Tell us about your earliest experiences as a cyclist
My earliest experience that I remember is when I was either 8 or 9 years old learning to ride. I received a bike for Christmas, and went outside by myself to master riding it. I fell off so many times and went nowhere, and gave up. I went back to try again the next day and after preserving, finally could ride. I practiced for about 15 mins more, and then went proudly to my parents and told them to come outside to watch what I could do.
My first road bike experience, which started me cycling in earnest, was with a friend from work, who convinced me that cycling was great and we could go cycling every weekend together. He helped me buy my bike and said that we would start with a 65km ride on Sunday. I remember him pushing me along with one arm for the last 15 km.
My first long cycle tour was from Bangkok to Saigon via Cambodia. Excellent trip and that’s what got me started doing regular cycling tours.
Tell us what you most enjoy about cycle touring and why you like to see the world by bicycle?
I enjoy, which a lot of people will also say, the ability to see different and diverse parts of a country from up close. On a bus trip, it is organised where to stop and you see most of the landscape through a window travelling at 60-100 kmph. Trekking you spend time walking slowly and then transferring by bus or car. Cycling you have a good pace that allows you to take in the country, stop for photos and interact with the locals, if you wish. You are with a group of people that are into active activities as you, and from various walks of life.
How many cycle tours have you been on with SpiceRoads and which has been your favourite?
I have been on about 5-6 tours with SpiceRoads. In retrospect, I have enjoyed all, though the Chang Mai to Bangkok was very tough for me, hence why I decided to downscale the distances. My recent two (last month) were very different in terms of the cycling terrain, landscapes and experiences. The guides and support crew also have a big impact. I look back with fond memories to the guides with whom I have especially had built a good rapport.
Where would you like to cycle next?
My passion is still within South East Asia, and would like to see Myanmar before it becomes too commercialized. I still like Thailand ideally would lie to do a coast and island trip.
Do you have any special diet and/or training before going on a long ride?
I regularly do cardio and weight training and have done for the last 30 years. Hence my level of fitness remains quite high. For specific cycling tours, I ensure that I cycle in the gym at least 1 month beforehand so I know I will be able to cycle the daily distance of the tour. As I book my tours during the Luxembourg winter, it means it means that I have not cycled for at least 5 months, I do not not cycle outdoors, if the temperature is under 10 degrees, and if under 15 only seldom. Coming from Australia, the cold and cycling is not a good combination for me, hence why SpiceRoad SE Asia tours are ideal.
I do not go on any special diet before a trip. But in the last 6 months I paid attention in reducing carbohydrates and alcohol in order to reduce by body fat percentage.
In your opinion, what is the benefit of travelling by bicycle?
Cycling allows you to have a physical holiday, and this can be suited to each person, and also allows you to see different part of the country each or couple of days. Package holidays normally mean staying in the same place and having to book bus tours to see the local sights.
The Spice Roads tours, I find especially good, as the key aspects are catered. I.e.: Food, Accommodation, Transfers, the guide’s Local Knowledge of the area, local customs and what food to eat and what to try. I have been on tours with other operators where the accommodation has been far inferior, and where food/water along the way has to be bought by each person route. The support van is always reassuring when for one reason or another, (which I experienced on my last trip) cycling is not a good idea for a part of the trip.
With Guide Natt