Members of the Old Bangkok Bangers Rugby Club hit upon the idea for the annual charity bike ride from Phuket to Bangkok – now in its fourth year – when they were introduced to the Asia Center Foundation (ACF), who have long been involved in a rugby development programme for Thai youth.
ACF Director Roelien Muller said of their latest initiative, “The ride was the brainchild of Bob Pearson, the talented Bangers rugby veteran. Bob enlisted the support of like-minded Bangers, Pete Burgess and Jean-Francois Klentzi, and decided to organise a sponsored cycle ride from Bangkok to Phuket.
“Over the last four years, the Bangers On Bikes ride has raised over B1 million for the ACF in Phuket and the Nak Suu Rugby Academy.”
The nine members of the Bangkok Bangers left Phuket on February 9 and arrived in Bangkok on February 13. Their 5-day journey took them through Khura Buri, to Thung Tako, Thong Chai and Hua Hin, where they enjoyed their final stop, before pressing on with the final 213 km to Bangkok.
The toughest part of the journey, said Klentzi, came on the second day, around midway through their 193 km from Khura Buri to Thung Tako.
“That was the hardest stage of the trip, crossing from west to east coast, with a big hill after 100km and a very strong head wind for the remaining hilly 75km. It was not easy for the abnormal (fat) cyclists we are.”
A highlight of the journey came on the Thong Chai to Hua Hin leg.
“The easiest and most beautiful stage of the ride,” said Klentzi, “was when we went through national parks and across wonderful scenery. Having not been able to show us his skill during the ride, a fellow rider, Martin, decided to make some acrobatic feat with his bike and attempt a somersault, which resulted in a few scratches on his body.”
For more information on the ACF, visit asiacenterfoundation.org. For the Old Bangkok Bangers Rugby Club, visit oldbangkokbangers.com