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On Your Bike!


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The Life section of the Bangkok Post ran a feature on Monday about bikes by a writer called Kamol Hengkietisak.

They featured pictures of a few trendy looking bikes, with labels such as "FIXRD GEAR BIKE" and so on. Unfortunately the largest and main picture was of a Fuji pure velodrome track bike and labelled it "ROAD BIKE".

That must have confused the punters.

Anyway I sent the following letter to the Bangkok Post which is unlikely to be published, although I hope it will!

Dear Editor

I was delighted to see the On Your Bike feature in Life (Monday 31 January) but disappointed to note that the large red Fuji track bike pictured was captioned 'Road Bike'. This is not a road bike, it is in fact a track fixed wheel bike for exclusive use on one of Thailand's four velodromes. A road bike has gears (usually 20) and two functional brakes and can cost up to 400,000 baht (more than the figure mentioned in your feature).

Track cycle racing is gaining in popularity throughout the world and Thailand has been able to field up to three female participants in World Cup and championship events. Unfortunately, Thailand has been unable to field any male riders in recent events as prestigious as the Asian Games or at world championship level even though there are many talented riders in the country. Chiang Mai's velodrome, a wonderful world class facility left as a legacy from the 1995 ASEAN games has been locked for some years. Access has only recently been allowed after a national campaign, including a letter in the Bangkok Post, and much pleading with the relevant managers.

However, the Northern Thai Sports Authority still has difficulty in consistently allowing riders to use this facility. The track is administered by a sports authority without the involvement of experienced cyclists or of the Thai Cycling Association and as such has difficulty in understanding how the track could be used to develop Thai cyclists for the national, regional or even world stage. If these bodies cooperated and included a proper coaching structure then Thailand could well have added to the number of medals it won at the recent Asian Games. After all, if you do not participate then you have no chance of winning medals! As an experienced trackie I have offered to help in whatever way I can and have even gone to the expense of paying for a few track bikes which are freely available to Thai cyclists (aged 8 years upwards) who would like to try one of the track cycling disciplines. My dream would be to see Thai riders bring some gold back to Thailand!

Yours etc

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