Final Days in Siem Reap

Saturday 13th of Feb saw us leave Seam Reap after a stay of six nights. 

We had a terrific time in Seam Reap and spread our 3 day Angkor ticket over 5 days so we didn’t get ‘temple fatigue’. In the middle we had time to find someone to weld the other front rack (which had began to crack), explore the town and its MANY bars, and meet some other travellers.

We enjoyed teaming up with Sarah and Julian from Germany and coming 2nd place in the hostel pub quiz one night! We also bumped into Karin and Dierk (for the third time!!) and had dinner with them and their two friends (both experienced cycle tourers who had arrived that day) on our last night. 

Gunnar, the cyclist from Norway, has been touring his whole life reckons he’s probably covered 130,000km on his bike! This is like cycling the circumstance of the Earth at the equator 3 and a bit times! He had some amazing stories and we really enjoyed meeting them. 

Dierk had also bought along his Swiss army pen knife as a parting gift for us after reading on our blog that our other knife got stolen. We were both very touched by this.

Angkor has been a spectacular end to our 25 days in Cambodia and we are both ready to see some new scenery. Even some hills might be welcome! 

Originally we had planned to head towards Batambang on the other (west) side of the Tonle Sap lake. We thought we could spend some time there before crossing the border at Pailin. You can apparently make this journey by boat but after looking into it and discovering the cost ($22 each + $10 for the bike) we agreed it wasn’t worth it and so we decided to head north towards Sisophon instead and then onwards to the crossing at Poipet, leaving Cambodia slightly earlier than expected.

Siem Reap once again blew our budget so we plan to get back to basics for a week or so in Thailand as we head East towards Bangkok. We plan to take the scenic route and will probably make a detour down through Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctury in Chachoengsao province and then head up to the popular Kao Yai nature reserve in Prachin Buri province. We have heard that both offer great camping spots. 

Advertisements

Bike Shops and Repairs in Phnom Penh

During the ride into Phnom Penh we ran over a particularly large bump and the cross bar of the right side of our front rack broke cleanly off.

We were able to do a good temporary fixing job with 2 large cable ties (well worth taping a stash of these to your frame along with your spare spokes) and some gaffa tape. 

We had had concerns about the front frame for a while; the make is Avenir and its made of aluminium meaning its a lot harder to weld back together. Our back frame is solid steel.

To add insult to injury, just before heading off to seek out a bike shop we managed to shear the bolt inside the frame – now we had two things to fix…

Phnom Penh has a few bike shops near where we are staying (close to the Royal Palace).

The Giant Bike store near the Olympic stadium is the best store we found. The multi-storey store has an excellent range of new bikes, spare parts, helmets, tools, electronics, tyres, Degreaser etc. The clothes are very expensive though and they don’t stock much for women and we couldn’t find a front rack.

  

Flying Bikes (mainly a workshop) and its counterpart store down the road, Flying Bikes 2, have a range of mountain bikes as well as a fairly good collection of accessories – if you’re in need of a new helmet, clips, gloves etc. Again, they don’t stock women’s clothes so if your female don’t get your hopes up. They didn’t have any front racks either.

There is also Vicious Cycles on street 144 who run cycle tours – the guys there have a small workshop, speak good English and could probably help cyclists with minor problems such as broken cables and spokes but they were unable to help us with the bolt and told us that it was unlikely that we would find a new front rack in Phnom Penh, apparently you can’t get them here. 

It became clear that what we needed was a good garage and mechanic followed by a welder who could work with aluminium. 

After stopping at about ten different motorcycle garages someone suggested we head to the back of the new market and try there. 
image
Alumiun welder in action.

SUCCESS! After enlisting the help of a very helpful tuk tuk driver to translate, one of the guys at the main garage extracted the bolt (by simply tapping a groove into the bolt end to screwdriver it out) from the frame in about two minutes and Paddy was pulled onto the back of a motorbike and taken up the road to a guy who could weld the aluminium. The whole thing cost

$5. 

If this happens to you, wherever you are, be sure to have your rack on the other side reinforced at the same time (even if it doesn’t seem to need it). If one side has broken, the other side is sure to follow – this is what happened to us on the road to Seam Reap and we had to go through the same process all over again in a different town!