We know it doesn’t sound very credible if we are the ones who encourage you to join Sunday Bike Ride. That’s why in this post, the blogger will abandon the usual corporate tone of previous posts and tell his personal experience during the ride last Sunday, November 2, when we were celebrating our first birthday. It was my first time, and for sure it won’t be the last. Here are a few reasons for you to join with me.
1) Saigon early morning
I admit that waking up at 5:30 AM on a Sunday morning doesn’t sound very attractive to possible new riders, and this is one of the reasons that had kept me from trying Sunday Bike Ride before. There is always someone ready to drink some beers on a Saturday night and discourage you from waking up early to take your bike. But it is really worth it. As I was cycling towards the meeting point in Ben Thanh Market at 6AM I was rediscovering a very quiet Saigon, with a gentle breeze under a clear blue sky, a cleaner air and barely any traffic. Waking up at this time I could still see the picturesque image of people doing their exercise in the park or a surprising group of Vietnamese boy scouts who were just camping with their tent in a middle of a sidewalk in a park. Sure, I could have been sleeping but I’m happy I didn’t.
2) Meet great people
Since I parked my bike in the roundabout in front of Ben Thanh Market and joined the riders who were waiting there I could feel the relaxed atmosphere, the genuine friendliness of all the members. They’re all ready to greet the newcomers and make sure they are fine. You will meet foreigners and locals, of all ages: the youngest rider, the amazing Khang, was just 13 years old (don’t be fooled by his height, he is a terrific cyclist) and the oldest… well, we are not going to be impolite.
3) Learn about Vietnamese culture
Sunday Bike ride really tries to bring Vietnamese culture closer to foreigners or to whoever is interested. It’s not only about the bike. Last Sunday, for instance,. we took 15 minutes to visit, in a hidden street near the airport, the monument to Phan Chu Trinh, an early 20th century Vietnamese nationalist. He died in 1926, if you want to know more about him click here.
This should be obvious but it still needs to be highlighted. Last Sunday was a bit special since we were celebrating the anniversary and we didn’t go very far, but I still ended up doing 62km when I went back home. it is really true that all levels are welcome as long as you know how to ride a bike. We did several stops for pho and for coffee, and we were pedaling at a gentle pace, with occasional sprints for fun if you want to challenge a friend. I liked it that I could see any kind of bicycle, from a very old road bike with the gears levers on the down to modern mountain bikes, cyclo-cross bikes, touring… Most of the ride was on the road so there were no issues with the different kinds of tires.
5) It’s fun!
I think it’s been very clear through this post that it is really fun. If your goal is just to improve your physical condition and train to compete in triathlons, then this is not for you. If what you want is to cycle, meet people, discover unknown things of Vietnam, enjoy the local food and have fun, you shouldn’t wait any longer. Come and join, you won’t regret it!