The US, where biking has been steadily growing in popularity is an important market and Robert Moore is now our representative there. In his new position Moore will try his best to find trips that suit the needs of the clients. “A trip needs to suit their riding style and let them see the part of Vietnam that interests them”, he says.
For Vietnambiketours it’s an honor to work with Robert, as he was one of the first travelers who cycled with us back in 2010. Ngo Trong Huy, our chairman, was his tourguide then and this is how their friendship started. He has travelled from Saigon to Hanoi and has also explored the Mekong Delta. After selling the Marketing and Publishing house he owned in the US for more than 30 years, he has “changed directions and never looked back”.
Moore is aware that Vietnam still evokes nasty memories for many Americans and he wants to assure everyone about traveling here. “The people are friendly, the food is amazing and the country is absolutely beautiful.” However, the perception of Vietnam is already changing, specially among young people, and the war is no longer the first thing that comes to their minds when they hear the world Vietnam. “I believe the people who came of age in the 60’s and 70’s still think of the war first. They grew up seeing the war on the news every night and those memories are still with them. For younger people, they are certainly aware of the history, but its just that history. They see Vietnam as a new and exciting place to explore, not a history lesson.”
These words are said by a true American, a Texan from birth who still lives in Dallas, the place he calls home. Having traveled himself through Vietnam he strongly urges anyone interested in knowing the country to consider getting on a bike “even if it is just a day tour.” “On a bike -he says- you will get much more of a sense of place, a sense of what it is like for the people who live there.”
For himself as a traveler, Vietnam is “both a history lesson and an exciting place to explore.” After doing bike tours in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Spain, Cuba, Lebanon, and Canada, he considers Asia his favorite part of the world and he specially loves Vietnam. Although the interest for Vietnam is growing in the US, he is aware that the kind of tours Vietnambiketours offers are more focused on biking enthusiasts who had some experience in cycling tours even if they are not avid cyclists. In short, people who like exploring the world from their seatpost. “Most of my clients are cyclists who have done cycle tours in other countries and loved it. They understand how traveling a country on a bike gets you a perspective that you simply cannot get if you are whizzing through in a car or bus. For any one who enjoys travel outside of the tourist bubble, biking offers a great option”, explains Moore.
The numbers say many Americans could be interested in soing cycling tours in Vietnam. As Moore highlights, in 2014 about 47 million Americans went cycling in the last 12 months. In 2014 there were 18 million new bikes sold in the US. “It’s easy to see that cycling is popular in the US. The states with warmer weather, in the South and the East and West coasts report higher cycling participation, but biking is popular in every state”, he tells us.
Robert is himself a biking enthusiast, an activity he has learned to love in the last ten years and that he enjoys couple of times a week. His love affair with biking started just for convenience reasons, but it grew into a passion. “Ten years ago I moved into a new house. The best biking trails in the city ran right behind that house. Several of my neighbors were cyclists and encouraged me to get a bike and join them out on the trails. That developed into joining in on bike rallies and doing longer multi-day rides. I love it a lot”, he recalls. Aside from biking, Robert also enjoys photography, a hobby he tries to bring to the next level by practicing and attending workshops.
If he had to choose a place in Vietnam, he wouldn’t have doubts: the Mekong Delta. Not because it’s flat but because of its human interest: “Life in the delta is different than the rest of Vietnam. Riding through the jungle and crossing the rivers on little ferries, seeing the people who live and work on their boats, its all so interesting to me”.