Sea of yellow and blue in Bangkok as 600,000 take part in 'Bike for Dad' in honour of King

AS A tribute to the country's much-revered monarch, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn yesterday led more than 600,000 people in joining the nationwide "Bike for Dad" event.

The event saw large cycling parades take place not just across Thailand but also abroad, as people came together to celebrate His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 88th birthday.

The number of pre-registered participants stood at 607,909, but the actual turnout was very likely higher.

The Crown Prince headed off from the starting point at the Royal Plaza at around 3.40pm, and finished the 29-kilometre stretch at 6.20pm.

Also in the same parade were his two daughters, HRH Princess Bajra Kitiyabha and HRH Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana.

The royals wore yellow-and-blue T-shirts, just like all the other participants, including ambassadors of 24 nations and Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha.

Yellow is the colour associated with the King's birthday, while blue is associated with the Queen's birthday.

Many major roads in Bangkok were closed to facilitate the parade. As cyclists enthusiastically joined the event to show their loyalty to their much-beloved King, other people turned out along the roads to cheer them on, and shouted out "Long live the royals."

Although yesterday was not a national holiday, participation in the event was overwhelming.

The cycle route in Bangkok stretched from the Royal Plaza to Rajdamnoen Avenue, via Si Ayutthaya Road, Rajprarop Road, Rajdamri Road, Rama I Road, Phya Thai Road, Rama IX Road, Silom Road, Charoenkrung Road, Yaowaraj Road, Chakrawat Road, Prajadhipok Road, Arun-Amarin Road and Rama VIII Bridge before concluding at Royal Plaza.

As His Majesty commands overwhelming love and respect from his people, the event generated immense interest across the Kingdom.

A huge number of people turned up at a public park in the northern province of Uttaradit to join the cycling parade in honour of the King in their home town.

There were not enough "Bike for Dad" t-shirts for participating cyclists.

In the South, loyal subjects joined forces in doing stunts ahead of the "Bike for Dad" event in their cities.

Surat Thani Governor Wongsiri Phromchana led many cyclists at City Hall in forming the shape of a yellow heart with a Thai number 9 in the middle. His Majesty is also widely known as King Rama IX.

In Trang, some 5,000 cyclists formed the shape of "88 Dad Trang" at the province's City Hall to pay tribute to their beloved monarch.

In another southern province, Yala, a total of 2,000 cyclists formed the words "Yala loves the King" at Sataranasanamchangpuak Park in Muang district before the "Bike for Dad" rally kicked off.

In the northeastern province of Buri Ram, a 65-year-old retiree showed up at the starting point of the local event at 7am because she was so keen to express her loyalty to the King.

"By participating in the event, Thais show their love for the King," Utai Muenphra said.

The Crown Prince initiated the "Bike for Dad" cycling event, after the big success of the "Bike for Mom" event in August.

"Bike for Mom" has gone down in "Guinness World Records" as the world's largest-ever bicycle parade.

"Bike for Dad" is also very special, because it involves cycling parades not just in Thailand, but also in 66 overseas cities such as Paris, Vienna, Penang and Taipei.