Tim Wiseman, BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment Scheme Manager, updates us on the progress of his 500 mile charity cycle ride around Myanmar! With support from the BRE Trust, Tim is cycling to raise money for Article25 whilst conducting research into healthcare buildings in the Southeast Asian country.
Friday 10th November – Popping up mount Popa
We left Bagan at 7am and by 8.30 my had chain snapped twice! Luckily our bike mechanic was riding close behind me.
Today was mainly off road on sandy tracks with short sharp hills which were very difficult to ride on.
We stopped by a place where local people made sweet snacks out of palm sugar. Thankfully the locals were kind enough to share samples with us, which really helped with the next session of cycling!
Like yesterday, I struggled with the intense heat and spent most of the stint in the support truck to rehydrate. On the plus side, I took some videos of the cyclists ahead of us. Hopefully some of them are usable. Every cloud and all that!
Later on we visited a primary school, with a health centre next door, and finally the long, steep, ride up towards Mount Popa.
After a late lunch, we walked 777 steps up to the monastery at the top of Mount Popa. Walking was the easiest bit, the hard bit was avoiding the hundreds of monkeys trying to steal anything you had on you! The reward for surviving the monkey gauntlet? One of the most stunning views of the trip so far!
Saturday 11th November
A very early start at 6.30am saw us cycling down a steep hill with many hairpin bends, patches of sand and oncoming traffic,
so we needed to have eyes and ears everywhere!
Once we were on the flat tarmac we tried out a rolling peloton where everyone got the chance to lead the pack.
After two hours, we were done for the day, having cycled 67km! We had the rest of the day to explore Meiktila.
In the evening we had a catch up on all of the heath centres we had visited, we discussed the observations we’d made and how this research could impact our project.
Sunday 12 November
Another early start and we started off on flat tarmac before encountering our toughest challenge yet, a steep 25km ascent up to a summit of 1000m with many hairpin bends. After a quick break at the top, we descended through many villages with many people greeting us and giving us high fives as we rode past- it was a fantastic experience! We finished at lunchtime having ridden over 50 miles. Well done all!
We arrived early in Kalaw just as it started raining. Being high up, Kalaw has a cooler and fresher feel to it which was a refreshing change!
Monday 13 November
More hill climbs!!
This morning we woke to a cold, fresh and misty start to the cycle ride with stunning scenery as we traversed the mountains. We visited a health centre which had a lot of room for improvement, we made notes of various measures we could recommend for implementation to improve the buildings functionality.
Later on we visited a local market which sold everything from clothing to dried fish. The local people seemed fascinated by us in our cycle gear. I guess this area is not not visited by many cycling western tourists!
Shortly after finishing, the heavens opened and we checked into our hotel at Pinlaung in monsoon like conditions, quite refreshing after a long ride!
I’ve learned so much on this experience so far and we’re all having a great time! More updates will follow later this week!