We’ll begin our cycle in Muang Tak, a provincial capital about 500km north of Bangkok. We’ll make our way over the range of mountains in the west and reach Mae Sot, a Thai town which houses a number of Burmese refugee camps and shelters. We’ll then head northwards up the border and through the mountains that have kept these neighbouring countries separate. About halfway to Mae Sariang, we’ll stop at Safe Haven Orphanage and spend three days . We’ll present them with our donation and spend the rest of the week as volunteersas teachers and builders. We’ll then head further north, passing through Mae Sariang and entering Mae Hong Son province. A winding, gravel road will lead us up Ban Dong Mai school where we’ll meet with the experts from a center for self-reliance who will teach the staff and children at the school how best to make use of their donated seed crops. We’ll stay there for the rest of the week helping them build a fish breeding pond and introducing their fish fry to their new home.
After saying goodbye to them, we’ll again head north, passing through the provincial capital before arriving at Ban Nai Soi Community Learning Centre. We’ll assist with construction projects and provide English lessons and other tutelage for the students there. We’ll then head east through Pai, pass over the Pai mountains and finish our journey in the beautiful city of Chiangmai.
The main challenge for us will be the hills. The northwest of Thailand is incredibly mountainous, and we’ll be snaking (slowly) up them throughout our ride. Over the length of the ride, we’ll need to cycle up nearly 20 000m elevation. All of the charities we are supporting are situated on top of high mountains in remote locations and the final stretches of these rides may well prove to be the most difficult.
10th March 2012
We’ll arrive in Muang Tak in the early hours of the morning, and then spend the whole day promoting Cycling Superheroes. We’ll spend our day in costume around the town, collecting donations and promoting our cause.
11 March 2012
After a night’s sleep, we’ll embark on the first day’s cycling, an 88km route over the mountains to Mae Sot. During this ride we’ll climb 1862m of elevation and arrive at our destination in the early afternoon, where we’ll enjoy some much needed rest and let our legs get used to the shock of the first day’s cycling.
12 March 2012
We’ll spend the day in Mae Sot, visiting local NGOs and promoting our cause.
13 March 2012
This will be our second day’s cycling – a relatively flat route to Tha Song Yang. Over 86km, we’ll climb 1080m, before nestling for the night alongside the Thai-Burmese border.
14 – 17 March 2012
On the 14th, we’ll finally get to meet the children of Safe Haven Orphanage. We’ll be pretty tired when we do though. A 70km route takes us up 1680m of elevation before we settle in at the orphanage for 4 nights. During this time, we will present them with the clothes we have collected as well as run a 3 day English course, with the students split into different classes according to their levels of English. The superheroes will do their best to teach the children functional language, as well as play sport and games with them.
18 March 2012
After saying an emotional goodbye to our new friends at Safe Haven Orphanage, we’ll cycle the route to Mae Sariang. At 82km and with a climb of 1968m this will prove to be a difficult ride. After a rest upon our arrival, we’ll spend the afternoon and evening promoting Cycling Superheroes.
19 March 2012
This will be by far our most difficult cycle of the trip up to this point. Although the ride is only 58km, it is almost all steeply uphill. We’ll climb 2308m before we can finally rest at Ban Dong Mai Primary School. Not only is the road steep, but it is also mostly untarred. This will render our road bikes useless so a large part of this day will be spent pushing our bicycles up a mountain. We’ll arrive exhausted, and get an early night.
20-22 March 2012
We’ll spend three days at the school, preparing the fields to plant the seeds donated by Pun Pun Organic farm, planting them, and then teaching the students how to take care of the seeds, and harvest the seeds from the first crop so that they can have seeds available for future crops. We’ll also be presenting English lessons and playing sport in the late afternoons and early evenings.
23 March 2012
Another difficult goodbye will be followed by the 96km cycle to Khun Yuam. This will be a very difficult day’s riding, with a climb of 2328m. We’ll arrive there in the evening, enjoy a delicious meal, and then get some much-needed rest.
24 March 2012
Today we’ll cycle to Muang Mae Hong Son and spend the rest of the day promoting Cycling Superheroes. This will take us along a route of 67km and a climb of 1281m.
25-26 March 2012
We’ll arrive at the last of our charities on the 25th. Unfortunately, we’ll not get to meet the students as they’ll be on a break from school, but we will spend these two days training teachers at the school to use our newly-donated computers. This will be an easy ride at only 30km and a climb of 650m.
27 March 2012
Our ride today will be hilly and beautiful, covering 71km and climbing 2328m, and we’ll spend the night in Soppong.
28 March 2012
We’ll head over the mountains again, and then down into Pai Valley, where we’ll spend the night. In total, we’ll cover 42km and climb 1450m.
29 March 2012
We’ll spend the day in Pai promoting Cycling Superheroes. This will be an important rest day before the difficult last day’s cycling.
30 March 2012
Our last day’s cycling will also be our longest. The 129km to Chiang Mai involves a climb of 2392m and the switchbacks heading over the mountains will be treacherous and tiring. The reward for a hard day’s work will be a giant dinner and comfortable night’s sleep and the feeling of accomplishment we’ll have from completing the ride.
31 March 2012
The last official day of our trip will be a relaxing one, where Birds Nest Café will host our closing party. A gathering of friends, old and new, we’ll show images and share experiences of the adventure that we’ve just had.