So here I was. In front of the government office in Phrae, Thailand-amongst all cyclists who gathered here to participate on the nationwide event called “Bike for MOM”.
But let me start at the beginning.
I had heard that this event would take place on Sunday 16th of August 2015 from a friend of mine and I thought it would be a good idea to participate. All I knew was, that it would be a distance of about 30 km and that with registration you would get a free shirt. And of course, that it was held to honour of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 83rd birthday, only later did I learn that the whole event was launched by the Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn himself who together with his daughter Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha led the cyclist in Bangkok.
Information about the registration was hard to come by, everyone had a different piece of information, and after I heard that you could participate anyways I skipped it and bought myself a light blue “Bike for MOM” shirt which was easily available in many stores in and around Phrae.
I was offered to get a professional bike from a friend of mine, but opted against it, I thought it was better to use a bike I already knew. So we had to get my bike proper and shiny before I could use it.
And then the day finally arrived. At 2:00 p.m. I arrived at the gathering place and someone gave me a “barcode”. No idea what for, but I took it. As always in such a small city, I met lots of friends from school work or from different clubs. And we wouldn’t be in Thailand if I didn’t have to take several photos with all of them. Even strangers came to take photos with me, as I was apparently the only foreigner in Phrae participating. Pictures where taken with drones passing over our heads and powered parachutes were flying above us too.
The atmosphere was stunning thousands of people with their light blue shirts gathered together to affirm their respect, love and loyalty to their Queen- and I was amongst them.
The waiting in the heat had finally an end and at 3:30 p.m we started. It was rather difficult as we could only cycle very slowly. Estimated 5000 people participated only in Phrae. As we came to the highway which we had to cross on the way to our first stop in Cho Hae, it was getting better and by the time we were on the road to Cho Hae we had a 4 lane road and it was a little more comfy. On this road was also a “checkpoint” where we had to drop our barcoded papers. In front of Cho Hae temple was an official stop, with water and cold napkins provided. As most people coming from the city had arrived, 2 lanes were opened and we could start cycling part of the way back we had come from. Then along the highway again- of course closed for regular traffic- up to the police station in Sung men district, where we took a U-turn and cycled towards the city centre again.
It was amazing how we all were cheered by spectators also wearing the light blue shirts with the “Bike for MOM” print. As I was the only Foreigner there the people were showing special interest in me, waved and many policemen on the way gave me a thumbs up and said “Great”
I personally have to give a thumbs-up to the police in Phrae. They did a great job in blocking streets, re-directing cars and making the way save for all of us cyclists. THANKS.
At around 6 p.m. I arrived at the start and finish point. It was not as crowded as before as some of the cyclists had only participated in parts of the tour. A little speech by the Judge of Phrae provincial court, the royal anthem and then it was over.
I had achieved what I wanted and that was to show myself that I am back to my former health after having had breast cancer last year. I am high with proud of accomplishment.
Later I learned, that I had actually cycled over 40 km and also participated in an event which gave Thailand a listing in the Guiness book of records as the largest bicycle parade ever. Nationwide more than 294,863 people had participated.
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS