Perspective: Flying in Chiang Mai

Our group, composed of (left to right) a Canadian girl, our guide,  myself,
a Swedish girl and a South African couple on their honeymoon.

Today, on my last day in Chiang Mai, I did a 25KM off-road downhill bike. This is actually the second time I did this, the first one was 2 years ago on my first backpacking trip across South-East Asia. I took the time off from Bangkok to be able to do this for one more time.

This time around, I chose an easy ride but in the middle of the route, my guide asked me if I want to try a single track route. Not one to refuse a challenge, I agreed immediately. The original route itself was a challenge already, with downhill enabling me to achieve speed far faster than when I biked north to south of Puerto Princesa in Palawan on an empty paved highway. But the single track route was something else.

There was really only enough space for your bike, one mistake and you'll hit a tree on your right or a branch on left. And then, there are fallen branches and deep holes along the track. The first five minutes was great, but then as I was gaining speed, I saw a root protruding at about 4 to 6 meters away. It was about knee high and so I tried to hit the brakes - but I got the front brakes instead of the back, which made me fall.

My guide rushed to check on me. The first thing I asked my guide was "Is the bike OK?"

The bike was OK, it turned out. As for me, just a scrape on my right knee and a bit of pain on my left shoulder from the impact, but other than that, I was fine. I got my bike up, and continued with the journey down.

When we reached the lake which was our final destination, my guide again asked my if I was OK. I told him I am, and in fact, I was thankful for the fall. It made the ride more fun for me, actually.

Reflecting on the ride while waiting for our lunch to be served, I realized it wasn't just a simple fall. In fact, I didn't fall, for that sounds so negative.

I believe I actually flew!

Well, maybe I landed only a few meters from where I hit the root, but I'm sure I really did fly, with my bike following after me.

So there you go, I didn't fall - I flew! And that made the ride more enjoyable.

Enjoying lunch by the lake after a great ride.


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