It has been a while since I made a nice long trip with my bicycle. I did a four day trip through the Ardennes during the ascention day weekend back in May and I planned to make a trip around Iceland during the 2017 summer. However due to 2017 being a busy running year for me I decided to skip the Iceland trip. After doing all three distances on the The Hague CPC at the beginning of March, the Rotterdam Marathon in the middle of April and the RoPaRun in the first weekend of June, I decided that my body was just too tired to do a three week cycling tour during the last three weeks of June. Especially with the prospect of doing the New York Marathon in November 2017. I came to this conclusion after my weekend in the Ardennes, which showed that with all the running I did, I actually lost my cycling legs :,-(
Athough 2017 was a very good running year for me, i’m really excited to make a nice trip on my bicycle again! So here’s the plan! For my job i’m currently expatriated to Ha Long in the North of Vietnam. My collegues and me have been here for a little over two months to help our client finish a big construction project. When my employer asked me whether I would be interested in relocating abroad I only had one condition, which was that I would be allowed to bring my bicycle. Of course that was not a problem, so now i’m here 🙂
On the 16th of February the Vietnamese will celebrate the first day of the Lunar new year and the start of the Spring, locally called Tét Nguyên Đán, or Tet in short. Between the 15th of February and the 22nd of February all Vietnamese will have Tet Holidays, during which all construction work stops. As there is little for me to do here during the Tet Holidays, and as my employer only pays a fixed amount of tickets back home during the period that i am staying here, I thought it would be a good idea to use the Tet Holiday to discover a little bit of Vietnam. With my bike!
I have decided to ride my bike up North toward Cao Bằng. On the border with China there are some pretty nice waterfalls, which are too far away from Ha Long to visit during the one-day weekend that I have here. It’s about 350km to get there, so I expect to arrive there on my fourth day of cycling. After that I will officially be able to say that I rode my bicycle from my house (although my Vietnamese house) to China 🙂
From Cao Bằng I will head east towards Ba Be lake, which is supposed to be a pretty beautiful lake. Probably I’ll stay there for two nights, after which I’ll continue east towards Sa Pa near Phan Xi Păng, which is the highest mountain of Indochina. I’ve actually already been there in May for another project. The region is famous for it’s terraced ricefields and it is absolutely beautiful. Back in May we took the car to drive into the mountains and we drove past all the nice scenery in a heartbeat. I would have loved to make the climb with my bicycle, so it’s nice to get a second chance to do so 🙂
So why not go south? The area between Ha Long and Hanoi is quite densely populated and the roads are very busy. I really hope that the roads up north will be a bit more quiet. I have no guerantees on this however, but I think I’ll be okay!
The total length of the route that I’ve planned is about 950 kilometers long, which I’ve divided over 10 days. It’s less than the 1100km that I divided over 9 days in England, so I hope it’s not going to be too tough… Honestly I’m quite excited to find out!