Travel allows us to visit amazing places, learn about other countries, cultures, and enriching us with new experiences, we are free to do our own adventures. If, moreover, you choose to travel with your bike, the distances stop being a problem; you can ask our friend Luís, who is a lover of Asia, he decided to start a trip by fixed-gear bike during 4 months in Southeast Asia and India. Not bad, right?
What leads you to make this trip?
The main inspiration for this trip came when I was just traveling in Asia. One day in Thailand I met by pure chance Jonas, a German guy from Rad Race team who was travelling with his fixed-gear bike. We just travelling together three weeks by Cambodia and Viet Nam where a group of locals lent me a fixed-gear bike and I could ride for the first time in Asia. And it was amazing.
Why fixed-gear bike?
From this moment a simple, but at the same time extraordinary idea began to take shape in my head. With a fixed-gear, whose maintenance is very simple, I could join easily my two passions: traveling long periods and cycling. Just back from Asia I began to plan the next trip I was clear about it would be on two wheels and a single gear.
What are the goals of the trip?
The goals of the trip are to connect with the local communities, discover the traditions of these ancestral lands and explore extraordinary places in the best possible way, by bike. I have met many people on previous trips to Asia but the connection that comes with the culture of the bike is special and instant. It’s like talking a common language. There have been kids who stopped me while I was riding on the street and invited me to ride with their groups and show me the best places in their city. They have opened their home to me and offered me everything I needed. It has been awesome.
Why did you choose Asia? Did you choose these countries for any particular reason?
I chose Asia because it is a continent that I know quite well and I am passionate. I have already traveled all the countries chosen before and at the time I felt that it would be great to visit them by bike. I have local friends in places like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, the weather is certainly favorable for riding, the food is exquisite and cheap and the nature is exuberant and inspiring, what more can you ask for?
Besides all this, I chose India because it seems to me the greatest of challenges. Certainly I do not know of anyone who has traveled in fixed-gear bike by this country.
Is this your first bike adventure?
Being four months I can say that this is my first long bike trip, but in a way everything I’ve done so far has led me in a natural way to that: I’ve been traveling for three long years in Asia, two years training seriously on bike and the last year I got into the world of fixed gear. Everything has come in a natural way and now that I have been traveling for two months I feel that I have found my perfect habitat.
Duration of the trip, distance, attendance, companions…?
The total duration has been one month and a half in Southeast Asia and two and a half months in India.
In Southeast Asia I traveled about 2.800 kilometers, but I just explored cities and islands. I moved from place to place by different types of transport, establishing in each site a base from which to make bike routes of maximum 3 days. In the cities, especially Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, I always found the hospitality of local fixed crew kids who showed me their favorite places, customs and culture.
In India the story was different. There is no established bike culture at all, much less fixed gear. There I was alone on the road, carrying with me my entire light luggage along stages ranging from 125 to 265 km. Due to the harsh conditions of the Indian roads; the maximum number of stages I reached consecutive times never exceeded 2 or 3 days. Normally after a long and demanding stage I was forced to rest for a couple of days taking advantage to explore the surroundings. At this rate I managed to travel a total distance of 5.000 kilometers.
As for the assistance I counted on travel insurance and took with me all the spare parts and tools necessary for the maintenance of a fixed-gear, from tube to spokes or chain links, lubricant, pump, wrench, etc.