From the moment we started riding through Ho Chi Minh's (Saigon) wild busy streets, we knew we had to absolutely send it straight into the cycle touring deep-end to enjoy Vietnam by bike. Our route took us through the Mekong Delta and we pieced it together on the fly. Here are the thoughts, maps and logistics of our trip.
Trading in the Fat Wheels: 6 Must Haves for Your First Cycle Tour Weekend
Recently, four brave, bike-loving friends of mine assembled to join me on a weekend cycle touring trip. We set out at first light from Whistler, BC on a Saturday morning and returned 3 days later after 3 ferry crossings, 480 kilometers of coastal roads and some staggering elevation gain/loss. For most of us, we preferred our views from the crest of loam-clad trails, but the call of adventure and draw of spending all day on a bike (no matter what bike it was) prevailed.
Best. Decision. Ever.
So, if you’ve caught the bug to explore, here are my 5 must haves for your first weekend cycle trip:
- Take what you can pack in a Bike Frame Bag & Handle Bar Bag: The lighter your bike the longer you can ride (added weight = more fatigue). We opted to stay in hostels and only took what we could fit
- Chamois Butter: This little gem is a standalone. Even if it sounds weird, buy it. Lather it on every morning. You’ll thank me. Mind the menthol – the cool minty fresh feeling isn’t for everyone.
- Electronics: Bring all the necessary cables to keep your phone, camera and GPS watch charged and a single wall mount so you can switch back and forth when on ferries or at the hostel/hotel.
- Change of clothes: Yes, one change of clothes. To keep it light I packed flip flops, loose comfortable pants & top plus a light weight jacket for those ferry rides and road side snack breaks.
- Split the effort: If you’re going with multiple riders (and you should, it’s more fun!), split up tools, spare tubes between the group. This way you’re traveling light and still have enough to support each other between any emergency bike shop stops.
- Food & Water: I found that two bottles kept me hydrated between food stops. Bring electrolyte tabs as they take up less space than powder and stock up on gels/blocks/bars at the beginning of each day. In rural areas you may not have a chance to grab those short burst energy snacks. No food means no fuel.