Chiang Mai seems to be turning into a bit of an adventure capital for Thailand, just as with flight of the gibbon you see downhill mountain biking trips advertised everywhere around town. I had wanted to try it out from the beginning of our three month stay, but had to save it for our last week when my friend was visiting, who had also been into at least some sort of cycling for most of his life! (Kirsty’s too much of a wimp for this – and went to get a massage instead).
We opted for one of the advanced routes for intermediate to experienced riders however, after a chat with the owner he decided we would enjoy the expert ride more. By the time we reached the top of the mountain a bunch of us had been upgraded further to take on what they call the x-route (or 4x for those of you reading their brochure, about 1,950 baht). Now I was beginning to worry a little bit, I’m confident on a bike but my actual downhill experience wouldn’t take long to read.
We were given full battle armour and a downhill bike to help us try and survive the next two hours, which turned out to be very helpful. The ride was amazing, lots of fast single track, huge loose rocks, very steep sections and hundreds of tree’s to dodge, a couple of which I made very good friends with. I hit the deck three times in total, three trees, two standing and one fallen which took me by surprise after a tight corner. The pads took the worst of it and I was having so much fun that I jumped straight back on the bike every time.
Everything about the trip was exactly what we had both been hoping for, the route was challenging, the guides were fun and very handy when it came to repairing the bikes on the way down. It has definitely given me a thirst which I haven’t had in a while to do some more mountain biking.
Mountain Biking Chiang Mai offers many tours for any level of rider from very beginner to expert as well as offering personalised trips involving hiking, long distance touring and multi-day trips. With the scenery around Chiang Mai and a tasty lunch at the end you really can’t go wrong, just be ready to hurt the next day.
My apologies for the lack of pictures – I was to busy on the breaks to take any pictures on the way down.