You see more bicycles on the road each day, pedal biking is becoming very popular indeed. A great way to avoid the traffic, a healthy way to exercise and on top of that you see so much more compared to being in a car. Several companies are offering guided bike tours in and around Hua Hin. We spoke with Christopher Byrd, who started Tour de Asia, one of the original companies that offer guided bike tours.
Chris came to Thailand in 2002 and after working for a few years in several jobs in Bangkok, he started Tour de Asia. In November 2003 he completed a charity solo ride from Hat Yai to Chiang Mai, covering 3.200 km in 23 days plus 5 rest days! For this ride he collected $US?10,000 which was donated to a Thai charity. Following that trip, more charity rides were organised and 6 years back Chris was contacted by the charity organisation “Hands across the Water”.
They asked him to organise charity rides through Thailand with distances of between 500 and 800 km over 5 to 8 days for up to 65 riders. Growing in popularity, the next tour is planned for January 2015 with 130 riders; the route will be from Petchaburi to Kao Lak covering 800 km over 8 days. During the same period, there is also a 5 day tour from Beung Khan to Yasothan of 500 km, 40 riders have signed up this one. Hua Hin Bike Tours is offering all-inclusive quality bicycle tours every day of the week and they can customise each tour to better suit the customer’s needs and expectations. For most tours the riders will be collected from their accommodation between 7:30 and 8:00am, returning around 3:00pm.
The guided tours include, lunch, water / soft drinks / fruit, entrance fees (when applicable), return to your accommodation, the use of modern Marin hybrid bicycles and helmets. Each tour is escorted by a support vehicle, just in case you get a flat tyre or need first aid. The company offers tours for a minimum of 2 people to a maximum of 8, to keep it very personal. The bicycles come from Marin in California (USA), a well-known brand of quality bikes. The bicycles are replaced every 1.5 years, providing the customers with great equipment that is new or almost new.
The tours have been graded as follows;
Easy: suitable for anyone who can ride a bike and can manage a bit of exercise. No routes are 100% flat, so there might be the odd climb and descent, but on the whole – easy!
Moderate: Suitable for reasonably fit people who are confident riding long distances. Active: Longer cycling mainly on tarmac, with potentially some jeep trails or broken tarmac, but no real off road. There may be some hills and descents but not too many.
Testing: Long cycling days and tougher terrain (for both on- and off-road trips), requiring specific experience in more demanding and technical cycling. Below is a selection of some of the tours on offer;
1. Gears, Grapes and Vineyards – 1 day tour
THB 2.750 all-inclusive per person, 30 km ride, 3 – 4 hours riding time. Grade: active. Pick Up between 7.30 to 8.00 am and return around 3.00 pm. The tour starts at Huay Monkhol Temple; from there it goes through “traffic free” country roads with many stops along the way, lunch is served at the beautiful and famous vineyards of Hua Hin.
2. Dolphin Bay and Khao Kalok – 1 day tour
THB 2.750 all-inclusive per person, 22 to 29 km ride, 3 – 4 hours riding time. Grade: easy. Pick Up between 7.30 to 8.00 am and return around 3.00 pm. A must for those that want to enjoy secluded beach fronts. The tour starts at the south end of Dolphin Bay riding along the beach for about an hour, going through some fishing villages with plenty of stops for pictures, water, fresh coconuts etc. Then on to Khao Kalok and from there to the Pranburi beach with a lunch provided at a Thai seafood restaurant. The last leg of the tour is to Pak Nam Pran.
3. Morning Hell Ride – ½ day tour
THB 1.500 all-inclusive per person, 30 km ride, 3 hours riding time. Grade: testing. Pick Up between 6.00 to 6.30 am and return around 10.00 am. This ride is for experienced riders that really want a good workout while getting a familiarisation tour of Hua Hin. If you have been stuffing yourself with breakfast buffets and lying around the beach and hotel pool every day you may want to get a good workout in before heading back home to your normal routine.
Locals may want to check it out too for more ideas of where to ride or just to have another rider motivate them to push the pedals a little harder once in a while. You will be taken through the back streets of Hua Hin to avoid the traffic as best we can and show you all the intricate nooks and crannies of Hua Hin. We will do some off road riding along the train tracks and through some of the neighborhoods you would normally not see. The reason we call it the “Hell Ride” is because you will need to climb some short but extremely vertical mountains that will make your heart feel like it wants to jump out of your chest. We should have you back to your hotel in time to catch the breakfast buffet before they close it down.
There are several more great rides to choose from, please visit www.huahinbiketours.com for more information on this. The office and shop is located on the Petchakasem Road, next to B-Quick, with everything for sale that you need for biking as well as a large selection of nearly new bikes at great prices. No matter how fit you are, there is a suitable guided bike tour for everyone. Exploring on a bicycle is a great and healthy way to learn so much more about this part of Thailand in a very enjoyable and safe way. These guided tours show you what is worth seeing and they take good care of you and your bike during your trip.