 2 min down with a terrible start. Having it tomorrow. 70k. Think it will take 4 hours 30 min. Today was 40k. 2 hours. Riding was great. Bit slippery to start but dried out. Should be dusty tomorrow ????????

I have missed the mountain bike ????????
VMBM Stage 2.

70k, 5800ft of climbing. 3hours 50min at race pace. Very hard. Hot, bumpy and steep.

After a rough nights sleep for no particular reason stage 2 started an hour transfer away at Topas Lodge.

I thought it would start a little more steady than the 40k stage yesterday but no! Got dropped on the first climb. Felt ok riding hard in fourth.

Then the climb came. Well the ‘ACTUAL’ climb. 15k and once at the top it was up and down. When I say up and down I mean UP and a little down now and then.

I cracked after 2:30. I could keep riding ‘fast touring’ but no longer actually at race pace.

Everything was hurting. I didn’t even look forward to the last downhill as my back, neck, triceps and legs hurt. Dehydration set in. I crossed the line having almost killed a kid, chicken, piglet and snake and having almost been killed by a pig, water buffalo, moped and truck. I felt like I was going to faint. (Seriously no joke)! A tough day. Only dug that deep a few times. Today was one.

Lost the yellow for age group and slipped to 4th overall. As I said, today was a hurting day.
VMBM final stage 3.

A shorter course today. 26k

More technical than the other stages in parts. Slippery too.

The start was fast again but this time I was to blame. I felt good today. I led the first climb out and got a gap early with the overall leader. We battled with positions a while but eventually Fraser got away.

The course was great fun and the last climb was the steepest of the whole event. I closed a little on the leader early on the climb but lost the gain along the slightly less steep part of the climb at the top towards the finish line.

Got 2nd in stage and 1st in age group today, unfortunately didn’t make enough time up to move up in the over all standings but was happy to be able to press Fraser a bit today.

Over all after three stages: 2nd in age group. 4th overall.

Good racing, great people, beautiful scenery and very hard. Met some great people

Loved it !

Thanks to my Sponsors:




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Full results:

Result VMBM 2016

Next adventure is 2 weeks camping in the pristine triple canopy rain forest in Borneo !!


The forest clears your mind a bit I think. Well that and no beer helps you out. (Muslim religion).

Two weeks in jungle with no beer. Tough!

I did it last year and it’s one of the most amazing places on the planet. Extremely hostile to most but seems to be nice to me. Maybe I have been lucky so far.
After jungle I landed in Ho Chi Minh city. Caught ferry to Vung Tau, borrowed a bike, kit and raced a local event with my friend Matt who I had met at the race in Sapa. I won which was great after being off the bike for s while !
December 20.

Flew home to see family and friends.

Returned to Hoi An, Vietnam.

Now I am preparing to ride again. Through Vietnam , Laos, Thailand and Nepal.

At the moment in Vietnam it’s the lunar New Year, (Tet). People party every day for two weeks I went to 4 parties yesterday a couple the day before and there is one every day until the 26 January.

Not sure what day it is right now or if I’ll ever manage to get on the bike and leave.

Keep following to find out if I make it.

The Capital of Laos- Vientiane.

Last blog ! Hope you have enjoyed being part of the trip X. 

12 July. 60 miles. 

Left Vang Vieng and headed for the capital Vientiane. Very hot now as I’m at a much lower altitude. Humidity is also higher which hurts. Felt rough today. Hydrating is hard and I suffered a bit. The last section was a dirt road that was also being used by cars and lorries so when I arrived at the small village called Thalat where I stayed next to the river, I was covered in red dust. 


The bike getting some love. 

13 July. 55 miles.

It’s about 115 miles to the Vientiane. A little further than I thought. I had my Garmin set to use off road trails and it took me on a dirt road that followed the Mekong river for about 20 miles. Hot and dusty with not quite enough water with me. There was also a river crossing where you had to get a boat for 2000 kip (20p). When I got to Vientiane I stopped in a shop to get water and whilst walking round the store I almost fainted. Guess I needed food and water more than I had realised. As I say – it was a bit of a rough patch. Booked into a guest house for 14 quid a night. Not that cheap. 

The brewery where Tiger beer is made. 

The road to Vientiane along side the Mekong. 

14-28 July. 

Met the guys from Vang Vien again. Ben. Branch, Cecilia and Marlene. Anne and Ishara were there to but left the following day. A day or so later Branch and Marlene also left for south Laos. 

That’s the thing with travel, you meet people, build a relationship faster than you would normally and then part ways. You might bump into them weeks or months later but also you may never see them again. 

Vientiane’s Arch de Triomphe. 

My plan was to leave Vientiane after 4-5 days but a day or so before I left I realised I had over run my visa by a week. I had to go to the immigration police pay a fine ($10 for every day over) and renew it. This took 4 days. I decided to stay and just catch a flight to Hoi An so I could house sit the first few weeks in August and take part in a charity ride for Vietnamese new borns the beginning of September.  

While in Vientiane I visited Cope. More info on the bombing of Laos and how they help the people who have lost limbs etc. It was shut! We managed a sneaky look round before we got thrown out.

Ben, Cecilia and I also went out for dinner one night and ordered a bottle of wine. We thought it was £10 pounds but miss read a few zeros. It was Cecilia who noticed as we were half way through it that it was a £100 bottle of wine!. Didn’t taste that good to me either!


Cecilia left for Thailand then a few days later so did Ben.  

I met Graham again and joined a Run Hash. I actually ended up doing three and helping him set a Bike Hash route too. Had some great laughs on these. As I mention in a previous blog it’s running from bar to bar through the bush and drinking beer.

I also got my seized seat post out. Took me and 3 other guys about 45 minutes. This meant I could now pack the bike ready for flight. 

Managed to get to the Buddha park. Been promising I would since the first day I arrived. 

Been here way too long. looking forward to going back to Hoi An where my daughter Georgia met me a few months ago. Have met some great people here though so always sad to move on after a long stay.
29 July until who knows?  Hoi An. 

Good to get back here. Met my mate Long. Helping him out with kayaking tours. 

Went to a book reading class. People donate books for kids to read. 

Helped make a grass mat (kind of. Think I messed it up). 😉

Wood carvings are amazing. 

Ate sandworms.


And dog.


Love it here. 

Not sure when I’ll post again. The SE Asia trip is mostly done. Nepal next but don’t know when. X

Vang Vieng.

8-9-10-11 July. Vang Vieng. 
There are a few things to do in Vang Vieng the top thing seems to be the tubing. Floating down the river on a massive innertube there are bars along the river you can stop at. There used to be many more bars but people got too drunk and drowned.  Someone told me that 27 people drowned in one season!!! The government were forced to clamp down so there are only 2 bars now. Still a big party though.  

The next thing is the blue Lagoon. Looks great from the pictures but it was so full of tourists it put me off a bit. There is a cave there which was good because you just grabbed a torch and explored yourself. It went a long way in to. I must have walked an hour into it. 

The last thing seems to be drugs. – Marijuana pizza, mushroom shakes and more. I was tempted but never really got round to it. 

I met some nice people in Vang Vieng. Ben, Branch, great Scottish guy. 6’4″, liked a beer. His brother was a lot taller named tree :-)). Marlene (Netherlands I think). Anne, an Aussie girl was fun and won a tubing type musical chairs with at least thirty others which was cool as she was in our group and we got a free bucket of what tasted a little like fruit juice? Whilst tubing another girl I met called Cecilia, lost her passport and her favourite tee shirt (I didn’t know until after) Talking to her later she seemed more concerned by the tee shirt. :)). I think someone spiked her drink too as she passed out later after breaking her toe without knowing and slept with one eye open! She also told me she got arrested for smoking weed a week ago and got fined $600 that is seriously not all that lucky. A good person though and someone I enjoyed meeting. My fingers are crossed for her future adventures. X :-)). 

I liked Vang Vieng. Off to Vientiane the capital next. 

The snipers road to Vang Vieng.

4 July. 48miles. 

Set off from Luang Prabang and felt OK. Some great climbs along the way. Climbed 6500 feet by the end of the day. Seemed to be sweating more than usual though and knees ached on last climb, old knee injury started playing up too. As I got higher it started pouring down with rain. It turned into a wet day with all the sweat and the rain! Hands looked like I had been in a bath for hours. 

The road was quite, maybe due to the warnings about shootings and that travelers shouldn’t take this route?  

Made the guesthouse a bit cold and tired. Knees bothered me and it was on my mind that I needed to stretch and take care of them. 

Not much here. Very small village. Not somewhere to be stuck for a few days. 

5 July. Stranded. 

Left knee not great today. Right not perfect either. Guess it was too much time off again then a big day of climbing on heavy bike?  

In a mountain village and pouring with rain. Much cooler here 18 degrees. No wifi. 

Bit pissed off because apart from knee pain nothing stopping me. 

Going to try and catch bus to next village. (Phou khoun). 

Not too bad because I have ridden this section once on the way to Luang Prabang. Really wanted to ride the big climbs though. :-(. 

It’s the sensible thing to do though. I hate sensible things! 

Looking at statistics miles in June were low??. What with brake lever, knee and stopping too long in a few places teaching etc. Been a bit tired the last few weeks too?? Think I need to ride little and often to keep muscles used??

 Update as I write – No bus! Looks like I’ll be staying another night. Guess I’ll get to ride those hills tomorrow! Let’s hope the knee holds out and the sniper is:  1. sleeping or 2, a poor shot…. ;-).

6 July – 30miles. 
Rained all day today!

Great climbs although not as tough as I had remembered from riding the route the opposite way 5 or 6 days ago. Probably better for the knees, which were fine today. 

Great road but scary descending with the wet with lots of rocks and gravel together with the Tarmac that had melted in the sun and was now just like smooth, black, wet rubber. 

Felt good though and got a STRAVA KOM (I really don’t know how I managed that)?

Due to rain, general cycling freedom and more than average concentration on wet corners, I forgot about my old sniper mate until I saw two guys in Army kit carrying more semi automatics and two more a short way further down but I soon forgot him again. Just as that sunburnt asphalt appeared !

I dropped down into Phou khoun and booked into a guesthouse. 


7th July. 64miles. 

Left Phou Khoun and found that view point I was looking for the last time I was here (previous blog), Unfortunately weather was not the best so a poor picture. 

Descended lots today. Great riding and scenery. The mountains going south from Phou khoun get more dramatic. Much more pointy. 

I felt good today and knees held fine. Rode into Vang Vieng and met ‘Steve’ at the Aussie bar. Jack had let him know I would be arriving and he sorted me a room next door, a big one with three other beds in it. 

Night all. 

Bamboo bridge and motivation needed to leave for the biggest climbs so far. Probably!

29th June. 
I’ll just stay a few more nights….

Dave had left to get a visa and was heading to Vietnam. 

Jack and I went to see a Wat (Monks temple) and a bamboo bridge. Very local to hostel. Walked. 20,000 kip (£2) for temple. 5,000 kip (50p) for bridge. Both well worth doing due to being easy walking distance.

My shirt is soaked with sweat from humidity. 

Met a couple of girls that night telling me about the bamboo bridge, that it was a waste of time. I asked if they went to bar on the other side and they looked confused, they said there wasn’t one. After exchanging a few photos it was clear they had gone to the wrong bridge. It was funnier at the time. They also paid 7000 kip 70p for their crossing :-). There are a few of them actually and some are broken and have fallen into river, the one crossing the Nam Khan River very close to Phousi hill and temple is the one. :-). 
30th June. 

Easy day. Drove round the old quarter of town that has a Euro feel in parts due to French colonisation. Very nice. Had BBQ that you cooked yourself over a coal fire. Compliments to the chief ;-).

1-2 July. 

Cleaned bike. Fixed clicking in the crank bearings (hopefully). 

Wrote bloody blog. Ate. Chilled. 

Leaving tomorrow and running over some ground I have covered already. Great route along route 13 back towards Phou khoun, although there are a few government bodies including the UK that have issued a ‘no go’ warning due to a sniper in the area shooting at busses etc. Bit of a worry. At least the road will be quiet. 🙂

Hopefully I’ll update you soon. 

Waterfalls and Buddah’s.

27th June. 

Dave and Jack invited me to go with them on the back of the motor bikes to the Buddha cave about 30k up river. It was a long ride the last 6 miles were off-road. Good fun and so much easier power assisted !!!!!

We eventually got to small village where we caught a boat across the Mekong River to the cave. It was a good day out. The cave was ok. General trip and day out with the guys was better. 

The story goes that when Pol Pot’s was massacring people in Cambodia he was also cutting  the heads off the Buddha statues. Seen as an act of disrespect. The Monks from Cambodia spoke to the Monks in Laos and told them to hide all their Buddha statues just in case he moved north into Laos. So there are many caves all over Laos that have lots of hidden Buddhas. In this cave they apparently hid 15,000.  

We ate food that night on the market, one minute from the hostel. Eat all you like 15,000 Kip (1:50) vegetables only! To add meat was another 10,000 kip £1. 

Met the Spanish girl that I met a few nights ago with the French couple on the recumbent bikes. She was actually staying in the same place. 

She was trying to sell her moped as well as looking for a Mexican guy who had her laptop. She kept asking us if we had seen the Mexican!?  It was a bit like a Tarantino film where everyone started looking for the Mexican. She managed to sell her bike and we tracked down the Mexican, who generally slept all day and wasn’t aware it was turning into an issue.

28th June. 

Drove with Dave and Jack to Kasi Waterfalls. about a 30 minute drive. Great place, a must go. 20,000kip to enter, lots of tourists but if you go right to top they thin out a bit. 

Bears are there to see that have been rescued from hunters, or hunters caught them ?  Not sure. 🙂

The falls were well worth seeing.. You can also swim in them. I went right to top and stood looking over the edge. Long way down!  Half way up there is a no entry sign. It goes without saying that, – you go past the sign, through the fence under a fallen tree and then you get to a waterfall you can swim under.  It was powerful though and pushes you under although it had rained heavily the night before.  So careful. 

On the way back home Jacks bike broke down. We had to kick start the thing at least 20 times every 1k to get it going! It was a long 25k. Stopped for ice cream though :-). 

That’s it for now  🙂