Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Our first ride Hue

We finally arrived in Hue at 8 am, and were whisked off to the magnificent Camellia Hotel, where we rushed down a fabulous breakfast, had a much needed shower, (& in my case, a very much needed toilet stop), and were ready to be fitted for our bikes by 9.45 am.
The bikes are mountain bikes, (mine at home is a hybrid), but all is OK. Gears are similar, but back to front. Mine has no bell, but who would hear it over the horns? Mine also has very squeaky brakes, so EVERYONE knows when I am around.
Now, I must explain that Hue is not a big city like Hanoi. However, there still are millions of bikes, mostly the motor kind. The terrain is mainly flat, and today our mission was to ease into things by exploring it's sights by bike.
I did not have a good start PD wise, (curled up toes), but I've often said, "I ride better than I walk", so on I pressed. Our first stop was at The Citadel, an ancient temple with Chinese architecture. Hilly, our guide, provided us with the history as we explored the expansive grounds. It was only a short ride from our hotel, but we were thrown straight into the traffic.
It's bad enough that we Aussie's are used to driving on the left, but riding on the right was not the problem. In Melbourne, I avoid roads altogether; I prefer bike tracks, and fortunately, Melbourne has many great ones I can use. The other thing I avoid, if on the road, is Right Hand Turns; I get off and cross. So imagine our horror as the inevitable loomed; Hilly made the Vietnamese equivalent; a left hand turn into the traffic. Yon and Peter, plesae do not read on. We "merged" left, with motor cycles, cars, and bikes all around, with another set of the same heading straight for us. Remember, no one stops here. We were told that when we cross the road (as predestrians), we must just go, never hesitate. The same applies ON the road. Everyone just veers around you. Somehow it works.
After lunch, we visited a little village where we saw incence being hand made, and a traditional hat being woven, then off to our 3rd temple in 2 days, (actuallly a tomb) where 2 of our members, Sue and Max, dressed up as traditional costume, and we learnt of some poor King who had about 202 wives and over 1000 concubines, but NO children!
Exhausted, we decided to head back to the Hotel. By now it was peak hour, and traffic was building at the town's centre roundabout. Following 'Hilly', we had to approach the roundabout from the right, cutting across traffic going both our way, and against us. That's when I did the wrong thing; I braked suddenly. (Remember the rule is never to hesitate). SORRY! I don't like going head on into cars and bikes, even if they most likely will accomodate me... As a result I the middle of the traffic! No time to think, just get up and keep going...
Yes, I am OK; just my leg and chest and pride bruised. Yon's comment when I told him later on Skype? "I really don't want you riding on the roads there..." Sorry, Yon, when I find the push bike only bike paths, I'll let you know!


  1. following you Karyn, well done, keep strong & out of traffic so you can enjoy your ride.xxdi

  2. Can't wait to hear all the news of the first ride! This is so much fun, it's almost like being there. Looking forward to each entry !

  3. I have just been reading your blog. Karyn, you are a champion. You must be having wonderful experiences, but I can definitely empathise with how John must be feeling. Keep safe! Anna xx

  4. Great post! I wish I were pedaling alongside! Stay out of the middle of the road, and just keep a safe pace.... pulling for you!!!