Our Sunday Bike Ride (a community activity of Vietnam Bike Tours) is gaining popularity and it is now catching the attention of several media. Last one was Tuoi Tre Cuoi Tuan, the Weekend magazine of Tuoi Tre, one of the most popular newspapers in Vietnam, specially in Ho Chi Minh City. The article, which made the front page, features the Sunday tour and highlights its singularity, it’s the only touristic tour on a bike offered for free. While there are a dozen of other groups who ride every Sunday, none of them focuses on the places to visit and they rather give importance to physical performance and training.
“The Sunday Bike Ride is very unique. We use the bike as mean of transportation to travel. Other groups they have a different mindset, focused on the sport. Ours is suitable for experienced cyclists and beginners. It’s not only about exercise. Exercise you can do it on your own”, says in the magazine Ngo Trong Huy, creator of the event in November 2013.
Huy also explains that the motivations are different for foreigners and Vietnamese who join the group.”Vietnamese like to do activities with groups, not alone. Joining the group is a motivation for them to encourage to ride longer and faster and they are also happy to meet foreigners, practice English. Also traveling is important for them because normally they are too busy and they have no time to travel”.
Huy thinks this Sunday activity helps build bridges between expats and local people, who often live in completely different universes. “Foreigners come because they want to explore the city and its surroundings and want to have a big connexion with the locals. Some foreigners who live here feel they miss more connection with the locals. It’s a way for them of connecting with the people in the city where they live, they want to learn about them, talk with them. Beside, they also find through us a place to cycle with a suitable group. Other groups in the city they usually go very fast, or they meet only in the mornining. For those who want a different experience, SBR is a god choice” he says.
In this long article, Huy also gives details about the rides and his plans to do 3 short rides and one long ride per month and about the charity rides, which were five last year. He is committed to that part of the tour, but he doesn’t want the riders to feel that they are forced to make a donation, so he tries to find a balance.
Huy shares also some funny experiences, like the surprise of some villagers when they sea the sweaty and muddy members of Sunday Bike Ride and they ask why they don’t simply go by car with aircon or at least by motorbike instead of torturing themselves. Despite these misperceptions from people, he is happy to see that in the last few years the number of riders is rising quickly in the city and he hopes it will keep going on.
One of the benefits of biking in which he insists more is the health improvement in a time when we tend to spend a lot of time seating down in front of a computer. That’s why he thinks the families of the cycling members of Sunday Bike Ride are happy even if sometimes they spend the whole weekend out. Now some of them spend the Saturday with their families and Sunday riding with their friends. And to show the family is happy, specially the couple, he says that “there is one who rides and two who are happy in the couple”.