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by Steven Telck
I recently came back from my second tour of Thailand. My first was with TCHA or Thailand Cycling for Health Association in which I travelled from the west border of Thailand and Myanmar to the eastern border of Thailand and Laos. This was 500 miles in 7 days and the first three were tough through the mountains.
Recently I did about 640 miles in a tour of Thailand were we rode where we wanted and took public transportation, buses with our folded trikes in the bellies of said buses. We toured in the north western and northern most part of the country down to the bay of Thailand, then out to several islands and then back to my retirement home in Muak Lek which is about 100 miles north of Bangkok.
Nice part of touring in Thailand is less gear is needed, because accommodations are very cheap and if you are adventurous as you seem to be one can camp at most any Buddhist temple throughout the country. With over 32,000 active temples in Thailand that offers a wide range of places to stay. This last tour my friend opted for guest houses and hotels.
If you have a few moments you might like to look at the pictures on my blog
I plan to retire in Thailand full time in about 2 ½ years time when my wife retires from her job. My house has two spare bedrooms so if you feel you might like to tour Thailand in the future it could be arranged. For the last 5 years my trike has gone back and forth with me. As you can see I get very aggressive with getting my trike to Thailand to avoid oversize charges by the airlines. It is about 2 hours take down time and 3 to reassemble. Unfortunately I will not be riding in Thailand this year as my wife has asked that we go to Nepal to hike to Everest Base camp instead.
Here we are riding our ICE trikes in Thailand at night:
It is my dream to ride from the northern most point of Thailand where we started our trip this year to Phuket island. I would like to go to the Malaysian border of Thailand, but troubles with Muslim radicals in the southern part of the country makes that an unwise decision. This tour when I get to make it is 1,040 miles give or take.
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STEVEN’S OTHER WAY TO ENJOY LIFE:
(Yep, he is truly an iceman in more than one way.)
I was a trained green horn on the first trip up Gannett, my first real mountain which I later came to understand is second hardest of the 50 states high points. It was the only time I reached the summit out of 4 trips. Man on the left was top rope man and keep my sorry self out of the Bergschrund (or schrund), a crevasse that forms on the upper portion of a glacier where the moving section pulls away from the headwall. Also called a ‘shrund. When I fell on the way down on the snow slope. Notice Bpetnoi on the helmet. He is a lucky ducky as he has never fallen, been sruck by lightling, molested by bears or wild moose, drowned in wild mountains streams or gotten lost. I stick close to him when hiking or riding. Unfortunately he is not so lucky when it comes to buying lottery tickets.
Me getting back up on my feet on the slope above the schrund. Look closely and you can see the rope as tight as an over stretched rubber band. The guy on the left in the picture above was holding me. Notice also the lucky ducky. The top man hand to come down without a top rope. I had him on a bottom boot belay and the other two men also belaying. We had the understanding that if he slipped it would be best to rocket past us in the hope he would slide over the very thin snow bridge and we would burn off rope and stop him on the glacier below. As it turned out he was very sure of foot and needed nothing more than a tight rope while crossing the snow bridge. The next day the bridge fell into the crevasse.
Don just about to cross the snow bridge after coming down. I am holding the rope ready to catch him if he should slip or the bridge breaks. Crevasse doesn’t look like much, but we lowered a rock on a rope over 90 feet before it touched bottom. This is what we were crossing. Prep for crossing going up. Notice two read arrows. Man tried to cross too far to the right where the snow was to thin and his boot pushed through and you can see where his ice axe right in front of the hole also pushed through. Man posted after the trip that they had climbed the day before us and he had done what was in hindsight the dumbest thing in his life, he was not roped up as they did not know about the schrund and had not brought a rope. He could have ended up in the bottom of the crevasse with no way of getting him out. I imagine his shorts were brown all the way back to high camp. This is the same place where I had the unprepared jokers with me last trip so you can see why I was stressed. Getting a sick man down the slope and home a safely was my goal and challenge. Notice Don’s Tee shirt with “Disaster Relief” on it. At this point it was going to be another 3 hours before he kept me out of a disaster in the schrund by doing to good job on the top rope. Again I watched him like a hawk flying over a free range chicken farm as he came down.
Point where a man feel two years ago while again not roped up. Fell from 13,800 feet to 11,900 feet more or less. Never got my team up this high last trip because they were exhausted, sick and totally unprepared. Looking down the hill you can see the schrund and the steep slope above which we climbed.
Regarding automobile drivers and their driving urge, if you will pardon the pun, to get from point A to point B. The very use of the terms “Point A and point B” speaks volumes of the driving force most people in vehicles feel to get from a place they hardly had time to experience to the next place where they will have hardly any time to experience, because they are already thinking about how fast they can get to “Point C” and all the while not seeing much of anything in between.
The oddest part of this mental condition is we can travel so fast in a vehicle and yet we spend so little time in any given place we do stop to see, as we are anxious to return to our vehicles and fly to the new point, thinking we will not have enough time to see it. Vehicles have made us slaves to speed, which has seduced most into thinking they need to do and see everything in a short span of time of which most fail terribly in our angst to “drive”.
I once thought this an American affliction, but after years of travel in Asia I now understand this sort of mental illness is spreading worldwide. Only in the country side of Thailand were life moves slower can one experience some peace. The main roads are very busy and should be avoided. Riding down the road on a trike speaking with an old man or young boy who is leading a water buffalo along the road kind of slow has a great appeal for me. I guess I am just as consumed at times with getting somewhere in a fixed amount of time on my trike, but I do like to think my time schedule is more the cruise around the world and not the jet travel method of seeing it. Everything in life is relative and my pace as compared to say a turtle is frantic.
My sister-in-laws think me a bit off. They do not understand why I would be willing to ride in the heat, dirt and noise at such an unfathomable slow pace. My wife gets me a little better as she has embraced hiking in the mountains where the pace of life is usually a bit slower. Riding anywhere including Thailand requires frequent stops to fuel up, water our bodies and just rest as compared to travel in a vehicle. It is during these times I get to really experience life.
The slower travel upon a trike allows a rider to have the time to look about and see things not seen in a speeding vehicle. I stop and talk with other bikers if they are willing just to know where they have come from and where they plan to go. Life should be experienced, but a vehicle is a small high speed box so we often don’t have time to know each other as we speed down the road towards Point B.
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EVOLUTION OF A TRIKE PILOT:
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PEDAL PLATFORMS FOR YOUR FEET
Steven has been developing some special pedaling platforms for his trike, having had issues with his feet remaining comfortable while riding long distances. Here are a couple of advance photos of his creation. More will appear as available.
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SOME PHOTOS FROM 2014 GRAND TETON RIDE:
Photos of Steven’s homemade pedal platforms:
Leave a comment below if you wish to talk to him about these devices. Notice Steven’s aftermarket four-bolt mountain bike crankset, replacing the ICE 30-39-52 stock crankset. This has a small chainring of 22 teeth, and a large of 44 teeth, and has 175 mm crankarms for maximum awesome torque.
May 30, 2014: Installed TerraCycle dual water bottle cage mount as pictured below. This allows two water bottles to be carried instead of one.
The ICE Adventure is getting ready for the 2014 Recumbent Retreat in Oregon.
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