Walter van Praag has Cystic Fibrosis and does inspirational adventures to raise awareness and funds for CF and encourage people to become Organ Donors.
This year Walter is travelling to the USA to get Phage Therapy to eradicate an antibiotic-resistant bacteria out of his lung. Phage Therapy is a serious contender to replace, or at least adjunct antibiotics treatment to fight antibiotic-resistant infections.
A rest day along the beautiful Thai coastline at Nadan Beach. What to do after thousands of kilometres cycling? Cycle some more of course.
After a sleep in and a full breakfast the others sensibly relaxed. I wanted to see the Krung Ching Waterfall proclaimed one of the most beautiful places in southern Thailand. A quick web search revealed that a flood had damaged the viewing platforms so it was closed to the public.
Never mind, two waterfalls were just ten or so Kms south and north of the resort. Off I go, the day is hot, the sky and sea clear and blue, the way poorly sign posted.
Let's just say the Hin Lad Waterfall doesn't deserve it's poor signage. Trekking upstream to be sure finds a coconut grove. But never mind, the Samed Chun Waterfall is only 20 Kms north with better sign posting and off I go. Dirt road, a steep climb, a sign saying 500 metres to go when the rear dérailleur on my 30 year-old Apollo road bike breaks with a loud crack and swings up into the wheel breaking a spoke.
Never mind, the dérailleur can be untangled, the wheel wobble doesn't foul the brake blocks with the calliper opened and the opposite to up is down. A call to Walter and he springs into action like a web search panther thinking ahead of the whinger on the line.
Left foot in the pedal cleat, bum cheek on the top tube and right leg scooting back and forth while a bony ass absorbs the shocks, stopping once to learn from Walter that he has arranged a car to collect and take me to a bike shop that has the needed parts and mechanic.
When I reach the black top I discover elderly Thais will not speak on mobile phones. Never mind, eventually I'm able to find someone to provide the location.
Off we go in the driver's shiny new Prius retracing some of the previous day's ride to Surat Trani, 70 kms north.
The bike shop had the parts, but no mechanic as advertised. Never-mind, we go to a mechanic around the corner. This crotchety old bloke was closing a five and he'd put on the rear dérailleur but not fix the spoke because he didn't have time. Never mind the mechanic's personality, his work was efficient and his price very low even by Thai standards. And never mind the broken spoke, my driver knows a mechanic and off we go.
And this mechanic? He works out of a shop in Khanom about 20 Kms north of the resort, not so far from where I broke down. So I ask the obvious question about parts and firsts; he only shrugs . Never mind, because the mechanic was not working at the shop until next week.
I had asked my regular bike shop whether the front and rear dérailleur could make the trip and supporting the CF Awareness ride. Unfortunately the answer was yes and no, not no and yes.
The front dérailleur was held together with wire until Bo Bo's Bike Shop at Seim Reap kindly donated the repair, but Bo Bo had no rear dérailleur.
Will the wobbly wheel find a mechanic with chain whip and cassette remover at hand on tomorrow's journey? Walter's search skills and the teams eagle eyes make it a certainty.