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The Bike and Brunch Newsletter

Good Morning Bike & Brunch

While many of us spent January and February thinking about biking, Bike & Brunch member Gary Cohen wound up doing something about it. It's not even April yet and Gary has already amassed over 800 miles for 1997. Here's his story:

Having been frequently bitten by the traveling bug, it was not too surprising a few years ago when I started thinking about Vietnam for my next trip. About the same time I also caught the cycling bug so it only seemed natural that my next road trip would entail bicycling in Vietnam. So in February I packed up my road bike and joined approximately twenty others on a two-week Vietnamese adventure. Averaging about 65 miles a day of riding, I got to see a bit of the country between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (the City formerly known as Saigon).

The countryside varied from long stretches of nice flat terrain to some climbs leaving me yearning for a granny gear. Even Steve, and other hill climbers, would have been impressed with the mountain passes, replete with switchbacks and runaway truck ramps.

Biking in north Vietnam was particularly pleasurable with throngs of kids running to the roadside just to say hello to the westerners on bikes. (The effects of the unofficial prophylactic shortage of 1992 was evident with the majority of the children appearing to be around five years of age.)

Stopping alongside the road usually resulted in curious onlookers gathering around - with the cycle computers being a particular item of inquiry. Although some of the bikers initially complained about being the center of constant attention and feeling compelled to respond to incessant greetings, their tune soon changed as we made our way into south Vietnam and we were no longer treated to such a degree of adoration.

Nevertheless, the people were always genuinely friendly. It was hard to believe that yesterday's war (conflict) zone is today's holiday hot spot.

For those interested, biking trips to Vietnam (and other countries) are organized by Cycle Vietnam, Portland, Oregon. Please feel free to E-Mail me (envirlaw@erols.com) or catch me on a B&B ride if you would like any further information.