We’ve doneit! The 4th Truants Ride is complete, and takes us way past the £1m mark raisedfor our 3 wonderful children’s charities. In reaching that milestone, we’ve discovered another remarkable country via it’s farm tracks and back roads.Our 3 days in the saddle took us through the morning traffic of Siem Reap, on out amidst the tuk-tuks, mopeds and tourist traffic to the temples of Angkor Wat, where we would break to rest up a bit by climbing huge stone stairways built, as ever, to get closer to ancient gods. The temples were fascinating and mostly in amazing order given a millennium spent buried in the rainforest. But most of our 3 days cycling was spent winding through mile upon mile of rice paddies on farmer’s paths and dirt roads and the odd 12 mile stretch of perfect tarmac, which, sod’s law, arrived at the same time as a blazing sun and strong headwind. Our developing skills as ‘pelotonniers’ helped us get through that bit, though when on sandy tracks atop rice-paddy dykes we
worked out that it’s best to stay well clear of each other and let the fallers fall (me) without you then riding over them. Rough roads go with rural beauty and as the miles and the pain mounted day by day, so the roads got worse and worse, ending with a long stretch of rutted mud to ensure we felt we have given our sponsors plenty of suffering! But there was always something beautiful or fascinating to break
up the tedium of grinding out the miles. A school where the 10 year olds were learning English was where we took an impromptu class encouraged by the staff and to the huge amusement of the kids who had surely never seen anything quite like us before. We explored incredible floating villages, each (substantial) one-room homes towering 20 feet or more up in the air atop a forest of 2 story wooden poles. The fishermen’s way of life is shaped by the 3 meter rise in the floodwaters in each rainy season and the huge fertile lake they live above. They descend down long flights of steps to patrol the mangrove swamps in ancient, leaky, but indestructible teak-built long boats, mend their nets and occasionally wave to the tourists whose lives could not be more different to theirs. And on our return to base we had plenty of chance to relax in the
back-packer heaven that is Siem Reap city, where we routinely made the next days’ cycling far harder, by enjoying each other’s company far too long into the night!
So for the pain we have no-one to blame but ourselves, and while
of course we cover all our own costs, it’s YOU we have to thank. We know that we can only do the good we do because of your response to our call, every 18 months or so. What motivates us is the causes we serve and your amazing generosity. We’ll keep it up as long as you do!
My Just Giving page is still open so to those of you who
promised to donate but have not yet had the chance, please visit my page below…