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Three years of Sunday Bike Ride!

It feels like it was yesterday but it has been already three years since the Sunday Bike Ride started n Ho Chi Minh City  since then we had the chance to welcome riders every Sunday, discover new places in our city, make new friends, enjoy the slow pace cycling and, in short, enjoying. Many of us can no longer understand Sundays without the Sunday Bike Ride and this enthusiasm has allowed us to expand to Nha Trang and Hue and keep expanding the passion for cycling in this country.

3rd-bitrthday-sbrThe ones who joined on Sunday November 6  had the chance to do a 50km round trip ride around the city, before the birthday party in Dong Tao tearoom. We had the chance to cycle through Ben Thanh Market, Phu My Birdge, Dong Van Con, Mai Chi Tho, the Thu Thiem bridge and finsih our ride in front of Dong Tao tearoom, where we had a nice party, enjoyed food, beers and chatting with one another. Events like this remind us that biking is about exercise, it’s about discovering new places and cultures, it’s about moving in a respectful way for the environment but it’s also about developing a special relationship with your fellow riders. Cycling is often pictured as an individualistic sports, as opposed to collective sports such as football or basketball, but as much as this can be true, it is also a great way of making friends. Only those who have discovered new places with fellow riders, who helped or were helped when they had any problem on the road, who know that experiences on the bike often become better when you are with the right people will understand this. Cycling is a sports, but more than that, it is a way of life. Happy birthday to the Sunday Bike Ride and hoping for many more years to come.

Cycle Laos with us


Committed to our goal of uniting cyclists in Vietnam and in neighboring countries, in November at Vietnambiketours we are organizing our special ASEA Sunday Bike Ride, which is taking us to Laos, where we will have a great chance to discover its capital city, Vientiane, on a bicycle and with the best possible tour guides: local cyclists. This small country is really unknown for many Vietnamese and foreigners and this is a great opportunity to have a glimpse of it. Here is the schedule of this 4 days and 3 nights trip from November19th to 22nd.

November 19
We will fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Vientiane, Laos capital city. This days we will only have time to do a quick tour around the city before enjoying our dinner.

November 20
It’s the big day, the main reason why we organize this trip. We will be part of a biking event with a local cyclist club. It will be a great opportunity to discover Vientiane on a bicycle and to make new friends who share our same passion for biking. We believe cycling can help our countries get closer and also make new friends.  Organized in cooperation with Asean Cycling Club and Laos Cycling Federation, it will be a non-profit tour that will help us build stronger ties with those who love cycling and promote peace in the region and in the world. After that, the ones who feel like it can play a badminton game.

November 21
We will start the day with a city tour around Vientiane, you can choose to make it by bike or by bus if you got too tired the previous day. We will always recommend the bike, but the bus will be available if you need to rest or you want to enjoy the air conditioned. The rest of the day we can take our time to go around, buy some souvenirs and keep discovering a country that was a total mystery until not so long ago.

November 22
It’s the end. After breakfast we will go to the airport and end our tour in Laos.

The cost will be 199 USD per person, including 3 nights in a 3 star hotel, meals (3 dinners, 2 lunches and 3 breakfasts), cycling shirt, transport airport transfers and daily events and certificate. It doesn’t include the airfare, you can book your flight here: . You can register here until October 19.

5 signs you are getting dehydrated

Photo by Okolo Třeboně. CC BY-SA 3.0

When we go out on the bike, specially in a hot country like Vietnam, it’s good to keep ourselves hydrated, stop as many times as we need to have some water or juices and be wary about any sign that shows a possible dehydration. With the tropical weather a dehydration can soon become serious if you are riding a bike.Dehydration of 1 to 2 percent of body weight is bad for your performance, but if it goes over 3 percent of your body weight, your body will be less responsive, and you will have higher risk of  heat cramps or heat exhaustion. Loss of 5 percent or more body weight can result in heat stroke.  Here are five signals you should watch to avoid this

1 You are more than thirsty
As obvious as this may seem, some riders tend to push their limits and not bring that extra water bottle or to wait too much before they stop and refill. Wether you are cycling alone or in a group, don’t hesitate if you need to stop and reload your fluids tank. You should never come to the point when you are this thirsty, but if you are, take your time to drink and rest for your body to recover.

2 Fast heart rate
When you work out our heart rate is faster, but if you notice a pace faster than the usual by 20 or 30 beats per minute, it may be an early sign of dehydration.

3 Pinch your skin
If you pinch the skin, for example in your forearm or wrist, and if it doesn’t spring back right away, you may be getting dehydrated.

4 You feel cramps
When you cycle in the heat, your body doesn’t only release water when you sweat, also electrolytes and minerals and that’s why your muscles may start aching and you may feel cramps. If you do, stop and drink.

5 Dark urine
If your urine is dark and almost orange, it’s a clear sign you don’t have enough fluids in your body. It may happen after a long time without going to the toilet. The best solution is, of course, a lot of water. Don’t drink coffee, as it may make things worse.

Cycling to save these children

Photo from Tuoi Tre News

All of us know cycling is great and we don’t need any further reason to get on a bike and have fun but we always like people who do it for a good cause and we always support any idea that links cycling to helping people. And that’s why we have to support Cycling for 16, the amazing 16 days cycling trip through Vietnam by Scott Kirkham, who wants to get funds to save the lives of 32 children with congenital heart disease who cannot afford the surgery they need to live. As Scott explains, these children desperately need the treatment, which cost 1,200 USD per child (but their families only make about 50USD per month). Kirk wants to raise 38,400 USD to help these children, to save them from a “slow and painful death that their families would helplessly watch”. You can help here.

Scott is not the kind who would just sign a petition for help on, post on Facebook and keep on with his life: he decided to cross 1,600 km across Vietnam to raise money and save the lives. If cycling through Vietnam seems to be a good thing to do whatever is the reason, doing it for these children is just being a hero.”I am a simple guy who is a husband, a dad to two healthy young children (thankfully), and I just want to make a difference to help save the lives of some very sick children here in Vietnam”, he saus. We certainly need more simple men like him.

We all have a lot expenses, a new smart phone to buy and a new vacation to prepare, but a 30 USD (or more, of course) donation won’t make a difference to you and, if we all help, it can be huge for these children, it can simply save their lives. It’s not every day that you can help saving a life, knowing exactly where your money is going and how it will be used.

If you want to know more, you can follow Kirk’s adventure on Facebook, he just started his adventure in Hanoi. There you can also find details to do a bank transfer:

Here, more information about Heart Vietnam:

Cycling is good even if there is pollution

It is no secret that Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City start have a problem with air pollution. It’s not that bad in the South these days thanks to the rain, but there are times when it can be worrying to get out there and breathe the fumes of the thousands of cars and motorbikes that flock the streets everyday. Yes, we can use masks despite the heat, but it is reasonable to wonder if the harm of pollution will be higher than the benefits from exercise you get when you cycle. Our slogan is “Climate change, ride a bike” for a reason, we want  a cleaner world, but not at the expense of our own health. Fortunately, it looks like cycling (exercise) is always good, despite the polluted air. At least this is the biggest finding by a group of researchers from the University of Cambridge.

However, according to their research, there is a point after which the benefits of cycling don’t increase even if we keep cycling and another breaking point, when they become smaller than the harm that the air can cause. In Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world (much more than Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City) after 30 minutes the exercise will cease bringing benefits and after one hour it would become more harmful than good. In Hanoi or Saigon the pollution is usually about half the one in Delhi, so cycling in the city would cause more good than harm after two hours.


graphic benefits bike pollution

And there is another factor, wether you cycle or not, you are in the city, you breathe the same air. One of the authors of the study said in this interesting piece in Quartz magazine, “we are not disputing the fact that air pollution kills,” said James Woodcock, one of the authors of the study. “[But] it would do so even when you are sitting at home. What we find is that being physically active, even in polluted cities, can cut that risk. So it’s a win-win.” In short, get on your bike, it’s always better than not doing it. And anyway, we would always advise to get tours or ride outside the city, the countryside is way more exciting for cyclists! 


Meet tour guide Le Tan Phuc


Tour guide Le Tan Phuc is the kind of person you want to be with when you are on vacation. After meeting him for a few minutes, you feel you are loaded with energy and you can achieve all your dreams. No doubt you need that sort of energy when you are cycling under the Vietnamese heat.

This 29-year-old young man has been a tour guide for the last five years and he couldn’t be happier about it. When he was younger, in his Mekong Delta village in the province of Dong Thap few believed he could achieve his dream of becoming a tourguide in the city. he didn’t listen. He studied college in Saigon. He felt his English was very weak so he decided to work as a waiter in Pham Ngu Lao, the backpacker’s area in Saigon. After one year he was offered to be a cycling tourguide for Vietnambiketours. He did well and got more and more tours. He loves it.

“I like a lot cycling tour guide. It’s good for the environment. I imagine if everybody in this city cycled, the air would be much cleaner. It’s good for health. And when you cycle you get to see more. If I didn’t have this job I would miss a lot in my life. In my village I discover things, I get to small roads with my bike and my friends and parents don’t know when it is”, he says.

Cycling is getting popular in Vietnam but for Phuc cycling has always been part of his life. He had no choice. As a child, he used to cycle everyday to school 45 minutes to go, 45 minutes to go back. When he got older, he used to help in the rice field after school. He knows what it is to work under the sun, to carry heavy sacks of rice. “Farming is very hard. My father said I ran away from it”, he recalls. Compared to that cycling long distances is like a game. Maybe that’s why he sometimes feels the need to challenge himself and cycles from his village to Saigon in one day. 160 kilometers. 8 hours on the bike, under the sun. That’s one of the reasons why he is so fit during the tours.

Phuc has a good reason to keep returning to his village every 3 weeks. His wife and his 2-year-old son still live there. He plans to help them move in the future, but so far it’s not possible. When he misses them, he is lucky to share time with the tourists, enjoy with them and learn from their culture. “They help me to learn English and I also learn from their cultures. When we do the long tours, some of them are crying when they have to say goodbye”, he tells.

Phuc keeps learning from his own country as he cycles with the tourists and he is thankful for his job. If he had to choose a tour to discover Vietnam he wouldn’t be sure, but he thinks the Mekong delta is a good introduction, specially for tourists not specially fit. “In the Mekong there are a lot of different places”, he says.

If you want to learn more about him you can see him in this great video.

Phong Nha, the new gem of Vietnam


Until 2013, Phong Nha was just a small village where some cave enthusiasts used to go and discover the wonderful caves there. It was mostly a destination for local tourists who ventured on the boat tours to Phong Nha caves or dared to go to other sites that require more adventure, like Paradise cave. Then, suddenly, foreign tourists started to flow, and two years later it had become the second most popular destination for foreigners after Halong Bay, according to Lonely Planet.

How was that possible? Well, it is no coincidence that Phong Nha is the closest village to Soon Dong, the biggest cave in the world, which was just discovered in 2009 by a team of British explorers with the indispensable help of a local man named Ho Khanh. This gave a lot of publicity to the place, and although the tours inside Soon Dong are limited and very expensive, it allowed tourists to discover the other caves around, which are also wonderful and can be trekked in one day (two or three days for more distant ones, such as Hang En or Thu Lan).

The once quiet rural village where kids died of starvation 20 years ago is now a bustling village where everyone wants a share in the tourism boom. As you walk (or better, pedal) through the main street you will go through dozens of newly born hotels and restaurants that publicize western food, pizza, beer and hamburgers, with charming spelling mistakes, seeming to be the biggest hits.

But why are we talking about this in a blog about cycling? Because aside from this tourism gold rush there is another striking fact in the country of motorbikes: most tourists move around by bicycle. All homestays and hotels offer bikes for rent and it’s common to see groups of Western boys and girls in their twenties pedaling around the town by bicycles. The sportiest ones venture into the countryside with the bikes and park them in front of some of the caves near the road. It’s difficult to find a better place for cycling: there is barely any car, you are surrounded by nature and even the climate seems to help, the mountains bringing some fresh air (except during the hottest months in the summer). If you are in central Vietnam and you like cycling, it can be a good choice. You can even try cycling there from Hue; you can rent a bike in our office there if you don’t have one with you.

Join us in Hoian

hoian fb

Following our dream to be present in the main tourist spots in Vietnam, since last month we have one more office in Hoian. As usual, one of our goals will be to connect with local cyclists, both locals and foreigners, both expats and tourists, and help people discover the wonderful potential of Hoian and Danang region. It is very common to see groups of tourists with their bikes along the rice fields or in the ancient town of Hoian, a perfect place for bikes. But we want to go a bit further and discover some of the secret gems for cycling in the area. We like discovering the countryside, but also the cultural treasures, and they are a lot in the area. For instance, yesterday, in the second Sunday Bike Ride in Hoian, we had a wonderful ride to Tra Que Herb Village, where after an interesting ride you can experiment being a farmer, preparing rice paper or cooking in the traditional style from the center. From Hoian you can easily pedal to My Son Heritage site, where you can discvoer some ancient Cham culture structures that survived through the centuries, go to Lang Co bay and Hue or go further South to Nha Trang.

hoian addThe office will also be a starting point for cycling tours in the region, one more possibility of exploring the center after the one in Hue. Those who need to rent bikes will be able to enjoy our GT Avalanche, with 27,5 inches wheels, or the bigger Karakorum elite with 29 inches wheels. Both are very comfortable off road and feel very light when you are on the road.  And because we value safety more than anything, the helmets we offer are not just ok helmets, but very good Giro Hex with a market price over 100 USD.

There is no excuse to miss the chance to visit Hoian with a new perspective from the saddle! Don’t miss our office in 162/22b Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoi An (0974131032).