Immu (Pirawan Bua-ngam)
Who do you think you are anyway?
I’m the Bangkokian who love cycling and now the Bicycle Wheel Builder and owner of Spinning Bear Bike Shop. I used to open the Bicycle Hostel under the same name as the bike shop to welcome cyclists from around the world but under the current COVID situation, I decided to stop hostel business and focus all my power on the bike shop and discover new cycling routes instead. Besides, I’m also the moderator of Thailand Bicycle Touring and Bikepacking Facebook Group to help grow and create a good atmosphere within the Thailand cycling community. When I’m not working, I love to spend time going through Instagram to see nice bike builds to expand my ideas and knowledge over bicycle customization.
My extra interest is doing more exercise to make my body stronger as I love to go on an adventure rides especially in the north of Thailand which is our great choice under COVID time.
BTW, I'm so proud to say that I’m one of the happiest Surly Humanoids in this Galaxy!
How’d you get into bikes?
As many others, I started riding bikes when I was very young when I got my first bike as a gift from getting good grades at school, hahaha. Anyway, I really got into bikes around 10 years ago. My boyfriend, Py, another owner of Spinning Bear Bike bought me a bike so that we could spend time together. It was so painful at first but luckily, I was immediately falling in love again with riding the bike. I started to cycle to work in Bangkok’s CBD. Getting bored with Bangkok’s traffic, we decided to quit our office life and open the bike shop.
We have so much fun working with bikes and going on trips together. Opening the bicycle hostel is one of my happy experiences leading me to learn more about other cyclists and listening to their experiences cycling around the world was so awesome! Another guy that led me to really get into bikes is Ma, from Bok Bok Bike, the very famous bike shop among touring cyclists. He invited us to join Thailand Touring Bicycle Shop Alliances, taught me how to build the wheels and gave me chances of bike testing making me have better knowledge and understanding towards bikes. That’s why you can see me with various Surlys, from Midnight Special, Karate Monkey, Krampus, ECR, Ogre, Straggler, and much more. And yes, the more I understand the bikes, the more I love them!
Tell us about your Surly
Getting the chance to test lots of bikes and with my main reason to expand cycling community within Thailand, I decided to build up my Bridge Club (BC) which will definitely bridge the gap between traditional touring and extreme adventure bike. With its specifications, I see the great chance that cyclists can easily switch their current traditional touring bikes into more bikepacking and more adventure-style bikes. Finally, I gathered up some ideas and built my BC with drop-bars so that people can have a test ride with my bike. I did that with a strong aim to make more peeps love Surly and boom! there would be more Surly Humanoids!
My Bridge Club is equipped with:
- Handlebar: Curve Walmer Bar, 55cm
- Drivetrain: Shimano SLX with 11-46T cassette, Ultegra 6800 brifters and yes I need Wolftooth Tanpan adaptor to make MTB rear derailleur and road brifters work well together.
- Front Chainring: Wolftooth, Drop-Stop, 34T
- Rims: Circus Monkey
- Tires: Teravail Ehline 27.5x2.3”
- Mechanical brake, TRP Spyre
I really love my BC due to its versatility. I can use my BC for long adventure rides or even just overnighter trips. I can easily go from off-road surface to paved road at any time. With the combination of the adventure drop on my BC, it provides great handling and feelings during a normal ride, up the hills or even down the hills.
Favorite bike-related memory
Wow…..this is quite hard to answer as there are many many good bike-related memories. So, let me pick the best three!
The first one is my first long tour in Japan, at that time I still used second hand touring bike. We cycled from Tokyo to Osaka. Although I already visited Japan before but with bicycle, I can see more. We spent the time cycling with the view of Fujisan for the whole day. We cycled up to spend the time at Kamikochi, a part of Japan Alps and do some trekking there. We cycled between Kyoto, Nara and Osaka on only bike-specific road. The best part of the trip is that we can spend the end of every day soaking ourselves in onsen. The people, the culture, the food and the landscape there are so impressive and enjoyable.
And of course, my trip in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India, is one of my favorite memory! This place is so amazing. It’s our first time cycling at a high altitude of around 4,000m above sea level. We really enjoyed the endless rocky road and rolling up the mountains through the high hairpin bend. We cycled through nice high mountainous routes, quaint villages, and visited various famous monasteries (mostly Buddhism). The variety of food there is so amazing!
Last but not least, my latest trip in the north of Thailand, cycling from Chiang Rai - Pang Khon - Mae Chan Tai - Doi Mon Lan is also my favourite. This time with my RADVenture team, the group of friends who enjoy adventure cycling. Many people who used to visit Thailand or did the Mae Hong Son Loop might know that the road here could be so steep at any time. We spent many hours pushing the bike in the forest. But all moments are so impressive with the nature, the view, and yes the fresh dripped Mae Chan Tai Coffee by the local Akha. Pang Khon and Mae Chan Tai are parts of the mountain top areas in Thailand that produces the great coffee cherry and coffee beans. If any of you planning to visit Thailand for a touring or Bikepacking trip, this route is a great choice.
If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be? (And why?)
I would love to see myself cycling in Kyrgyzstan. After following the Silk Road Mountain Race and other cyclists enjoying there time in this cool place, I really love to be there one day in the future once the border is open again. I would be so happy to cycling through gorgeous passes, trek on nice mountain trails, wild camping by the beautiful alpine lakes or even spend a night with nomad family in local yurt.
Where can people follow along with you?
Spinning Bear Bike Shop + Tour + Hostel
Address: Nawamin 14, Bangkok, Thailand 10240
Tel: (+66) 80-6057885 / (+66) 80-0440490
** Editor's note! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Immu!! Please give Immu a follow to keep up with her adventures, and if you find yourself in Bangkok, stop into Spinning Bear Bike Shop + Tour + Hostel to say hello! As a thank you for Immu's time and energy for sharing with us, Surly has made a financial donation to WTF Bikexplorers ! If you're not familiar with WTF Bikexplorers and the work they are doing, head on over to their website here!
Thanks for reading! To check out our other Humanoids of Surly, click here!