I had bought a bike, but there was only one small problem.. The engine.
As it turns out, I should of listened to the two very persistent Vietnamese gentlemen when I was viewing the bike. They repeatedly pointed to the engine and shook their heads, even going as far as showing my an image of a head gasket. As with many Vietnamese merchants, I thought they were attempting to scam me.. they weren’t.
This is how I met Vihn - an absolute champion of a mechanic. I left my bike with him and he gave me a scooter to borrow in the interim.
Later that day, I was eating dinner at The Crazy Dutch when I overheard two British guys talking about a motorbike trip to Hanoi. So naturally I joined in and asked about their plans - Lewis and Luke told me they we’re considering the trip but they didn’t know how to ride.
“What better place to learn how to ride a motorbike than Ho Chi Minh City.. Right?”
After convincing them I would teach them how to ride manual, we decided to join forces and tackle Vietnam together.
I took them to Vihn’s house, Luke and Lewis each bought their own shitty bike. I had also negotiated a cheaper repair for my bike since I brought Vihn business, so that worked well for me too!
Hitting the road. (Literally)
We woke at 4.30AM to avoid peak traffic - We packed our gear, stockpiled water and filled our bikes with premium Vietnamese fuel. With only 18 kilometers of a corrugated iron jungle between us and the open road, we set off on the adventure!
But first, a crash.
Being the most experienced rider, I rode behind the pack and arguably got the best view for the event about to unfold. Just picture this with me - This intersection had 4 streets, 8 Lanes each. Each red light was littered with hundreds of motorbikes anxiously waiting for the green; we sat at the front.
Lights Change. Everything is normal, we’re in the middle of the intersection until I hear Luke’s engine roaring! He’s got the clutch engaged, the bike is revving like mad.
“Don’t let the clutch go, Don’t let the clutch go, Don’t let the clutch go!”
He drops the clutch like a hot oven tray, the bike fucking soars into the air doing a half a back flip and slams Luke into the tarmac!
I stop my bike in front of his, shielding him from the stampede of traffic whizzing past us, I make sure he’s dandy and we pull our bikes to the side of the road.
Tis but a scratch. I kick his bent foot pedals back into an acceptable shape, we take a breath and continue.
That was the first crash we experienced in Vietnam.
Arriving in Vietnam and finding a bike
Escaping Ho Chi Minh
How much can I possibly take with me
Planning for the trip of Oz