Bangkok based bicycle club Viking Wheeler’s celebrated their 10 year anniversary with a solid luncheon and of course a 25 km cycle trip. The club started as the Danish Thai Chamber of Commerce’s cycling team but has become a Scandinavian club for anyone who wants to join their monthly cycling trips in Bangkachao.
Men in lycra shorts and special designed cycling jerseys gathered with a few women and a single child fifteen minutes to nine in the morning Saturday the 25th October. If it wasn’t for the grey hair, cigarettes and waistlines the longtime members of the Viking Wheeler’s could have resembled an amateur cycling team. According to long time president of the bike club Hans Henrik Melchior, this contrast has always been a part of the team.
“From the beginning it has been a fitfty-fifty combination of cycling and fun. We have always been kidding around when we stop to rest, and there is nothing like the feeling of having a beer after riding 90 kilometers,” he says.
At nine everyone except three were present and the almost 20 cyclists snaked their way through the traffic of Sukhumvit soi 24 to the pier and boat that would take everyone to Bangkok’s green lung Bangkachao. The three missing cyclist would join later. At Viking Wheelers they like to leave on time, on the boat trip across the Chao Praya river, Hans Henrik recalled a time where the club started cycling instead of waiting on a member that had travelled all the way from Australia to join the trip.
While the club started with weekly bike trips and until 2011 had longer yearly trips, the Viking Wheeler’s have slowed down their activities the last few years. The weekly trips has turned in to monthly Bangkachao cycle invasions and the number of members that wants to join the longer trips have fallen to a level where it does not really make sense to arrange them anymore.
“In 2011 only 3 people joined the trip and one of them was driving the support car. When we go on our long trips, whether its week long or weekend trips, it takes a lot of preparation to plan the route and book the hotels, when there are only three people joinging it is not worth the effort” Hans Henrik Melchior says and adds that if there is an increased interest in the longer cycle trips again, the club would not mind arranging them again.
After a sweaty 25 kilometers around Bangkachao, the club headed back to Admiral’s restaurant at Sukhumvit soi 24, where ice water and wet towels were waiting for the cyclists. After a quick shower, a cold beer or both, a few old members and friends of the club joined for an impressive Danish buffet, consisting of three types of pickled herring, all the classic cold and warm meats, traditional fatty salads, fresh potatoes flown in from Myanmar and a selection of cheeses.
When it comes to future prospects, Hans Henrik Melchior is clear.
“We continue as long people want to join our trips.”
Here is photos from the anniversary by Claus Gundersen and a few historical pictures from Viking Wheeler’s archive.[wzslider]