Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Bike Ride Day 1 - Hanoi to Pho Rang

Distance: 235km
Time: 8:30 - 7:30 (9 hours riding)

We set off from Choo’s very nice apartment in Hanoi (thank you Choo for letting us stay).

We took Highway 32 north-west towards Yen Bai. Getting out of Hanoi was busy but cleared up as we got further out. There were road works on the outskirts which didn’t help either. It briefly improved but then it only got worse, and continued like this most of the way to Yen Bai; sore bums were the order of the day! They had obviously decided to rebuild this whole section of the road which we found out a little too late, I’m sure it’ll be a great road in a year or so! We should have gone the other way! So after god knows how many miles of gravel road with lots of potholes thrown in the inevitable happened, a puncture of course. Luckily there was a “sua xe” not too far down the road but we still had to unload our bags and push the bike there. At this stage, we were both a sweaty mess! Anyway, the puncture was swiftly fixed as we ate our packed lunches!

At the repair place, Abby shared the toilet with 2 cute puppies and piglets – having a piss with the pigs!

The remaining bumpy road got us to Yen Bai where we joined H70 (A16 as it’s now called) via H37 and we finally had some nice roads. The roads twisted up and down the hills which was great fun to drive on but was a bit spoiled by the trucks, buses and worse of all the 4WDs driving like idiots (no change there then). We arrived in Pho Rang as it was getting dark and came across a guest house which was basic but would do. We were a bit ripped off for dinner; 50 kVND for tofu and rice which we had to bargain down from 70. This we would normally get for less than 30 in HCMC. I thought the countryside was supposed to be cheaper!

And now we’re in bed stiff and sore from 9 hours riding. At least tomorrow we only have 130kms to Sa Pa. Let’s hope there are no more road works!

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