My Saturday mornings start on Friday nights – I fill up a water bottle, set out my cycling gloves and other bike clothing, & carefully put my ID, Passport card, and 100 baht ($3) into my jersey pocket. On weekdays I get up just before 5:00, but on Saturdays I sleep in until just before 6:00. I am out the door by 6:00, before the sun comes up but it is getting light.
It is a 5 K warm-up getting over to my riding area. On the way, I pass Thai people setting up their street food stands – the smell of grilled pork and corn on the cob always greets me as I turn the first corner away from the street I live on. The soi dogs are still up and around, and the light out is beautiful. There isn’t much traffic on my way to ride (on the way home I have to carry my bike across the walking bridge you see in the pic. above.) My destination is Nong Bon, a 4K bike track, no cars allowed.
My husband is the best – he has always made sure to get me on a bike. I have not always been responsible with my bikes. A nice mountain bike he gave me when we were still dating was stolen out of my car because I naively left it in there parked curbside overnight. And my incredibly awesome Orbea road bike he built me was stolen out of the garage because I did not put it back in it’s hanging spot inside the house. In between those bikes there were others, and he has always enjoyed building them and working on them for me. The nice Giant bike you will see me on every Saturday morning was not built by him because we’re still figuring out that kind of stuff here after moving 4 months ago, but he did what he always does – shop around for a good deal. I am so happy he loves doing this stuff for me!
So, after my 5 K warm-up, I arrive at Nong Bon and begin my laps. It is such a nice respite from the daily view of concrete and spending most of each work day inside. It is green here, there are trees, flowers, birds, monitor lizards (escaping every time I try to get a photo!), and best of all no cars allowed. There are cyclists of all speeds and bike styles here. Some out for a cruise, some flying past me, and some are the perfect speed for me to draft (tuck in close behind another rider) to save some energy. I only average about 24 km/hour right now, but I am trying to build speed. My longest ride here has been 45 km (9 laps).
After I finish at Nong Bon, I stop for a 35 baht ice cold coconut and some bananas just outside the park. I relish this time every Saturday, and am so thankful for the bike, the friends who first showed me how to get over there, and the fact that I am healthy and able to ride in the first place. Truly blessed!
Sometimes the 5K cool down ride on the way home becomes leisurely. I may stop in King’s Park and stretch, or people watch, or wait for the anthem. In Thailand every day at 8:00 am and 6:00 pm the anthem comes on tv/radio and Thais literally stop and stand respectfully and sing the anthem. I just love it. I love participating in it every morning at school, and I’ve been in the malls or restaurants when it’s played and life stops for a minute, everyone full of patriotism. The park is no different, people stop mid-workout as it is played over the loudspeakers. Below shows some of my interesting people-watching in King’s Park one day – hula hoopers. Also, you can see two of the elementary students raising the flag at my school, which is followed by the singing of the anthem every day at 7:35 when we start the school day – very patriotic folks in this country. A breath of fresh air given our current situation in the states.
When I get home from my ride, usually around 8:00 or so, sometimes everyone is still sleeping and I savor the quiet. First order of business is to make a pot of French press coffee. Other times kids are up and wanting pancakes or french toast; I usually need eggs after a ride. After my ride on Saturdays, the weekend can begin! What do you like to do on Saturday mornings after working all week? Leave a comment!