I attended the ‘Bike for Mom’ bicycling event in Bangkok, Thailand on August 16th, 2015. Main streets in the city were blocked off for the first time ever for a cycling event and about 40,000 riders in blue shirts rode several hours across town. The total route was 43km in Bangkok and decorated with blue ribbons, blue flags, streamers, royal pictures, and other festive decorations. Nationally, almost 300k Thais rode their bikes that Sunday evening along various routes in many towns across Thailand led by provincial governors. Luckily it did not rain and was basically windless.
This was not a race, as even kids on small tricycles participated. Sometimes there were so many riders that they got off their bikes and walked them along the parade route. Bike for Mom was a bicycle parade, the world’s largest, and broke the previous record set in 2012 in Taiwan. The Bangkok ride was led by the HRH Crown Prince of Thailand Maha Vajiralongkornand and his daughter HRH Princess Bajra. It concluded in a very large ceremony with music and dancing broadcast on all Thai channels. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, cabinet members, court presidents and high-ranking officials as well as diplomats rode their bikes too.
Bike for Mom honored Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, who turned 83 in August. It also celebrated the royal family. The Thais lovingly refer to the Queen as ‘Mom’ (pronounced ‘Mum.’) The light blue shirts with ‘Bike for Mom’ were worn by riders and non-riders alike, with crowds of blue shirts everywhere I went. Safety was observed and all riders I saw wore helmets and appropriate gear. Part of the ride was at night and the small lights on the thousands of bikes twinkled. Disabled cyclists also rode using adaptive bikes.
I was in Thailand to teach at the Sport Authority of Thailand and United States Sports Academy 2015 International Certification in Sport Management Program (ICSM). Many of my students rode or supported at Bike for Mom and were very sore during my class Monday morning after the long, exciting ride Sunday evening. This event was an excellent example of the unifying potential of sports.
Dr. Robert Hudson, JD, MLIS, Ed.S, is the Library Director and Archivist at the United States Sports Academy as well as Assistant Professor. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Fernquest, J (2015). Bike for Mom 2015. Bangkok Post. Retrieved from http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/657168/bike-for-mom-2015-updated