Rider of the Month – Ian Baker


Ian Baker

Ian Baker from Melbourne admits to being eighty years old, but if it’s a pretty girl asks he says, “I am thirty nine!”

Ian’s sporting background included years of distance running and orienteering as well as cross-country skiing (did you know there are enormous snowfields in Southeast Australia?)……but a replacement operation on his left hip forced a change of exercise habits and Ian took to cycling. “The pedaling action is much smoother than running and does not inflame the joints”, says Ian.

A dedicated fan of Southeast Asia, Ian says the budget to fly and holiday in Thailand works out cheaper than Australia, once you are off for eight days or more. He also gets bored if he is just sitting on a beach.

He started doing day trips in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, then in 2006 he did his first longer trip riding with SpiceRoads from Sukhothani, an early kingdom in the north central Thailand to Chiang Mai. It was the time of the magnificent Loy Kratong festival when Thai’s launch banana-leaf boats with candles onto the river and release fiery balloons into the sky. All to carry away sins and cares.

Since then he has joined SpiceRoads on Southern Laos by Bicycle tour, Cycling Coastal Thailand, Meandering the Mekong Delta and most recently Bangkok to Angkor Wat.

When asked what was his highlight he mentioned”, “Being pleasantly surprised how much fitter I get day-by-day”.

In Europe he has ridden in Hungary, Germany, Switzerland and in Austria. He particularly enjoyed the route along the Danube river from Passau to Vienna as it is wonderful scenic with interesting historic sights.

But what about preparation? Ian mentions this is very important. At home he will regularly ride upwards of one hundred kilometers a week in three or four outings, including a regular trip to Melbourne’s Docklands in a BUG (Bicycle User Group). In the lead-up to a cycling holiday he aims to ride 50 km a least twice a week plus a couple of shorter rides, “good preparation means you do not wind up tired and sore at the end of the day,” he says. He also mentions it is good idea to follow a training program which can be found on any good bike website.

What next? He is only recently back from Cambodia therefore he is just kicking around ideas….he is attracted to to the Thailand’s Golden Triangle for early 2016 and Cycling Guilin’s Karst Peaks as the countryside just looks spectacular!

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