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.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ninh Binh-Hanoi

Total Distance:94.47km
Total Time:4h55m19s
Average Speed:19.2km/h
Maximum Speed:31.5km/h
Total Distance So Far:6195.96km

After pulling such long days recently, with the exception of the last one to Ninh Binh, todays ride was a breeze. I got a late start, leaving at 8:00am, which was great for a change. The ride took a little less than 5 hours, putting me in the capital of Vietnam just on time for lunch. It was a good day for biking. No rain, but it was a little cloudy, so it wasn't scortching hot either. I took the elevated freeway which, as it turns out I wasn't supposed to. After riding it for about a half hour some dude on a motorbike informed me that there were no bicycles allowed. I figured until someone official told me to get off I would continue on my path. It was actually really great. The shoulder was nice and big, there were two lanes for cars, and there were no dirt bag kids following me aroumd trying to annoy me to death. I really think it was the nicest road I ridden down in SE Asia so far.
Fred is not doing to well. I'm actually pretty impressed that he made it throught the day. His tires are looking as bald as Homer Simpson. One of them has a slow leak, and as I'm out of spare tubes, I have to stop to pump it up every couple of hours. Only two of his gears are functioning properly, and they're low gears. It's not that bad. I can still maintain about 20km/h, but it means a lot of pedaling. I'm glad I opted to come straight to Hanoi instead of making a pit stop in Halong Bay. I think I'm more likely to find a bike shop here.
Hanoi is your typical big city. Everything is geared towards tourists and really overpriced. It's a busy place. Traffic is bad, but not as insane as Saigon. After checking into a hotel I decided to take a walk around and explore. Within ten minutes I got pick-pocketed. Not to worry. I realized it soon enough to chase the guy down and get my wallet back. I was a little surprised in myself for having the balls to do it. I think I've just reached a point where I'm not taking any more crap from the people here.
I can't really tell you the agenda for my up coming days. If I can get Fred fixed up soon, I might still take a trip out to Halong Bay. It's supposed to be quite beautiful. If it takes me a while to hunt down a decent bike shop though, I'll be heading straight to Laos. If I can't find one at all, I'll be taking the bus there.

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