Tour de Vietnam


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2005 Cycling Trip (Mống Cái-Cà Mau)

 11/22/2005 marks the start of the fourth trans-Vietnam bike trip.  Unlike previous bike rides, this trip spans the entire country of Vietnam, literally from tip to tip.  Five members signed on for the ride (Minh, Tan, Hung, Ky, Ham), along with a support guide (Dinh), and a local friend (Hai Pham – Minh’s cousin).  On this trip, we utilized one road bike, four touring bikes, and two motor bikes.

The roads covered in the 2005 trans-Vietnam bike route ran adjacent or near the proximity to the ocean waters.  We intentionally planned the route this way because the landscape is more picturesque, and the weather is cooler.  We began the ride in Mong Cai, a small town bordering China.  Within minutes of Mong Cai is another town, Tra Co, where we stood at the edge of the ocean waters and literally saw China across the waters.  At this point, we were truly at the northern tip of Vietnam.  Along the way, we would again tackle the highland, mountain ranges of Vietnam.  Our ride to the highlands, incidentally, coincided with the flower festival of Dalat.  This was the first flower festival ever held in Dalat, and we got a chance to participate in this festive event.  Our journey would end at the southern tip of Vietnam in the city of Ca Mau, another small bustling town.

The 2005 trans-Vietnam bike ride carried with it all the flavors and elements of what we envisioned in a trans-Vietnam bike ride.  Undoubtedly, it was the longest in terms of distance and time of all our bike rides.  We covered over 2200 km of road, and it took us approximately five weeks to complete the trip.  For the most part, we came better prepared for this ride than previously.  Most members used touring bikes, the type of bike designed to withstand all the rigors of the road.  We also had good weather on our side.  Instead of a scorching sun, most biking days were completed under a cloudy sky.  This allowed us to ride in relatively cool weather.  Somedays, especially in central Vietnam, we rode under a rainy sky, which most of us didn’t mind because rain in Vietnam is the bearable warm type, not the overly cold, gusty rain that we are used to here in the U.S..  Like the previous rides, we again met all the challenges of the hills and mountains encountered along the way.

A memorable note on this 2005 trip was that in Northern and Central Vietnam, we encountered an abundance of children who enthusiastically cheered us on as we ride.  In many instances, these children would curiously run along side us.  In our wake and not seeing many locals tour the country via bike, they refer to us in name as “Tay” or “Westerner”.  Although all of us are Vietnam born, we found the label amusing and partially true.  In a true sense, not many locals have the type of bicycle or the physical training/condition to venture such a journey.   So the kids label us as “Westerners” is justified.  On the other hand, when we see local farmers, men and women, riding rickety bikes loaded to the rim with produce, we are reminded that there are local bicyclists in Vietnam who can easily phantom such a journey on old, worn out bicycles… and that even with our custom bike and panniers, we are small and pale in comparison to these individuals.  It is only through being on the road riding side by side with these individuals in the wee hours of the morning while they are on the way to market did we realize the tenacity and strength of the local people.  To these individuals who use their loaded bike as a mean to travel and make a living, we can’t help but have a deep sense of respect for them.

Date
(dd-mm-yyyy)

Itinerary

Distance

23/11/2005

Móng Cái-Tiên Yên

83 km (53 miles)

24/11/2005

Tiên Yên-Bải Cháy (Hạ Long)

90 km (56 miles)

25/11/2005

Rest day at Bải Cháy


26/11/2005

Bải Cháy-Hải Phòng

58 km (36 miles)

27/11/2005

Hải Phòng-Nam Định

92 km (57 miles)

28/11/2005

Nam Định-Thanh Hóa

92 km (57 miles)

29/11/2005

Thanh Hóa-Vinh

138 km (86 miles)

30/11/2005

Vinh-Xã Kỳ Nam

127 km (79 miles)

01/12/2005

Xã Kỳ Nam-Đồng Hới

71 km (44 miles)

02/12/2005

Đồng Hới-Huế

164 km (102 miles)

03/12/2005

Rest day at Huế


04/12/2005

Huế-Đà Nẵng

106 km (66 miles)

05/12/2005

Đà Nẵng-Quảng Ngãi

130 km (81 miles)

06/12/2005

Quảng Ngãi-Bồng Sơn

90 km (56 miles)

07/12/2005

Bồng Sơn-Quy Nhơn

90 km (56 miles)

08/12/2005

Quy Nhơn-Tuy Hòa

95 km (59 miles0

09/12/2005

Tuy Hòa-Nha Trang

124 km (77 miles)

10/12/2005

Rest day at Nha Trang


11/12/2005

Nha Trang-Phan Rang

106 km (66 miles)

12/12/2005

Phan Rang-Đà Lạt

106 km (66 miles)

13/12/2005

Rest day at Đà Lạt


14/12/2005

Đà Lạt-Bảo Lộc

111 km (69 miles)

15/12/2005

Bảo Lộc-Sài Gòn

185 km (115 miles)

16/12/2005

Rest day at Sài Gòn


17/12/2005

Sài Gòn-Cần Thơ

171 km (106 miles)

18/12/2005

Cần Thơ-Cà Mau

174 km (108 miles)

Distance from Mong Cai to Ca Mau is 2410 km (1440 miles); Divided into 21 stages; Completed in 26 days.