MTB TRAVEL – ADVENTURE BIKE TRIP VIETNAM / CAMBODIA.
VIETNAM, CAMBODIA – A PLACE YOU VISIT ONLY ONCE???
When crossing a river in Cambodia in a Russian U-Boot a book falls into my hands. The book in which the author struggles with the title thesis.
It’s the 7th day of my enduro cycling trip through Vietnam and Cambodia. And from now on, I try to grasp with the thought – will I ever want to come back here?
We are landing with a group of 12 adventure bikers in Ho Shi Min – the capital of Vietnam. Enduro bikes 29 Zumbi Cycles and POC stuff and a lot of Power. We are properly prepared and motivated for a 14-day enduro mtb adventure…
On the last day at the same airport, I am waiting for a plane trying to write something … about good jumps, fast corners, sharp roots and adrenaline. But what is still bugging me is how I feel about this place. The place, which absorbed me. So deep. Vietnam has probably changed the way I think about life. Anyway, everyone is probably talking about returning here.
I cannot describe the cycling experience yet, since the sense of being here has been superior in itself. But do not worry. Once I cool off – I will show you Vietnam’s bicycle spots.
For five days, I could not see myself in the place where I found myself. In Vietnam, you become the same as its inhabitants. No matter what you do in your country, what your job is, how much money you have and who is dependent on you … Now you are here and you need to adapt. You have to survive and the crisis comes every day. Fatigue, heat, lack of appetite for local dubious soup, view of overwhelming poverty, dust and dirt. Only Krakow’s smog is missing.
At night, you climb a tree and try to sleep although the sounds of the jungle make it almost impossible. No matter if in a hotel or a makeshift bunk on a tree- vermin is everywhere. After four hours of sleep, you get up and pack a bike to get to the next, somewhat magical, but very poor village in the evening. Dinner in a modest setting – fish from the infamous Mekong, a strange broth soup, toad, or balls looking like sausages. For the European consuming – chickens one daily basis – it may seem strange and stiking. No hot water, no bathroom, and no toilet. All the time, you’re wondering, « How do these people live here…”
Sometimes, we get tropical downpours, and from the cyclist’s point of view, it means a long flight into the mud. Sometimes, exhausted and staring at one point, I say to myself – I will do it- and despite painful buttocks, the next day, I cycle these 80 kilometers. Once again ending – through steering wheels in the mud. With a warm beer, I look at my colleague in the bandage, who happened to be less fortunate today and ended the rally after the collision with beef. I realize that although dangerous, there is no way out and you have to go further.
These hours, spent lonely on a bike – make forgotten things come back to me, both good and bad … What am I dreaming of? Today I about nothing … I am an ordinary person; I am getting humbleness and respect for what I have. Here simple things grow into extremely difficult. I am thinking about my favorite sandwich and other underrated things, unsung relations.
It seemed like enduro mtb, pics, and chillout. It turned out that quite seriously, I just fought my weaknesses every day. This is an unbelievable feeling. How much you have to give to distance yourself from your own life.
Traveling by bike is not just about riding. It’s, above all, the mental experience of being in strange places.
4 months have passed since the return from Vietnam. Fortunately, memories have passed through me, a clean and crazy ride, which will be described soon. The confidence in the Zumbi F11 650b enduro – adventure edition has also been confirmed. The geometry, which was especially designed for me, saved me from back and shoulder pain. Stuff from POC, guaranteed great comfort. In the end, it’s 12 days of continuous ride.
However, the images that I saw are constantly bugging me. What I experienced is mine. These experiences have changed me. One thing is for sure – it is worth going to Vietnam for a bike. It’s worth to feel it. It’s more than just solid enduro between the mines.
I will write about bike parks and singletracks of Vietnam and the equipment I used soon.
Tom – Zumbi Team