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Bike progress and Wat tours in Chiang Mai

(written by Dave)

We hit the buffet again for brekkie today and managed to evade the F&B manager.  Nancy wore her hair different, plus we toned down the our proportions.  I think we are off the hotel watch list for now – we’ll see how the rest of the week goes.

The goal was to get to the bike shop this morning to get the work started on the bikes.  Not wanting to repeat yesterday’s stressful ride to the shop we hailed one of the ubiquitous “truck cabs” that prowl the city.  Both of us and the bikes fit into the back with ease and we arrived at TCA much calmer.

The folks at TCA were great.  When we arrived, the mechanic was not there yet so one of the guys (we think he might have been the manager) helped on Nancy’s wheel.  I tried to give them a full list of things that needed adjusted but they really wanted to take on the wheel.  Soon the mechanic arrived and took over.  He discovered that the axle was slightly bent and the cones needed replacing.  While the hub is Campy, and the shop specialises in Campy, they had no parts.  Never fear, the mechanic hopped on his scooter and drove to another shop to get the parts.  In about 30 minutes he returned with all the parts and fixed Nancy’s hub.  I then told him about her pedal and even though it was not a brand they sell or work on, he got stuck into it.  He couldn’t fully overall it but he managed to regrease it and make it much tighter.

Ok – next my rear hub.  He looked my bike over before removing Nancy’s from the stand.  During the inspection he asked how many k’s since last overhaul.  He was shocked when I answered 10k.  And went immediately back to first overhaul Nancy’s rear hub.  This repair went without a hitch but when he started adjusting the shifting he couldn’t get it perfect, even after oiling derailleur and cables.  He really wanted to work on the shift lever but said it would take more time.  He asked us if we could leave the bikes.  We were more than happy to do so – by that time we had been there for 2 hours hovering and helping (okay, maybe just hovering) as we hadn’t really gotten across the point that we could leave the bikes so they could work them into their schedule.  Between the mechanic and shop folks we worked out that he could do everything by mid-day tomorrow and that we should come back tomorrow afternoon.

As the morning progressed we started to wonder whether TCA works on bikes that they don’t sell.  The shop area is quite small and there were no other bikes in the shop being repaired when we arrived so we are not really sure they actually do general service/repair work.  As we sat watching the mechanic work and a few people come and go we really felt like they were being very nice to us in helping us out with the repairs.  I should have written out a list of things that we needed done – not doing so combined with our limited communications capability sort of turned the whole effort into a snowball of “just one more thing” that I am sure they did not expect.  Whatever their formal policy, so far we owe them a huge thank you.  If all goes to plan, tomorrow afternoon we’ll have good-as-new bikes that will surely put us in good stead for the rest of the trip.  Fingers crossed – we’ll report results tomorrow.

Without bikes, we walked back to Chiang Mai old town area.  We found a greasy spoon (or the Thailand equivalent) where we ordered a basic Thai lunch.  From there we visited a bunch of wats that were on the nearly direct route back to our hotel.  I took way too many photos – I hope readers are not getting Wat/Buddha fatigue with all the photos…

We were both pretty tired following the afternoon sightseeing but still managed to muster the strength visit the Belgium bar just down the street from our hotel.  We spotted a sign selling Palm beer when we rode past on the way into town.  Palm was our favourite beer when we lived in Holland and we had to stop by to see if they really had it here in the middle of SE Asia.  Well, I am happy to report that both Palm and bittenballen were served and that we partook with gusto.

I am now off to a local pizza joint for takeaway.  We are loving the Thai food but tonight we feel like a pizza.  I’m not sure that I’ll be able to source any red wine.  At least with take-way, we can watch one of our 20ish English TV channels.  I think we both could get used to this lifestyle – back to the grind (and no-tell-motels with dodgy TVs) come Saturday.

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4 responses to “Bike progress and Wat tours in Chiang Mai

  1. Incognito at the breakfast buffet?
    Impressed, as always with Dave’s resourcefulness (fixing the bike in front of the hardware store). Hope you are both in better spirits – take advantage of the hotel’s offerings – do they offer a fish pedi?

    • Lots of fish massage here but I can’t take the tickling and while Nancy enjoyed it, she was not sure that it did anything worth paying for. Unless you count laughing at me as worthwhile – and there is some value there!

  2. Great photos and stories… as always! It sounds like a very international city. I love that the BP* didn’t recognize you, two Aussie-Americans, at the buffet this morning! Good one!
    *Breakfast Police…. Buffet Police….

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