Tour de Vietnam

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Dear Friends:

Being prepared with basic supplies is an important component of any long distance trip, but, just as equally important is adherence to health and safety guidelines in shouldering a road with other people.  Experience has taught us that neglect in the fundamental safeguards on the road can lead to a great deal of inconvenience and down time, not to mention bodily injury.  We like to share with you some basic health and safety advices when traveling on a two wheel journey across Vietnam.

1. Follow the Rules of the Road.  This is easily considered as the most fundamental rule when traveling on the road.  Not only is it important to abide by the rules of the road but one must also be cognizant to the surroundings.  A simple traffic movement on the road, if not done correctly, such as a left/right turn, or a lane change, or passing a vehicle can easily lead to an accident.  Even a small accident can easily cause bike damage and bodily harm... and the stress from the accident can sap the energy and motivation out of you.  Remember, when on the road, safety comes first!  Follow the rules of the road.

2. Be Especially Alert When Biking In Heavily Congested and Populated City Areas.   Pay attention to people and your surroundings when biking on roads heavily congested with other people.  It is important not to race your bike through these areas.  There is very little room to maneuver when the road is littered with people and vehicles.  Ride slowly and cautiously so that you minimize risk of accidents.  Riding fast and haphazardly can easily lead to disaster, putting yourself and others around you in harms way.

3. Be Mindful of Other Vehicles on the Road.  Having presence of mind to respect other vehicles on the road is important to your safety on the trip.  Remember, you do not own the road, and certainly, your bike is no match for mopeds, cars, trucks, and buses in a collision.  Likewise, your bike is of no match to them when it comes to speed.  So be aware that a vehicle can rapidly approach you from behind and likewise can come at you in the other direction head-to-head in no time at all.  Respect these vehicles.  Stay near and hug close to the side of the road with your bike to avoid accidents with them.

4. Stay Within Course of the Road.  Try not to veer too much away from the edge of the road.  You are on a bike with loaded panniers.  Veering in and out and side to side on the road can easily cause a loss of balance and create a hazard for you and other people and vehicles on the road.

5. Be Attentive to the Road.   The Road is not necessarily bicycle friendly.  Avoid potholes and running over rocks as much as possible.  Sharp objects such as broken glass and nails should be avoided if you don’t want a flat tire.  Biking in Vietnam requires extra attention to animals as they may be traversing on the same road with you.  Following the tire tracks, if possible, made from previously traveled bikes and mopeds is a recommended safe biking approach to avoid mishaps from potholes, rocks, glass, nails, etc…

6. Don’t Ride Together Side By Side.  The road in Vietnam is not wide.  Riding tandem in a side by side position takes up space, making it difficult for other vehicles to pass you or swerve around you.  Remember, you are sharing the road with a plethora of vehicles.  Space is a precious commodity.  Try to do your part in sharing that space with other people and vehicles on the road.  In addition, riding too closely behind each other is dangerous.  Give yourself some elbow room so you can brake and stop without hitting the other biker ahead of you.

7. Don’t Race.  We are bikers and not professional racers.  You are there to bike and see the country.  If you hastily speed your trip by riding ultra fast, you will miss out on the sceneries and people, in addition to experiencing early burn-out.  Our idea of biking is to be able to see and enjoy the country from the perspective of a local on a bicycle.

8. Be Extra Careful When Climbing And Decending Hills/Mountains.  Hill and Mountains are especially dangerous to bikers because of the climb and descent.  In Vietnam, you are sharing the road with everyone, including large heavy vehicles.  When climbing, you are going slowly.  In reverse, the large vehicle that is going in opposite direction is descending at very fast speed.  If you don’t pay attention and veer too much into the center of the road, you are bound to risk a head to head collision with the opposite vehicle.  Likewise, for descending downhill, but it will your bike going at fast speed hitting a slowly moving vehicle.  Advice for hills and mountain biking in Vietnam is to stay close to the curb when climbing and decrease the pace through usage of brakes when descending.

9. Don’t Day Dream!  You will experience many beautiful sceneries throughout the trans-Vietnam bike ride.  The coastal beaches, the lush green fields, the hills/mountains are all alluring to the eyes and senses.  But it is not a reason to day dream while riding.  By all means, if you see something so captivating, please stop and admire the sceneries.  Don’t continue to ride and be distracted.  Once you are distracted from the road, biking can only be a quick way to an accident.

10. Road Acccident Investigation: There is no dispute that road accidents in Vietnam have increased significantly in recent years.  There are many factors that contributed to the accidents such as unsafe traffic environment, unsafe driving behavior (DUI), limited knowledge of traffic rules.   Many people do not understand that these accidents are preventable.  When biking in Vietnam you will see accident investigation marking on the road that depict a road accident.   On the strech of a road that has many accident investigation markings you must be proactive to protect your safety.

11. Avoid Biking in the Dark.   The roads in Vietnam are for the most part not lighted at all.  We recommend not biking into the late evening when it can get dark fast.  On a non-lighted road, you will not be able to see the road, let alone what is ahead of you or behind you.  In case you have to ride in the dark, bring along a light, at a minimum a blinking LED light.

12. Individual Responsibility.  No one in the bike group can take care of your health and safety more than you can take care of your self.  Health and safety should always be at the top of your list.

We wish you success