We pedalled into Ho Chi Minh City yesterday and finally stopped riding. The contrast in 60km between the small towns of the Mekong Delta and the density and pollution of this city was remarkable. Cycling in the city’s traffic was frightening and we’d not want to repeat the experience again of negotiating the streams of scooters cascading in every direction about us. To try and ride into town safely we had to not hesitate, dither or slow down and always hold fast to our line of travel. Stuck in almost grid-locked traffic, surrounded with scooters and their exhausts, made us feel physically sick and noxious with the fumes. It was almost unbearable.
However, it feels momentous to have bicycled the length of Vietnam and around Cambodia. My bicycle shorts, that I’ve been wearing to ride for the last 6 months, have finally succumbed to the length of the journey. They are very worn and have started to tear everywhere. They’ve been fantastically comfortable and easy to wash and get dry as we’ve travelled. I’ve a spare replacement in KL which I’ll pickup as we head on to New Zealand in the New Year but I’m very sorry to see the old ones go. They’ve done every kilometre of the stats for SE Asia which are as follows:
- Distance ridden – 4,472km
- Days riding – 40.5
- Average daily distance – 110km
- Longest day – 150km Kampong Thom to Siem Reap
- Punctures – 01 at Dong Xoai
- Mechanicals – new saddle, broken mudguard fendor stay, jammed chain, sticky SPD pedal cleats, dodgy bottom bracket bearings, worn out bar tape and tyres. The last three items we’ll get fixed in KL or Auckland.
- Other touring cyclists – 15. We recently met Bruce and Andrea from Portland, Oregon, who were overlanding from Hanoi to Bangkok on foldable bicycles.