Licme 2016 (lanna Independent Classic Motorbike Endeavour)

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by ianyonok, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. #1 ianyonok, Dec 6, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
    This year's LICME was to be more of a ride than a meeting, starting in Phrae. The '59 6T Thunderbird was all clean, serviced and ready to roll.

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    But I was late getting on the way, as I had returned home to tighten up the head bearings; the front end was getting a bit juddery on heavy braking. The bottom crown stem top nut is a 1/2" Whitworth nut, I didn't have that size in my toolkit and an adjustable won't go in under the nacelle.
    So, after returning home and tightening the bearings, decided on a run down highway 1, which is never much fun, but south of Chiang Rai, the traffic thins out quite a lot.
    Cruised into Phayao and had lunch by the Gwan.
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    The local speciality is salt barbecued fish and it was delicious.
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    Turning southeast at Ngao, I took the 1154 through the Mae Yom NP, rather than the busy 103. A scenic route, but being graded, so loose stones and dirt for many klms.
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    Rolled into Phrae to meet the other riders. Some old friends and some new, but all with a love of old bikes.
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    A lovely Tangerine Dream '58 Triumph T100.
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    The '56 BSA sidevalve M21
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    .....and another '58 Triumph T100.
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    The '54 6T Triumph Thunderbird
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    ... and the '57 Triumph T100
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    The T100s have the all alloy engine..
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    ... and the 6Ts have the all iron engine.
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    I went to the Biker Base bar in the evening and met loads of bikers there, many of whom were very interested my old Thunderbird.
    The first LICME issue appeared as we were due to ride off. The '57 T100 had wet sumped. BSA gear oil pumps always do this if a tap is not fitted on the oil tank feed line, but Triumph plunger oil pumps never do. However, it must have been some detritus in the oil holding one of the small balls off the seat, inside the pump. After starting the bike, the crankcase breather pipe dumped a load of oil on the pavement.... The rest was drained out and the tank refilled.
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    The '54 Thunderbird has original fibre glass Craven panniers fitted... very nice.
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    So, we headed north out of Phrae; 5 pre-unit Triumphs, the BSA M21 and a modern Triumph T100. Lunch stop in Nan. We went to Tony's Place first, but it was closed and had a new sign outside. I guess Tony's wife has sold the place. A shame, it was still a good place with good food, even after Tony died. So, it was a lunch stop at a petrol station instead.
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    Near Ta Wang Pha, we waited for some of the slower riders. Meanwhile Khun Berm changed the clutch cable on one of the T100s as the inner cable wires near the control lever nipple were starting to fray, in the usual place. They had spare cables with them, with the top nipple soldered on the cable and an emergency lock nipple used behind the trumpet nipple at the gearbox lever end. I noticed Berm's very handy hammer. The head unscrews so it can fit in the toolkit easily and the handle is hollow, containing a small chisel and centre punch. I will have to make one of those.....
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    The ongoing roadworks north of Phrae made the bike pretty grubby.
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    Khun Took's old M21 did really well this year. They are a difficult to start 600cc long stroke engine and this one is running a magneto. But once rolling, the bike did very well, cruising happily at 50mph.
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    We had taken the wonderful 1097 over the mountains from Chiang Klang to Song Kwae. But some city riders were not so used to those steep twisties so we took a while to regroup.
    It was getting late by this time, so rather than ride all the way on to Chiang Kham on the 1148, we decided to ride halfway and stop at the Sakoen NP and camp there for the night.
    .....But things didn't go quite to plan B either; Took's M21 got a rear flat tyre and Khun Kareem dropped his T100 on the resurfacing loose gravel and crashed into a car and concrete post. I was waiting in Sakoen and no phone signal and it was after dark!. Some more riders appeared and we headed a few klms further on, up the mountain to a new resort. This is next to the old Phu Langkha Resort and called Bahn Talay Mork (Sea of Fog). It has been built by the Yao village headman there.
    We got the M21 out of the truck and parked up, then the truck went back and picked up the broken T100. Luckily Kareem only suffered a bruised foot.
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    We grabbed some food and put the tents up in the dark, in front of the resort, next to the road.
    There were no suitably spaced trees, so I tied my hammock from the rear grab rail on Khun Chang's T100 and a small tree, with the bottom of the hammock resting on the ground. It meant crawling in at ground level but I slept pretty well on the inflatable mattress.
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    In the morning, at 06:00, the Sea of Fog was quite surreal looking. Being a holiday weekend there were hundreds of people there, come up north to see it. There were tents everywhere... and the selfie sticks were out in force.....
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    It was a chilly morning up there on the mountain.
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    Khun Ming got himself a Gik......
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    The M21, like most of the other bikes, is a QD rear wheel. Easy to pop out without disturbing the rear chain or rear brake. Nice soft old style Dunlop K70 tyres make punctures repairs a breeze.
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    I have the standard tyre pump on my Thunderbird, fits on brackets under the seat. All Brit bikes up until 1971 had a tyre pump fitted as standard. Took about 10 minutes to fully inflate, as it's only the same diameter as a bicycle tyre pump, but the M21 was soon ready to go again.
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    But the green T100 and Kareem, had to ride in the support truck. The rear brake lever was a bit bent and the footrest snapped. However, after we arrived in Chiang Saen, a bit of heat and a pair of mole grips pulled the pedal back into shape and the footrest was welded back together, then the bike was fully rideable again.
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    My 35 year old Lewis Leather jacket was a big hit. I paid 100 pounds for it in 1981. Could now sell it on ebay for about 800 pounds, then buy a new leather for 1000 pounds. But hey.. a new leather ain't the same, so I'll keep this old one, thank you....
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    NO, you can't have it, Kareem.....
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    We rode off at about 09:30 and regrouped at the end of the 1148.
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    I must remember to tel Khun Berm never to repaint his bike. It has that beautiful patina of age..... complete with slightly perished knee grips... just wonderful.
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    Normal running adjustments..... valve gap checks...
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    ... and rear chain adjustments...
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    The good old Lucas MO1 magdyno. Except the dynamo is disconnected on this bike.
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    Fantastic, this bike was running so well and made it all the way up from Bangkok.
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    Ahh.. Hepolite piston sticker. Unfortunately, the original British company of Hepworth and Grandage is long gone. But the Hepolite name lives on, except that it is owned by Emgo and the pistons are now made in Taiwan.
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    Khun Chang preferred Khun Ming's 1958 Triumph T100, to his own 2011 Triumph T100....!
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    After we got to Viang Yonok Hotel in Chiang Saen, a couple of BSA A65s showed up and Mr Rob on his wonderful 1947 Triumph 5T SpeedTwin. Tinagorn was busy rebuilding and cleaning the clutch on his '57 T100, which had been slipping a bit on the mountain roads.
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    After everyone got the tents set-up etc, we had the presentation of the "Golden Kickstart Award". This year it was given to Khun Tinagorn for general LICME enthusiasm and having joined the meeting every year with his Triumph T100 and earlier with his Velocette Viper.

    As 6 x pre-unit Triumphs and the M21 roared out of the hotel into town that evening, the sound was just fantastic. Music to my ears....!
    Khun Noo at Fah Mai had blocked off the parking area in front of his restaurant opposite the Khong river, so we could line up all the bikes outside and everyone had a great dinner as the food is always superb there.

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    In the morning, nearly all the guys headed off south, back down to Phrae and then on to Bangkok. I escorted them to Mae Chan on my '71 TR6 cafe racer.
    It really impresses me, that these guys will ride 60 year old bikes, 1000 klms, all the way from Bangkok for our LICME meetings.
    These are real bikers!
    "Ride Em, Don't Hide Em" as they say....
    We were missing a few guys this year; Joakim '40 BSA M20, Somchai '61 Triumph 6T Thunderbird and Orm '65 BSA A65 Thunderbolt. Lets hope they can make it next year, together with more new friends on old bikes.......
    It was just left for me and Rob to take a short ride over the mountains to the best coffee shop in the north. The road was bad (roadworks on the 1234), the roads are steep and twisty, the mountains are magnificent, the scenery is superb and the bikes and the cakes were just SWEET and PRETTY!!
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  2. I forgot to mention. Big Thanks to Joakim at Chivit Thammada Cafe, Chiang Rai, for making the T-shirts. Great design everyone loved. It's the 2nd page of the 1950 Triumph owners handbook.
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  3. Actually. I got that wrong...... the instruments moved out of the tank in 1948, so it would be the 1938-1947 manual.
     
  4. Sterling ride & effort.
    Glad you hooked up with the guys at Bike Base in Phrae - all top people there.

    I like this: "Ride Em, Don't Hide Em" as they say..."

    What's the score with the R1234 Mase Salong road works - just resurfacing like in many other places in the North at the moment?

    I too noted the R1097 road works the other day - I encountered the water cart going up & glad I wasnt going down.
     
  5. Well, lots of new resorts being built in Mae Salong, so lots of heavy trucks of sand and building materials going up there. The road surface is old and got damaged quickly. Important tourist destination so needs doing. Shame it's now in such a mess as we reach peak time....
     
  6. Was at Tony's place the other day. His wife is still there and pleasant and the food is still good. Didn't ask why the name change.
     
  7. Hua Hin,
    Thank you for the update and I'm glad to hear that. Tony's Place is always my first choice for food when in Nan. We must have been unlucky that day and she'd gone away. Always risky changing a business name, but now I now she is still there I'll be back sometime. Not just to support to her but because the food is good as well.
     
  8. That Phu Langkha viewpoint & resort on R1148 enables me to some post history I stumbled across a while back & have been waiting to ride & so I could post it up, but time is flying by.
    So...

    In the 60s-70s all this area was a communist sympathetic area & inhabited by hill tribes - the Yao & the Hmong - growing opium - what you had to do to survive & make some money, because the government wasn't that interested in the hill folks out there.
    A few anthropologists though were researching the villagers & trying to assist with agriculture.
    Some of them spent time with the villagers & got to know them reasonably well I guess.
    One of them was in Phu Langkha 1968-69.
    The Yao village of Phu Langkha had already been there for 50 years in 68-69, but in Feb 68 the Thai military government decided it was time to have a clean out & rid the area of the opium growers & their crops.

    The village of Phu Langkha was bombed & everyone was evacuated. The army then came in &

    "set fire to dwellings and ransacked outhouses (stables, granaries, pig pens etc) while other units manually planted mines in the vicinity of those constructions and in all swiddens at or above the minimum altitude (1000 metres) required by the poppy crop. Any likelihood of even a temporary return by the Yao fugitives appeared to have been totally eliminated. Poppy growing in the area had been permanently terminated by denying the crop the human labour essential for its cultivation."

    Phu Langkka is nearby Doi Phachi Wildlife Sanctuary.

    After the CPT surrendered, many were evicted, throughout the 1980s possibly, and at least as late as 1990 (by essentially the same outfits as had invited them earlier).
    Near Phulangka, the Phachangnoi Wildlife Sanctuary was established to take land away from possible CPT use. There was no large scale logging, but the WS Director had a road built into the forest for the benefit of his “friends” for at least selective cutting of choice trees(there was also sporadic hunting by WS staff). Local farmers state that the forest was in much better shape prior to the WS being established. I find it plausible that napalm accounts for the lack of regrowth in that area of Phayao (formerly part of Ch.Rai), but don’t know how one would find out.

    Source: New Mandala
    Another comment in the dialogue suggests that napalm was also dropped to clear the crops.
    School teachers that I once spoke at Ban Luang on R1091, just a couple of years ago, said that Doi Phachi was still a mined area.
    It's a very interesting area for riding: R1148 & R1091 (plus quite a few more in Nan on the Lao border.)

    In 1976
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  9. Incredible History in this Area and not that Long ago really!
     
  10. Very interesting, Thank you David.
     

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