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They have found themselves in Koh Phangan, as many people do, so Phanganist invited Daniele in to find out more about this exciting travelling project...
Hi Daniele so what gave you the idea to make this trip?
Do you want the long version or the short? I left Italy initially looking for a better job and I ended up living inside a bike repair store in Amsterdam. I knew nothing about them before.
So now I am riding a bicycle from the year 1936, the same one I was using in Amsterdam. Of course I have modified parts, it is not all original but forty percent of it is.
What was it that caught you about antique bikes?
Basically they are beautiful, the way they made them was completely handmade. The details and care are amazing.
Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia and Borneo, Indonesia then into Malaysia again and Thailand. If you want to know more check our travel journal.
What do you do in these countries, do you stay for a certain amount of time or does it depend on what you find?
We had no fixed plans when we began, we had a sort of route but we change according to what happens and the people we meet.
You are your own transport and you can camp, once you’re on a bike you can take random roads and camp overnight in places which is harder to do if you’re hitchhiking, this is what we do sixty percent of the time.
The people are amazed to see us as they don’t get many tourists and they can be even more kind and curious about the bikes. We get invitations for meals and to sleep sometimes, with very very poor families.
It’s also good for the body.
What are the main problems that can arise?
Alright, the most difficult is the language barrier as some countries are different to others. You can find more english speaking in Thailand than in Japan for example so sometimes it can strain the contact with locals, even to order a meal.
Sometimes the road is tough because of the temperatures, sometimes it gets too hot, there’s a narrow band of temperature where cycling is ok, above ten and under twenty five but you’re usually lower than or over, the hot weather is very hard.
We like rainy season here in Thailand. Sometimes people think we have many dangers but we haven’t experienced this, we have met some crazy guys and you should be aware of this but it’s a matter of attitude, you can meet crazy people anywhere, you don’t need to travel for this!
Do you get involved with projects along the way?
Our idea when we left was to try to make short documentaries about countries and specific issues especially related to environmental issues or oppressed minorities and political stuff.
We visit tourist spots of course but also try to understand the issues of the country. We basically document the trip and find what’s interesting on the way.
How have you ended up in Koh Phangan?
While we were in Indonesia we felt it was time for a short break, we wanted to rest for one or two months and the next destination was Thailand so we started looking for volunteering opportunities here.
I’m a heavy smoker, I drink, I’m not a healthy guy and I wasn’t doing any serious cycling before but if you start slowly and keep doing it every day then your body will feel it, you just need to try and be a believer.
Where do you go when you're finished here?
Ok, so after here we will head to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and back to China. Maybe we will look for a job for five or six months and then go to Myanmar and through India back to Italy.