Brendan Gara Photography

Easy riding with the (non- franchised) easy riders

BG_FUJI_VIET-236After a day or so taking in the sites around Dalat we thought it was time to get out of our comfort zone a little.  Dalat is nice, New Year was good fun, the lake and the views are impressive (certainly when seen from the double seat in leaking fiberglass swan, as you realise you’ve got a long way to pedal back to the slightly weird restaurant where asking for an omelette at 11:01 drew a mass- sucking of teeth from all and sundry before a resolute “no”:  we’re tourists, give us a break).  We did wonder whether it would be easier for everyone if we just pedalled like mad, beached the swan and then get a taxi back to the city centre.

Our hotel could arrange a motorbike tour of the surrounding area if we wanted.  It wasn’t “easy riders” who we’d come across in Nha Trang and then everywhere since, but two guys who did it as a sideline.  Our experiences so far with the easy riders (groups of tour guys who have denim jackets and big bikes, and will take you almost anywhere on the back had been mixed.  We’d first met them in Nha Trang and they’d been pretty pushy, then again in HCMC and equally pushy, and people we’d spoken to had some mixed reactions (don’t get me wrong some were excellent, but equally some were more circumspect).  What we hadn’t realised was that ER is a very well run franchise, you pay the dong and you get the jacket.

The two guys who the hotel used didn’t want to be part of that, and fair enough.  So off we went on a trip around the Dalat area, on the back of bikes (I’m pretty sure you’re travel insurance is invalidated at this point).

We’re going to go back, and we’re going to learn to ride bikes and we’ll do the whole length of Vietnam on two wheels.  It’s the only way to see it.


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