A Midlife Woman, Vietnam and a Bicycle

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bike in Vietnam
A bicycle and a midlife daredevil

It is one thing to cycle through Vietnam between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City – another thing altogether to cycle in 35+ heat and 40+ humidity. Madness you think and you would be right but this midlife woman decided a bout of crazy cycling was just what she needed.

With 18 year old son in tow, who naively agreed to accompany his mother for two weeks of cycling, we landed in Hanoi. The heat was already stifling walking around the city and it was only then that the realisation of how hot the trip was going to be hit us.

However, meeting up with the rest of the tour assured us that we weren’t the only crazy ones as there were six others also coming along for the ride.

We set off for a 30 kms cycle around Hanoi as a warm up. This got the adrenaline going as dodging cars and motorcycles became second nature. There are few traffic lights in Hanoi so you have to be very, very careful when you ride. However, we all made it through intact and ready for our first 70km journey the next day.

This day was tough, followed by an even tougher day of hills and heat. Luckily there were rest stops every 20kms or so with fruit, snacks and drinks to regain our energy.  As we moved from Hanoi to Hue it got a lot hotter and the first few days of cycling seemed easy compared to the temperature now confronting us.

Riding in this heat does zap your energy and you are covered in sweat from the moment you start pushing the pedals. However, there is a real sense of achievement at the conclusion of each ride as you realise that the conditions you are riding in is often used for professional athlete training.

We still have another week of cycling ahead and I’m sure there will be a lot more sweat to come.

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Sue Bell

Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.

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