• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


    from Twitter


    Sunday, June 04, 2006

    Bicycles in Vietnam

    The Vietnamese are great at many things. They are hardworking, family oriented, optimistic about the future, and great bicycle riders. Yes, bicycle riders. If that's a word. Does it need to be hyphenated? Bicycle-rider?

    I digress.

    Talk about giving your kids a ride to school

    Since I returned to Vietnam, I have endeavored to take pictures of people living--candid, real, rough, and fresh. I want to see the true feelings people have. Bicycle riding is a very integral part of many people's days. So the pics I will post will hopefully give you a small feeling of what it is like.

    Because the Vietnamese have perfected the art of bicycle riding. Yes, an art. They pump two, sometimes three people on a bike. The pump them behind, on the handlebars, on the frame...I've even see a kid riding on the shoulders of the rider (unfortunately no pic...that was two years ago in HCMC in District 6...). One of their improvements, mainly due to their great dexterity and small foot size, is that two riders will sit on a bike and both will pedal--their feet are small enough to fit two feet on each pedal.

    Here's some bicycle riding pics from Vietnam. Enjoy.
    This is a good general picture. Notice the steel-framed bike with basket, typical of Vietnam. Also, I love the girls faces as they laugh about something.

    A little farther away, but you can see a mom and two daughters on this bike. Talk about giving your kids a ride to school! The older daughter is sitting on a book rack over the back tire, and the little girl is sharing the saddle with her mother.

    These women (mostly) are becoming a thing of the past as the omniscient Communists crack down on all social evils...including poor Hanoian women who come south to sell fruit at markets...obviously a social ill. Besides their outfits, which I will never forget, look at the wire boxes on both sides of the bike, full of produce in the morning, and empty about noon as they return home. For the Vietnamese, the bike is more than recreation, it is a work vehicle.

    This is one of my favorite pictures. With the advent of motorbikes, bicycles are fading from the scene, and are now seen mostly with teenagers. The boys here were on their way to the swimming pool for an afternoon of fun and sun. Notice how there are three boys on one bike. Swimmingsuits and towels are in the backpack in the basket up front. Behind them are two girls, coming home from school. If you look closely you will notice what I talked about earlier--both girls are pedaling the bike.

    Although the motorbike is increasingly used in place of the bicycle, and now the car is making inroads on the motorbike, there is still a special place in Vietnam for the bicycle. Perhaps, as Vietnam's economy grows, more Vietnamese will take up cycling. With their body size, and expertise at utilizing a bike, I think it's only a matter of time before we see one in the Tour de France.


    No comments: