Do you wanna ride with us? YES!
The PEPY Ride is the annual cross-Cambodia adventure organised by PEPY Tours. It covers about 1000 kms in a little less than three weeks. Last year I took part in this great adventure and wanted to share some of my highlights.
The most memorable experience would have to be meeting all the other riders and tour leaders. A big shout out to Kent (the oldest rider on the tour – at 71yrs he managed to embarrass a few of us with his fitness level), John, Jeff, Kelly, Ruby, Edyie, Rohan, Simon, Michael, Jenny, Marie and Mr. Brooke (our youngest rider – who at 12 yrs old showed us what it was like to look at the world with a fresh pair of eyes). Along with our team leaders Brittany, Rithy, Chor and Lucky (Cambodia’s 7 times national cycling champion) we made an awesome group! It truly was an immense pleasure to meet these people and have the privilege of interacting with and learning from them.
One particular bonding experience was on our fifth morning when we were all a bit tired of eating rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner; Kelly managed to convince a baker on his way to town to sell her some of his bread. This was a huge treat considering none of us had had bread in almost a week. Suddenly Rohan or Michael I forget whom, conjured up some peanut butter and Jeff handed over a pocket knife. It was like handing ice cream to a bunch of four year olds on a hot summer’s day. It was an amazing meal because it managed to bring huge smiles to the faces of some riders on a cool dusty morning.
Yet another memorable part of the trip was when we all turned up at the village of Banteay Chhmar for homestays thinking we’d have an amazing night’s sleep considering we were in a village and people generally associate villages with peace and quiet. Did we get any peace and quiet? Far from it! I don’t think any of us had much sleep that night what with the music from a village wedding blaring over large speakers until about 1am, to cats, hens and geese in the front yard, and the locals lighting a small fire in order to keep the mosquitoes at bay. It was a wonderful experience but needless to say we were all running on reserve energy the next morning and at lunch time practically everyone had to take a 2hr snooze!
The picnic dinner at the temple in Banteay Chhmar was also a memorable experience not only because the setting was truly awesome but also because we were highly entertained by Jenny’s robot/bicycle dance and we all ended up doing the limbo and playing some of the musical instruments of our live band who magically turned up to entertain us.
Finally, I will always remember our amazing discussions along the tour, watching the sun rise as we rode out every morning, singing chorus to Rohan’s rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, watching Jenny unwittingly swallow a bug while riding, lounging on hammocks, swimming in the Baray (man made lake), eating bananas and drinking sugar cane juice and coconut water along the way, my trendy green Ray-ban glasses and of course the mosquitoes.
Wonderful people, a wonderful country and a life-changing experience!