My choice to live a bicycle-only life

in getyerlearnon •  17 days ago

I kind of eluded at it in the past but I have made a choice when moving to Chiang Mai to live a life where I get all things in my life done without having any sort of mechanized transport. I used to live in the city center area of downtown where, of course, this was as easy to accomplish as is is for anyone living in a major metropolitan area. The stores are all around you. However, I have now moved to a suburban area where acquiring things can be a bit more problematic.

Now my reasons for wanting to do this are multiple. The first one being health. About 2 years ago I was as unhealthy as I have ever been in my life. I weighed nearly 110 kg (240 lbs), got out of breath easy, and basically just looked like a well-fed homeless guy; now I am down to 87 kg (191 lbs) and would like to see my way down to around 80kg. I figure this will be much more easy to accomplish if i have to get on my bicycle in order to do almost anything.

The second reason is that the roads in a city like Chiang Mai, which is much better and well-equipped / managed than many other large Thai cities, are pretty packed and prone to traffic jams. I have in many situations been capable of getting down the road faster than the cars and motorbikes because of the small areas that a bicycle can fit into and also because it is perfectly ok to not obey certain aspects of road laws such as riding on the sidewalk to bypass traffic, and even using the crosswalks to navigate a busy stoplight intersection. Chiang Mai is actually the most bicycle-friendly city I have ever been to in Thailand.

Thirdly (is that a word?), I don't feel like jumping through the hoops associated with obtaining a Thai driving license. I have a USA driving license and that is valid in every other part of this country that I have been in (and it likely is in a legal sense) however, Chiang Mai police have devised a wonderful method of stealing money from foreigners and now only accept international permits (a truly silly process that I should have just done when I was in the States) and Thai driving licenses.

This does introduce some problems though. I have a pretty limited capacity for carrying items on my bicycle. Yesterday I went to buy a fan and it was just about as big a thing as I can possibly transport in the future.


The problem isn't the height or size of the box, the problem is the strength of the basket I have attached to my bike. This will be something I am going to have to try to improve upon in the future. I had to go very slow because if a "lean" got started on the box it would simply break the weak plastic hamper that I bought for the back of my bike. It wouldn't fall because it is cable-tied onto the frame at a bunch of points.

I get some looks from Thai people but they aren't making fun of me: They actually think that what I have done is a good idea and for the most part it has been wonderful. I have had multiple locals ask me "what do you sell?" because i accidentally made exactly the sort of thing that a traveling salesperson would have on their bike.

All and all this choice in my life has been a good one. In just over a month I have gone 350 km on the bike and i would imagine that is a lot of calories. I may end up not being so enthusiastic about my choice during rainy season, but since I had no intention of getting a car anyway, i think there isn't really much difference in how wet you will get in a motorbike vs. bicycle type situation.

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That's really cool that you lost all that weight. I would love to start going everywhere either on foot or by bike. It is difficult where I live.

I know for a fact that I hover around 240-245 pounds because I spend so much time in a car or on a computer. When I was younger I walked everywhere. Now I have made life too easy on myself!


well i am sure age has something to do with it also, even though I don't know how old you are. For me, I could do nothing or very little, eat whatever I want and drink like a college student and not gain an ounce......... right up until my mid 30's. You are always submitting actifit report cards so you are doing your part!


I get the feeling that you and I are similar in age (born in the 70s). I think that is is why I seem to resonate with a lot of the experiences that you talk about.

And yeah, same here. I never seemed to put on much fat till my mid 30s.

You should get one of those little child carrier things they attach to the back of bicycles. It would be like a little trailer you can put your larger stuff in when you are riding. You might have to be a little more careful about the areas you can fit into, but you probably are anyway when you are carrying something that big. That might be just the fix you need. I think it is awesome that you have made this decision. I need to get my butt into gear as well. I have been right round 250 lbs. for the last 10 years and I would really like to get myself down to 185 to 215 since I am under 6 foot tall.


i hate cardio, so losing weight was always tough for me but i found that weight training was more my speed and made me feel good - however, it initially resulted in me weighing more because muscle weighs more than fat.

but one thing that "jump started" my weight loss was the Atkins diet. I ate ONLY meat and what not and held my carbs to under 50 grams a day. I could still drink beer but only the ultra low carb ones that taste like chemicals. It was difficult to accomplish because everything is served with rice over here and rice is one of the most carb heavy foods in the world. This is obviously a dangerous diet and according to my nutritionist / personal trainer friend it should only be adopted in the short term.

Now I just avoid all processed food and most of all sugar. I have stabilized at 190 lbs, but the last 15 lbs is likely going to be the most difficult. I may not even accomplish it, just wanna get rid of the stomach and according to my personal trainer pal, that is "always the last thing to go"


I've done the South Beach diet in the past which is a modified version of Atkins I think. I have actually cut down on carbs quite a bit from when my wife and I first got together. We love out pasta. I still have a ways to go though on the carb elimination front. Since I have been able to maintain my weight over the past decade I don't think diet is as much of a concern for me as actually getting out and exercising is. I need that physical activity...

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I hear ya on the pasta, i think that is everyone's weakness in the west. For me more than anything I think garlic bread is my worst enemy. I really don't think there is anything better in the world. The bad news is that a friend of mine who is a $500 an hour personal trainer says that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. :(


Oh wow, guess I don't need to get out and exercise as much as I thought I did :) In fact I just had spaghetti and garlic bread last night and that is what I am having as leftovers for lunch today. I guess in the end, I am just glad that I haven't continued to gain any. Like I said, I have been the same weight give or take 5 lbs depending on the time of year for most of the last 10 years. @mrsbozz has been killing it exercising every day lately, so I am sure I will be out and about more this summer.

Bike riding everywhere sounds idyllic. Getting caught in a thunderstorm sounds less idyllic, but probably will make for some good stories in the future. I have this image of you as a main character to a novel, and a pivotal scene in the plot happens while you are seeking refuge from the thunderstorm. Keep me posted ;)

Health wise I do think riding a bicycle is a good idea because it makes us loose some weight and become fit which is good for your health. And also based on what you said the traffic congestion in most cities of Thailand makes it very important to use a bike for an easy movement and transport. It is a good decision you made by using a bike @gooddream

Cycle riding is very good for our health. Exercise is very important to maintain our health. Fat peoples very easy to loose weight riding bicycle. This bicycle looks so beautiful. Your decision is very good to your health. Thailand is very neat and clean city. You are absolutely right height of this box is not issue stranght is issue difficult to control. Thanks for sharing your great experience.@gooddream.

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