On Off-Road in Pai

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by Sukie, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. Sukie

    Sukie Active Member

    Trip Report: On & Off-Road in Pai with the Brokenass MC
    Post: September 4, 2008

    “From Sport to Dirt Bike"
    Bikers: On Road / Off Road Fell off his bike
    Ajarn Dang TSuzuki K1 / Honda XR250 7 times
    Knot TSuzuki K5 / Honda XR250 2 times
    Sukie Ducati 1098 / Honda XR250 2 times
    Jod Honda X41300 didn’t go off-road
    David Unkovich Honda African Twin didn’t go off-road
    Richi Suzuki DR-Z400 none
    Kai Honda XR250 none
    Tia Honda XR250 1 times
    Pan Honda XR250 5 times
    Kaz Honda XR250 1 time (because Sukie hit from behind)
    Date
    August 21-24 2008
    On-Road Route
    Bangkok-Tak-Chiangmai-Tak-Bangkok
    Off-Road Route
    Chiangmai-Samoeng- back road 5032-Wat Chan-Pai-Pa Pae-back road 6033-Samoeng-Chiangmai
    Total Distant
    Around 1900 km

    Story / Trip
    Jod, Knot, Ajarn Dang and I have planned to go up to Chiangmai for a while now. When Richi found out, he volunteered to organize an off-road trip for us. Tia found out and decided to tag along, bringing another friend Pan. On the plane flying up from BKK Tia met Kaz from Japan. Kaz had only a backpack and a motorcycle helmet with him and right away Tia invited him to join us. Richi bought along Kai to help as a sweeper. David met up with us in Pai. Overall, there were 10 of us on and off. I haven’t ridden off-road since filming Dreamchaser and was looking forward to this trip.

    DAY 1
    Jod, Ajarn Dang, Knot and I met at the usual PTT station on Viphavadee for our 700 km journey up north. As usual we were excited and didn’t sleep much the night before. For the first time I was leaving Tiger (Triumph) behind and bringing Jessica (Ducati 1098) instead; it would be my first long trip on her.

    From BKK to Tak it’s a boring ride on the straight HW 1. However, it was a chance for me to play around with Jessica and I had a lot of fun doing so. Anyone familiar with a Ducati would tell you to truly appreciate what the Duc is capable of doing you have to ride it fast. The faster you go, the smoother she reacts – kind of interesting, physics I guess!

    After passing Tak at Thoen we turned left on to route 106, better known as “The Li Route,” which brings you out at Lamphun, 21 km away from Chiang Mai. The Li route was a fun ride with a lot of curves to play with; however, it started to rain and we had to slow down to be on the safe side. We arrived in Chiang Mai around 5:00 pm.

    That night Richi joined us for dinner. Afterward we all went to Warm Up, a biker bar in Chiang Mai. At about 10:00 pm Tia, Pan & Kaz arrived from BKK to joined us. We all had an early night since a long day awaited us ahead.

    DAY 2
    We got up around 9:00 am and headed for Richi’s shop, Richo Motor sports, to pick up the Honda XRs for our off-road journey to Pai. Jod had an emergency and had to head back to BKK – I was disappointed because I was really looking forward to see Jod on an enduro bike with his Yellow Corn outfit!

    Richi’s shop was only 5 minutes away and we all decided not to wear our helmets for the ride over. I always wear a helmet and the one time I didn’t I got stopped by the cops and had to pay a fee of 200 baht! Once paying the fees and taking some pictures with the cops we arrived at Richi’s shop, parked our sport bikes in his garage, and took off on the Honda XRs heading for Pai. After grabbing some gas, it took only 15 minutes to get to the first off-road section between Chiang Mai and Samoeng. The first 10 minutes was quite easy but once we started climbing the hills things got a bit tricky – the dirt road became a jungle trail and some of the guys started to struggle a bit. Pretty soon all the guys began to realize off-roading was a lot tougher than riding on tarmac. 1,000 km /day on tarmac for me is easy, but trying to cover 200 km on difficult off-road terrain was tough as hell. There was a section coming down hill where everyone fell except for Richi and Kai (Kaz fell only because I hit him from behind) – it was a humbling experience for all of us. About 45 minutes later we were all tired but having fun – everyone laughing at each other for falling off.

    We arrived in Samoeng around noon and took a break for lunch. After lunch we filled up the bikes again - the rest of the way being all off-road with no gas station in between. Everyone bought some water and we continued on our journey for Pai. By now each person was getting more used to riding off-road, gaining confident, and starting to ride faster. We started climbing up the mountains and pretty soon the weather started to get cold, a blessing given this time of the year. Our group of riders also started to break up a bit - the faster guys up front and the slower guys in the back. However, about an hour into the ride the trails got very slippery along with a lot of ditched and holes on the tracks. The more careful guys decided to slow down while the fearless or stupid (I’m not sure which!) were determined to continue going fast – I knew that eventually someone was bound to have an accident!.

    Not long after, coming down a dirt trail, I saw Ajarn Dang and Knot parked on the side ahead of us - with the look on their faces I new something was wrong. Knot told us he was riding down the path, hit a ditch that was deeper than he expected, causing the bike to abruptly stop and throwing him over the handle bar. Now Knot’s a pretty big guy! – It had to be a fairly hard hit to throw him over the bike like that. NOW GET THIS, Knot continued to tell us, as he was flying in the air he decided to turn and land on his shoulder because he didn’t want to scratch his pretty helmet. SHIT! That’s what helmets are for, to protect you!#@$^%

    Knot, “ I don’t know what the hell he’s thinking,” judgment resulted in him breaking his collarbone but not scratching his precious helmet! When he took his shirt off, his collarbone was literally pointing up in the air – freaky and scary looking as hell. Yet, he was determined to continue riding to Pai and told us it didn’t hurt that bad. His bike’s clutch broke due to the mishap and Ajarn Dang volunteered to ride the broken bike - so the two switch bikes. Ajarn fell 7 times (as stated at the beginning) not because he’s a sucky rider but because he was riding a bike with no clutch! Twice, I saw him fell for no reason and couldn’t understand what was going on – he reminded me later he had no clutch! Oh!

    At around 4:00 pm we popped out the other side and was back on tarmac on the Wat Chan road - from there it’s an easy ride into Pai. The road and view were absolutely stunning and it was a nice way to end the day’s ride. Upon arriving in Pai, Richi took Knot to the local hospital while the rest of us headed for our guesthouse, Sipsongpanna.

    The last few times I’ve been to Pai I hated it. It has been so over developed throughout the years causing the old charms to disappear. However, this was the first time I came during the low season (wet season) and it felt like the old Pai I knew from before – quiet, beautiful and charming – the way I like it.

    After all day of riding we were tired by nightfall so A) I borrowed the guesthouse truck – B) volunteered to be the driver – C) had everyone jumped into the “kra-ba” – and D) we headed into town for a bite to eat.

    David, of GT-Rider, was also in Pai and joined us for dinner. After dinner we went around bar hopping – two of the guys were hitting on the same girl – “ Thailand, Thailand, Thailand.” (Inside joke!) We ended the night at the famous Bebop bar – the place wasn’t happening at all but everyone admitted the drummer in the house band was extremely animated and fun to look at – he made our night!

    DAY 3
    The following morning a friend of Richi drove a truck to Pai to pick up Knot and his bike - both the person & bike were unable to continue on the trip after yesterday misfortune. We all had a quick breakfast and started our journey back to Chiangmai - with David joining us on the on-road section.

    That morning I also found out my son, Dino, had a serious accident playing Rugby - he popped his ankle and had broken his right leg. During our morning ride my mind wasn’t focus on the riding but on my son, I knew he was ok but felt bad I couldn’t be by his side. I told him I would get back to BKK ASAP the following day.

    We started the journey on main HW 1095, stopped for some ice-cream midway (only in Thailand do you find an ice-cream cart in the middle of nowhere) and then turned on to back road 6033 at Pa Pae for some more off-road. This was a route that our leader, Richi, had never been on; however, we had David’s trusted GT-Rider Map on us and were certain we won’t get lost. By now it was evident that all riders were a lot more confident off-roading and we were able to move at a much faster pace than the day before. About 2 hours later and after a few wrong turns we came out on HW 1096 at Samoeng, from there it was tarmac all the way into Chiangmai.

    We arrived back at Richi’s shop around 4:30 pm. The neighborhood was having its regular Sunday Walking Street and so we all got something to eat. We sat on the floor eating our noodles and watched Thailand win Gold and Silver at the Olympics before returning the Honda XRs and heading back to our guesthouse.

    I had post on our forum (Dreamchaserthai) earlier we would be in Chiangmai at Warm Up that night, so later we headed over there to meet some of the members who were expecting us. Didn’t stay out too late though and called it the night.

    DAY 4
    The night before I told everyone I was going to be riding very fast, with no rest stop and preferred to ride solo so I can get back to my son ASAP. David, Richi and Kai stayed in Chiangmai: Tia, Pan, Knot and Kaz flew back to BKK: and crazy old man, Ajarn Dang, road the entire Mae Hong Son loop down to Mae Sot, his hometown.

    I left Chiangmai at 8:30 am and arrived in BKK around 1:30 pm. The cops had the radar on me around Nakon Sawan and for the second time I was given a ticket in less than 3 days! I have been riding for 3 years (after a long break) and never once have I gotten a ticket and now 2 in 3 days – faith I guess!

    Getting back to Jessica - she’s an extremely comfortable bike given the fact she’s a sportbike. I was able to ride her straight for 5 hours with no rest stop (only for gas) and the only part of me aching by the end of the ride was the back of my neck. After my good experience with her on this trip, I will be taking Jessica out more on future long journeys – just need to figure out the luggage thing and the gas thing! It cost me 6,000 baht on fuel alone going up and down Chiangmai on Jessica. I also don’t want Tiger to “Noi Jai!@#$”

    I got back to my condo, took a quick jump in the pool, and headed over to see my son. After talking to Dino for less than a hour, I fell asleep on his couch for about 3 hours - I guess the 5 hours / 700 km of straight riding did take a toll on me! Nonetheless, it was a lot easier than off-roading through the wilderness in Chiangmai.

    Conclusion
    So after 18 spills, 1 broken bone, 1 broken bike and a rugby mishap, we were all safe and sound back in BKK. Whether its touring, sportbiking or off-roading – I dare speak for everyone that we enjoyed it all. One is not better than the other, just different! It goes back to what I had written earlier in a trip Report, What is the meaning of a Biker? There is no One meaning but many! I guess for this trip our meaning of a Biker is a rider that enjoys every style of riding. Then again, who cares? Just have fun man!@#$

    One observation. Over the years I had come across a lot of bikers who are overly concern about their image and ego. On this trip most of us had very little idea what the hell we were doing. We were falling off, laughing at ourselves and admitting we were not experience off-roaders. Putting our egos aside, we were able to learn something new and having fun along the way.

    By the 2nd day, entering tight corners, we were all leaning-out with our opposite leg pointing outward.
    (Except for Ajarn Dang - too old to change old habits! However, funny as hell seeing his ass-off and knee-down on a XR)

    Enduro riders would know what I’m talking about!

    Lastly, this would be Knot last trip since he ’s heading back to Canada to complete his studies. I wish him the best and I’m sure his collarbone would heal by the time he’s back in Thailand next year - Then we shall ride again my young Padawan.

    Meanwhile:

    “Have fun riding in the snow in Canada Hardass / Brokenass Knot ”

    “Live to Ride / Ride to Live”

    Best and Ride Safe,
    Sukie.

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  3. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Great right-up Sukie. Glad to see you sipping from the many glasses of motorbiking.

    The key to a good time I feel. Not taking oneself too seriously.
     

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