our days and 340 kilometres on roads in places less than hospitable; temperatures
that peaked in the low 40s; the challenge of housing and feeding 38 men and three
women in towns that aren't exactly set up for travelers dropping in. Dust, dust and
more dust - and the threat that at any time some overloaded vehicle would run them
off the road, made for a memorable adventure.
This was the inaugural Great Cyclo Rally of Cambodia: 22 men riding 10 cyclos in
one-hour shifts from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. And along with them 10 volunteer bicyclists,
some of whom rode the entire distance while others took turns on the bikes. In addition,
medics, mechanics and other essential supporters all sweated it out on a historic
ride to raise funds for the Cyclo Center of Phnom Penh. They arrived in the capital
on Thursday, March 25, to a welcome fit for heroes at Wat Phnom. The center raised
awareness about itself, drove to glory for the cause and was supported by some local
organizations and the World Health Organisation's smoke-free program. Organizers
and sponsors are keen to repeat the rally, but probably in the cooler weather of
November in 2005.
Phnom-Penh-based New Zealand photographer and writer Robert Joiner went along for the ride of his life.
Nothing left to chance. The cyclos are thoroughly checked prior to trucking to Siem Reap.
22 March, 6.00pm. Setting out from Angkor Thom.
Phak Kdei comes unstuck on a slippery surface.
Into early Siem Reap rush hour, below.