Cycling has been gaining global popularity over the last few years and Bangkok is no exception. While the city is more famous for its teeming traffic and exotic temples, while a bit tricky at first, it’s truly a magnificent place to get out for a ride. On this episode, Scott and Trevor explore what the city has to offer
atop two wheels, things to keep in mind when heading out, and why you should consider making a bike ride part of your trip here. We’re joined by longtime expat and bike guru, Greg Jorgensen, who shares his experience plotting routes and riding on two wheels in the City of Angels.
The first time Trevor ever rode a bike in Bangkok was last year after he bought a bike to bring with him to Cambodia. He rides it occasionally in the city now because he has a bike that he doesn’t want to entirely waste. But because he rides with his girlfriend and doesn’t want her to die, they don’t do it often and stick to back roads around his neighborhood. Thai people are some of the worst drivers he’s ever seen: he thinks riding a bike in the city is crazy. It’s hot, it rains really hard out of the blue, the curbs are huge in order to deal with the floods, and Thai drivers have no respect whatsoever for pedestrians so he imagines it’s the same for bikes too.
Scott talks about how, when he moved here in 1999, there was one company offering bike tours – Co Van Kessel, and today there are more than half a dozen. Most explore small alleys, involve crossing at least one river, and it’s been great to see it grow.
Trevor talks a bit about the scene as he sees it, including how fixed gear bikes became really trendy a few years ago and you would see all sorts of hipsters bringing their bikes on and off the Skytrain (and actually the fact that you can bring your bike on the train is pretty cool, he concedes). Occasionally he will see bike clubs cruising around the city at night: and thats cool, because its actually is cooler, the traffic is a bit less hectic (on weeknights after the rush hour is gone) and with a swarm of them he imagines they are less likely to get run down. Otherwise, he’s pretty sure the bike scene here is mostly about people riding bikes to the market down the road.
Trevor and Scott then banter about how it doesn’t take much to get off main roads, explore an incredible number of back alleys, cross a canal or river, go to wetlands like Ban Krachao, and as Scott talks a bit more about the positive aspects of biking in Bangkok, Trevor generally concedes there are a lot of good points: they then introduce their guest: Greg Jorgensen.
When did you first start riding in Bangkok?
What kind of riding were you doing at the start and how has it evolved over the years?
How do you find your way around?
What can visitors expect to see and experience if they do some riding while in the city?
What are some things that people should keep in mind if cycling in Bangkok?
Should people rent a bike and head out on their own or do a tour?
What are some of the most memorable things you’ve seen/experienced while riding in the city?
To learn more about Scott & Trevor:
- Follow Scott on Twitter: @scottcoates73
- Trevor’s Blog
- Scott’s Blog
- Groovy Map Seoul
- National Geographic Cambodia
- National Geographic Thailand
- Follow Talk Travel Asia on Twitter
- Follow us on Facebook
- Follow us on Instagram
- Follow us on Vine
- Theme Music by Jamie Ruben
Our Sponsor: Bali Sharks is a conservation nursery offering an alternative to young sharks being killed for food. The eco-tour is ocean friendly for all ages & experience levels. Even non-swimmers can enjoy feeding & up close encounters! The tour visits the Turtle Conservation and Education Center as well as Shark Island, Bali’s original marine adventure that offers guest a safe & personal interaction with sharks. More info: www.balisharks.com