Street vendors on bicycles can be found the length and breadth of Vietnam. We speak to four two-wheeled vendors to find out more about their lives and why they do what they do.
After cajoling a bunch of foreign riders to compete in this years Den Hung MTB Cup, Jon Aspin got lazy and asked one of them to file a report. Here’s what happened. Preface by Jon Aspin. Report by Andrew Whitmarsh
CYCLING & ACCESSORIES
250 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6405
The go-to location for all your cycling needs in District 2. Sells a range of brands including Cannondale, Jett, GT and Aluboo, as well as the full selection of accessories. Organises regular cycle rides, does repairs and rentals. Check facebook.com/thebikeshopvn for more details.
Mr. Hai owns the bicycle repair shop at 70 Bui Huu Nghia (‘Bicycle Street’) in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Thanh District. In his spare time he makes custom bikes for cyclists who are looking for something unique, but don’t want to spend millions on name-brand frames.
Balance bikes aren’t only great first bikes for your two to five-year-old — they were the first bikes ever used. But with the pass of centuries, they’re no longer the creaky things from old-timey movies, now they’re of the sturdy kind that the FirstBIKE Balance Bike is made from — although few compare with this new entrant to the Vietnamese market.
Armed with saddlebags and a tent, Charlie Paterson is cycling from London to Tasmania. He’s certainly not the first person to pedal across the globe, but his story is one of the more intriguing.
RENTALS & SALES
29 Nhat Chieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 3156
Bicycle fanatics of Vietnam probably wouldn’t describe Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi as a cycle friendly metropolis, but with the Positive Mass bicycle parade embarking from bpth the Opera House in HCMC and Saint Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi on Oct 25, that just might change.
A man cycles past as I sit on my mini plastic stool to eat banh mi trung. He is topless with a flopping gut, but his calves are the size of tree trunks. He’s on a Pinarello, VND50 million worth of kit, and it’s the second time I’ve seen him in as many days, out for his early morning exercise.