Rider of the month – Michael D. Parsons



When did you first start cycling?

I first started cycling when I was six years old. My mother bought me a bike and taught me how to ride. On my first loop out and back, I ran her over as she stood in front of me shouting “Stop! STOP!!” ……….she had taught me how to pedal, but not how to brake.

In 1971, I went to college and the biking stopped. I didn’t begin again until 1994, but since then, I haven’t stopped. I have ridden in the US, France, Italy, Mexico, Thailand and the UAE. I still brake as little as possible.

What do you most enjoy about the sport?

It provides an incredible sense of lightness and freedom of movement as you glide across the roads taking in the scenery and seeing the countryside at a human level. It is an inclusive, democratic sport as anyone can ride a bicycle. Some ride faster, some ride better bicycles, but everyone can ride. You can also ride on the same roads as the professional riders. I will never play a set at Wimbledon, or play a match with friends at Old Trafford, but I can ride the course of the Tour de France!

On a typical week how many km/hours do you cycle?

During the summer, I build to a peak of 400 to 410 km per week. In the winter, I try to ride one hour a day, five days a week on the trainer.

You recently got back from your first tour with SpiceRoads tour – Bangkok to Phuket.  Was the tour what you expected?

This was my first tour with a cycle tour company, so I was not sure what to expect. I intentionally kept my expectations in check, because I did not want to create this fantasy that could never be matched regardless of the quality of the tour. In retrospect, this should not have been a concern because the tour was better than anything I could have imagined.

The overall experience was probably as close as I will ever come to knowing what it is like to ride for a World Tour team. The hotels, baggage transfers, meals, road support, and energy breaks were all taken care of by the SpiceRoads team. My bike was ready and waiting every morning with water bottles filled. All I had to do was ride and enjoy the vacation. It could not have been better.

What was the highlight?

It was a marvelous trip, so there was more than just one highlight. Let me limit myself to:

a.    Great roads and beautiful scenery

b.    Incredible, fresh and delicious Thai food

c.    The beauty of the temples and Thai architecture, and

d.    The camaraderie that developed between the riders, guides and support drivers.

Where do you want to cycle next?

In the winter, I will combine a visit to see younger my daughter in Hawaii with a cycling trip. In the summer, we will vacation with our older daughter and I will cycle in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. I want to return to Thailand for the SpiceRoads North Thailand by Road Bike tour in October 2016. It will be my first time in the North of Thailand. If anyone else is interested, then sign up now and we will have a guaranteed to departure tour.

Do you have any advice for someone who is about to embark on their first SpiceRoads tour?

Something will go wrong, or at least, something will not work as perfectly as planned regardless of how well the tour is planned. One day it rained and a section of the road was being resurfaced, so we rode on compacted dirt for some distance. We looked as if we had ridden Paris-Roubaix with our muddy bikes, legs, shoes and cycling kits. It was not what the SpiceRoads guides had planned but by dinner, it was a reason for laughter. When the less than perfect happens then be flexible, adaptive, and focus on having fun because that is the reason you came on the tour. You do not want to be the person who focuses on the one small negative in an ocean of positives, cannot let go of it, and ruins the tour for yourself and the entire group.



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