June 28, 2013
I enjoy the luscious sense of freedom and speed of a long, well earned, downhill. But more often, the most memorable travel moments come when I am forced to slow down. When Kat and I visited the coastal town of Mai Rut in Thailand, slow was the only way we were going to explore the concrete walkway that spanned fishing village on the banks of the Mai Rut River.
As you'll see in the video, you do not want to wander too far to the right unless you'd like to fish your bike and panniers out of the river.
Ice chests filled with the day's catch, knives chopping away, scooters negotiating the narrow sidewalk, roosters crowing, spirit houses decorated with offerings, the smell of briny fish mixed with the waft of diesel — who in their right mind would want to speed along this treasure trove of sights, smells, and sounds? I could pedal this narrow pathway every day for a year and always find something new.
How many places have I sped through because there was no physical impediment to my fast-forward progress? How many interesting sights and experiences have we missed in the pursuit of arriving somewhere else?
Bicycles are amazing when they are moving fast, but they are usually the best travel vehicles when moving slow.
Photo by Kat Marriner
Video by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His latest book Travels with Willie: Adventure Cyclist will inspire you to hit the road and just might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com/.