Renting a bike in Hoi An - Vietnam
We'd been meaning to hire bikes since our very first stop in Beijing but had never got round to it, I'm putting that down to fear because let's be honest traffic in Asia is mental and riding a bike amongst this regulars just looks plain scary. Eventually though, nearly two months into our trip we finally rented a couple of bikes in Hoi An, pretty quiet in terms of traffic.
We paid a dollar each for an alright looking bike, I had a quick scout around the day before and most were more like beach cruisers, but we found some good mountain bikes and hired those. Although most bikes looked in pretty good condition and for a dollar can you really complain??
Kirsty heading out of Hoi An
It turns out cycling the streets is pretty fun, with so few cars on the road (one day I remember thinking to myself - I had not seen one) bikes really do rule the road, so you can swerve into the middle of the road to avoid puddles or pot holes or just the sake of it and every one of the 500 mopeds behind will just simply go round you.
Our first stop was the beach, we had not visited the beach so far in Hoi An and it was about the right distance (for Kirsty) to cycle. It was a simple single road to the beach and I enjoyed the ride a lot. Cycling gives you the chance to visit places too far to walk but slow enough so that you can take everything in around you.
We pulled in at a gap in the trees to find ourselves at a remote part of the beach with only 3 or 4 people in view in all directions. We locked the bikes up and had a good old splash around in the waves.
Splish Splash Splosh
After jumping back on the bikes and carrying on away from Hoi An it became clear Kirsty wasn't too happy. Having epilated her legs the day before, the salt water was doing its business and causing her a lot of pain. At the height of it she was off the bike, jumping up and down and shouting lots of swear words. We headed off to one of the many road side cafe's? (with those tiny red chairs meant for children that they seem to have everywhere here) and bought a big bottle of water to rinse Kirsty's legs and I grabbed a beer (it was past lunch time after all) The old lady looked on wondering why Kirsty was having a shower in her cafe but it worked and the pain eased. A full shower was still in need though so we made the half an hour trip back to the hotel.
We had the bikes for the day so after a long shower we decided to cycle off in the other direction out of town. After 20 minutes or so we came to a village with a very stinky fish market, the place was rammed, people running around everywhere trying to find the smelliest dead thing they could for dinner that night. Carrying quickly on we cycled past some kids playing in the street who caught eye of us and started shouting hello. We happily shouted it back and one of the braver ones started walking over to us so we stopped to exchange pleasantries. With this they all came running over, but rather than wanting to talk to us it turned out all they wanted was to ask for money "One dollar please!" Not feeling like a cash machine and a little bit disappointed we pedalled away.
One of the views along the journey
The road narrowed off and didn't seem to be going anywhere (safe anyway) so we turned round and headed back to Hoi An. We handed the bikes back in around 4pm after 5 hours of enjoyment. As simple as the day was, it has been one of the best so far. I think not having to rely on anyone for transport and having the beach to our self was great and I'll be looking to hire bikes for similar experiences a lot more from now on.