There’s something about a bicycle, once you learn how to ride it, you REALLY never forget even after a decade of not paddling those pedals. In 2011, I challenged myself with a 100K bicycle ride to Desaru, Malaysia from Singapore and I’ll never forget how painful it was to my butt, thighs and everything in between, literally. What I gained from that long bicycle ride was new friends, new experience and a whole different perspective on that city just from riding a bike.
I made a Bangkok bucket list when I moved back, a list of things that I will continuously do and not a one-time thing. In there is getting out of my comfort zone, meeting new people, reconnect with people I know who could potentially be good friends, run a marathon, cycling passionately, island hop, back packing the north and south and the list goes on. Today, I crossed one activity that will be my continuous activities.
Located opposite of Sanam Luang, an open field in front of Bangkok’s famous temple, Wat Phra Kaew and most tourists’ destination, the Grand Palace is Cafe Veladome – a perfect combination for coffee lovers meets enthusiastic cyclists. Discovered by two women whose passion is coffee, delicious treats and cycling, this little cafe offers what baby cyclists are looking for, a rent-free bicycle tour ride around the city of Bangkok.
Although it is an easy ride, there’s a lot of skills that I learned from this 2.5 hours cycling trip that I couldn’t possibly learned in a city as hygienic as Singapore where cycling is a part of people’s daily lives, even roads are made to accommodate that. Here in Bangkok, we are raw, we cycle through tiny little alleys that can barely fit a person in China Town surrounded by shop houses that I almost forgot existed.
Snake turns to old temples that no tourist or city local like me have heard of to discovering simple things that brings back old school memories like cars that lies around the side of the street next to an artistic wall that we didn’t think was so artistic as a child. Sunset through big trees by the river is a photographic memory that we will never forget, being suckers for sunset.
Our tour ride ended back where we started at Sanam Luang, just after sunset, I must say, I don’t remember the last time I saw my city being so beautiful, bright and lively. I actually don’t remember the last time I actually stood still in Sanam Luang, the open field that tourists praise about. I suppose, even local people like us have a lot to learn about our own hometown. How multicultural it is, so diverse, authentic and so surreal.
The crew at Cafe Veladome explores different areas and secret spots in Bangkok daily, if you are in for a ride and a cup of coffee, you know where to go.
Thammasat – Thaphrachan