Cycling has become a growing trend in Bangkok recently. Yes; in a city where an overcrowding of cars, buses and mini vans cause traffic to completely stand still, people finally have had enough.

An array of different bikes have become a popular sight on the densely populated roads of Bangkok; modern, vintage, mountain, different weights and colors. So, if you’re thinking of joining a cycle gang, so you can get into fights with Thai ‘dek wan’ kids, or just want an alternative to getting around the city, hopefully after reading this, you will have a better idea of what’s up.

Whether you’re an old pro or a beginner, going old school is always a good idea. The latest trend here in the City of Angels is vintage style bikes. These bikes are definitely making a comeback with today’s youths and bike enthusiasts. However, knowing what to buy is always recommended when purchasing the right bike. If you’re living in a primarily flat environment test ride a single-geared bike because multiple geared bike are usually bought for making it up steep inclining roads and long commutes. Also buying the right bike will save the body from many aches the next day, but don’t worry because most of us are in Lance Armstrong shape anyways; and by Lance Armstrong shape I mean we have cancer.

How often am I going to ride the bike? How long of a commute to work do I have? What type of terrain will I be engaging every day? Is the bike light enough to carry on to public transport? Will a bus driver loaded up on methamphetamines run me over? These are several questions one should think about before spending hundreds of dollars on a new bike. My recommendation is not to go for the cheapest bike, because of the obvious reasons, and buying a space-age carbon fiber frame bike, well… lets be serious; once the trend is over you don’t want a $2000 bike taking up space in your condo reminding you how lazy you are. So probably a few hundred dollars spent on a name brand bike is the prudent investment.

Thinking ahead of what you’ll need before leaving home. Since bikes literally have no compartments to hold anything. Knowing how to determine an easy way to carry things should be planned ahead of time. Having a bike lock that slings over the shoulder is convenient and doesn’t compromise the rider. A waterproof satchel, like Indiana Jones, or back pack, like a high school student, is always a wise investment when one’s primary transport is their bike. And of course if your city is GPS friendly then mounting a holder for your smart phone or GPS device is a must. Knowing the easiest routes or alternative routes can save time, energy and confusion. Making sure the chain is serviced regularly and the tires are aligned with the frame so your investment will get you around for many years. But let’s be serious, no one services their bikes, I’m just saying you should.

Bangkok actually has some cool bike tours and routes if you want to bike on the weekend or in your free time. Bang Ka Jao is an inimitable side of Bangkok with little canals and small roads lacing through houses, temples and some cool neighborhood markets. There are also nice routes through Chinatown and through the floating market. One bike crew I talked to even rode from Bangkok to Hua Hin! That ride is about 2 ½ hours by car, so this shows the commitment some Bangkokians have to bike riding.

For those who just want to have a lower gas bill and get some exercise having the combination of both a car and bike can give you the following option. Drive to work with your bike on Monday, park your car at your place of employment all the week but ride your bike Tues, Wed and Thurs from work to home. Then on Friday drive your bike and car home. Doing this is a “win-win”; great exercise, less mileage and excellent for the environment and your body.
Anyways…Knowing what to buy is important when buying any type of transport. Knowing what to do with it after you buy it is another. Hopefully this helps.

Thanks for reading.
Edward Mulvagh

Photos by
Paul_the_seeker via Flickr