On November 4th Fred the bike is embarking on a six month journey across Southeast Asia. Starting in Singapore, Fred plans to make his way up the west coast of Malaysia, across Thailand, Cambodia, up through Vietnam and into Laos. After that... who knows? Fred invites you to follow him through his adventure. Any advice from fellow travelers is always welcome.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hanoi-Hoa Binh

Total Distance:74.27km
Total Time:4h26m22s
Average Speed:16.7km/h
Maximum Speed:38.0km/h
Total Distance So Far:6270.23km

Comradery amoung cyclists, you gotta love it! I sprent four days wondering around Hanoi, trying to scrounge up what I needed for Fred. It was no easy task. Vietnamese bike shops are lacking in quality parts, to say the least. I managed to get a triple crank set. It took some time and some work, but I got it done. The most difficult thing to find was tubes. You would think it would be the easiest, but it wasn't. I didn't manage to find any. Fred's front gears weren't shifting properly, which only started happening once I let a Vietnamese bike tech. mess around with him, so I was a little hesitant to take him to any bike shops in Hanoi. It was starting to look like I would have to take a bus to Laos! As luck would have it, when I was walking around, in the depths of despair, ready to cave in to the backpacker express, a small miracle happened. I happened to run across three cyclists from Holland just ending a tour through China. My three heros. They fixed my bike, loaded me up with spares parts, even took me out to dinner. I can't stress enough how greatful I am to have met them. They saved me the heartache of having to get on a bus... Thanks guys!
I ended up spending five days in Hanoi. It was a little longer than I had anticipated. Hanoi was yet another big city. Far more crime than the others I've visited. I was pick pocketed within five minutes of stepping out of my hotel. Luckily I noticed in time to chase the guy down and get my wallet back. Someone stole the pump I had strapped to the side of my bike. It was my own stupid fault. I should have taken it off. I guess I just didn't think about it. Other than that Hanoi was not all that bad. I had a chance to take in some sights between bike part searching, met some good people, and loaded up on crappy western-style food.
Todays ride was the shortest I've had since... Thailand I think. I got started at a half decent time, leaving around 7:30. Traffic, as I'm sure you can imagine, was insane. It took me a good hour to get out of the city limits, which wasn't that far of a distance. Hence the low average speed. I haven't been feeling great the past few days. I'll spare you the details. Lets just say things are staying down, but not in. God bless whoever invented Imodium. Still, cycling with a winky stomache is never pleasant.
So, now I'm in Hoa Binh. I figure it should take me a day or two (probably two) to get to Laos. I'm more than ready to move on. Vietnam has been an experience, although I'm not sure that I would say it was a great one. TIme for a new chapter in the Adventures of Gred the Bike!

1 comment:

saysomethinginappropriate said...

I am really glad to hear you got fred taken care of. Have fun in Laos and stop in and see Thepp if you get the chance.