Tag Archives: cycling

Day 83: It’s the final countdown

Distance: 91,50 km Time: 3:56 Total distance: 4431 km  Average Speed: 23,23 km/h

The final day of cycling. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t sleep last night. I always tried, but ended up watching stuff on YouTube until I fell asleep at 5 in the morning. I ignored the alarm at 7 o’clock and overslept until 8. From then on, everything went quick, as I had already prepared everything yesterday evening, my luggage and my cloth. Just grabbed everything went down and returned they key, placed my luggage on my bicycle and took of for breakfast.

It were only around 90 km, so easily doable. As always people try to warn me of the traffic in bigger cities, so I planned to arrive at around 16:00. But I was good on the way, no so much wind, no rain, a little bit of sun, so that I  already reached 60 km for lunchtime.

As I was so quick on the road, I told my brother that I would arrive earlier in about 1,5 hours. I was giving everything and took up more speed. This speed resulted in an even more high average speed than some days ago.

The expected traffic never came, it was fluid traffic, which had the same speed as me, so perfect. At traffic lights I always sneaked my way through the front of the line and I didn’t have any problems. As the traffic was a little bit loud, I placed my speaker on my handlebar to listen to music. People found it very amusing as I sometimes danced a little bit (depending on the music on) when I had to stop at a traffic light.

I found the place where my brother and his girlfriend (called Gemma) are staying and I quickly took a hot shower. I packed out all my panniers to check stuff to clean and what I have and can use.

As promised they brought me some chocolate.

In the evening we took the motorbikes and went into the ancient city of Hanoi.

My brother (Charel) and his girlfriend (Gemma)

some good desert we had: Some fruits, with jelly and coconut milk.

Today I took again 0 pictures with my camera… all the pictures above are taken by Charel.

For the next few days, I will stay with the both of them, visiting Hanoi, perhaps some other places around (we don’t know yet), celebrating Vietnamese new year and of course preparing my bicycle for the flight, which will be in the evening of 2. February from Hanoi to Frankfurt over Istanbul.

As I have finished cycling here, I will probably not make a post every day, I don’t know yet. What is for sure that there will be some more posts about this travel. A little review on the trip itself, my equipment, my experience and about Hanoi itself. When will I do that? I don’t know.  I currently have the laptop of my brother, so I don’t have to write on my phone anymore, which will lead into quicker writing, but as I am hanging out with them, I have less time to write… You will hear from me eventually.

Day 81: Train, train, train,… 🚂

Distance: 131,62 km Time: 6:29 Total distance: 4339 km

So today the same stuff as yesterday, flat, boring roads. At the beginning it was foggy.

They kind of look funny with this tiny head for these big arms.

The rain got exchanged with wind facing the opposite direction of my driving. At the end there was a really, really small hill of 50 meters of climbing,  I enjoyed that one😂

To the left of the picture there was a car and from the right of the picture there was a car,  so don’t think that the roads are empty here,  they are getting more crowded as I get closer to Hà Nội.

For the rest it was mentally really hard to continue… But I managed to arrive in Ninh Bình, as it weren’t my muscles who didn’t want anymore but my mind. Putting on the right music and skipping the bad one helped.

Actually I often saw the rails from the train, but rarely the train or it was behind buildings. As the road and the rails were running in parallel with nothing in between, I got myself a challenge: taking a picture of the train here,  as I like trains and I know some people back at home who like trains😀 The first train was going into the same direction,  so the moment until I had my camera out,  I could just get the back of the train…

Shortly before Ninh Bình I got to a closed rail crossing,  so I stopped and placed myself with the camera to catch the train. It was a little bit quick…

Arrived in Ninh Bình I checked online for a good hostel,  as I didn’t have any clue what to visit here and with a good hostel,  you get english speaking stuff. I found a good one,  ironically it is the old train station😂

After a shower I talked to my roommate and I ended up going to dinner with some more people and now we are hanging around.

Yes I managed to take more pictures today😀 Probably because it didn’t rain anymore.

With my roommate I will visit some places on a motorbike we will rent.

The day after tomorrow I will do my final cycling to Hà Nội where I am going to meet my brother and his girlfriend.

Day 80: getting closer to Hà Nội

Distance: 125,57 km Time: 6:03 Total distance: 4207 km

The problem with having friends in the same timezone,  they write sometimes in the morning. That’s the reason why I got on the road a little bit later than I expected. It was raining outside…

After half an hour on the road,  a local was riding next to me on his motorbike and started talking to me. He invited me in for a coffee ☕. He is a seaman on a 100 meter long ship.

As I started late and had early first break,  I had to hit the pedals now, but it started to rain heavily again… Here is a video of the rain when it got less fir lunch break. Some people told me that one that one can hear birds in the background😂

For lunch I took everything off, shoes, socks,  hat, buff, jacket and pressed the water out… Yeah even my shoes got wet from inside as the rain was so heavy and the water gets into it by the socks…

I did another break in the afternoon and had a coffee. Here is how you get a Vietnamese coffee.

As I just want to continue to get closer to Hà Nội,  I decided to continue as long as my legs would not hurt too much,  but as the sun light went away and there was more traffic,  I haven’t felt save anymore so I took the next hotel I found,  which is in Yên Phú.

I went for dinner in the restaurant next to my hotel and had a small discussion with the girl there via Google Translate.

I didn’t even take a single picture with my camera today,  all the pictures were done with my smart phone.

Tomorrow I will continue to Ninh Bình and probably stay there for one day,  as my brother will arrive in the evening of the day after tomorrow,  so I would arrive before him as he doesn’t know when his plan arrives in the evening due to delays.

Day 79: Day of achievements

Distance: 151,44 km Time: 6:48 Total distance: 4082 km 😁

Today the weather was great, nearly no rain,  expect for when I had lunch,  so perfect timing and there were just some short moments where there was strong wind against me, for the rest was it a slightly breeze against me. Also I was feeling good,  so I looked at the map and do a little bit more than I planed some days ago, because the quicker I am the quicker I get to Hà Nội and there is nothing to see on the road.

Again lots of rice fields around me with lots of little villages and towns. Some really little hills. The later it got in the day, the more fog came up. I arrived in Hà Tĩnh around 5 o’clock.

I took one picture with my camera on a bridge,  sadly I forgot to reset the settings from the caves,  that’s why the image is so dark. 

When I take a break at a café (sadly there are not that many cafés with hammocks anymore), I want to try out a new drink or a different brand. So I choose this drink,  which looked like lemon soda,  and I just saw the Vietnamese name like on this picture. 

I drank from it and thought: hmm there is salt inside. By turning the bottle I got the english name… I only drank half of the bottle😂

The first achievement of today was the milestone,  or more the kilometer stone I passed today: 4000 km of cycling on this trip😀

The next achievement is the maximum daily distance,  which is over 150 km😀 I have to stay,  when I arrived at the first hotel in Hà Tĩnh I looked at my road computer and was at 147 km. So I set this challenge to continue till 150 km.

An achievement I can’t prove because I never wrote down the daily average speed (I will calculate it at home),but I think today I had the highest average speed of 22,26 km/h.

Tomorrow again cycling as far as I come. Sadly the weather forecast tells again just rain…

Day 77: Đồng Hới

Distance: 67,00 km Time: 3:43 Total distance: 3930 km

As yesterday morning, I was not motivated to get up, so I got up again late. Outside it was still raining. Not much but still enough to have to wear a rain coat. After all,  my cloth don’t dry during the night as it is not that warm anymore,  so I just wear not completely dry cloth. The temperatures are still okay to do it and as soon as I start moving,  it gets warmer inside the raincoat.

I was out of energy. I did an early break and drank a coffee. 

Sadly after the break I was still without energy. So I had an early lunch at 11. After that one it was a little bit better. Also the rain had stopped and I could take of the raincoat. But the wind stayed. I even took out my camera to take some pictures😀 (the picture at the break was taken with my smart phone)

Because I was cycling so slow I arrived not that early in Đồng Hới at around 14 o’clock. After some searching I found a hotel to stay in and I put out all my wet stuff to dry.

As I want to visit Phong Nha and Paradise cave tomorrow, I tried to join a guided tour for that. I walked through Đồng Hới  to find some agencies offering that. I just found one place on the internet,  so I just went there. Now I have a tour which visits the two caves and picks me up in the morning 😊

On the road now appear always the signs with Hà Nội written on it and the distance. I find it nice because it is like a countdown to my final destination 😀

Day 76: On an unmapped road

Distance: 104,26 km Time: 5:25 Total distance: 3863 km

I didn’t want to get out of my bed this morning as I knew it would rain. Actually it wasn’t raining. It was just drizzle. So I was able to ride without a jacket and just my long shirt. But the closer I got to lunch the more it started to rain.

At lunch I met a British guy travelling with a motorbike. We had lunch together. The picture of him is actually the only picture I took today…

After lunch,  the rain was joined by wind and I got cold so that I put on my rain jacket. The wind slowed me then down. I just followed main road until I checked my GPS, I was in the middle of nowhere… I checked Open Street Maps and Google Maps, on both providers there was no road but it was the main road and all the traffic went over it. After 15 km it joined again the main road marked on my GPS. These 15 km were long as I didn’t knew if it would go into the right direction,  windy,  rainy,  lots of traffic on a small road and nothing but rice fields as far as I could see. The view wasn’t really clear because of the weather.

I arrived in a hotel and had a long half-warm shower. The heater didn’t gave out more hot water…

Tomorrow I will continue to Đồng Hới. There I will decide. Either continue and skip the national park or stay and visit the national park the day after tomorrow. It depends on the weather. Currently the weather seems to be fine on the forecast,  but I have to check that tomorrow☺️

Day 74: R.I.P. Ipod

Distance: 108,58 km Time: 5:32 Total distance: 3759 km

The last few cycling days I had some problems with my music. I thought that my headphones were broken because the music was not working all the time, so I changed the headphones (yes I brought 2 pairs,  in case one breaks). I thought it solved the problem, as it was better but then it happened with these too,  so I checked both headphones with my phone and they were alright. So my Ipod has problems with the jack-connector. For those who don’t know my relation to my music: it’s really bad when I don’t have my music. I always take my headphones everywhere and listen everywhere,  even when it is just a one minute walk, I take my music with me,  I even listen to music while I shower (I have a speaker with me). My love to music is also the reason why I brought two headphones. This morning then I was unable to ride some meters without the music going out… So I was without music. But I still have my smart phone. I downloaded the Google Music App, they offered me two month of free music. So I try it out and am downloading lots of music to have it offline while riding. Hopefully my battery will survive with my power bank.

So that happened all before I even git to breakfast. At breakfast I switched then my music to Google Music.

As I wrote some days ago that the climb back then would have been my last climb PROBABLY,  it is proven to be wrong. Right after Đà Nẵng is a 7 km tunnel,  which one I didn’t want to pass with the bicycle. The alternative was a pass which is at over 400 meters of altitude (Đà Nẵng is at sea level). So I had again a nice climb and afterwards a nice descent. On top there was even a UNESCO world heritage site,  where all the tourist buses stopped. As it was the top,  I stopped there too and had a coffee😀

Somewhere there in the mountains there is the pass

view down on Đà Nẵng

my coffee

Because the wind was blowing strong on the other side and I was wet from the climbing,  I decided to pack myself good in

The view on the other side

And then there was mainly just straight road till Hue mixed with some Drizzle.

The Ipod was not the only thing which nad problems today. My rear gear shifter was making problems. My gears were jumping around sometimes,  which makes it really hard to ride… After multiple adjustments it went better again. In Hue then I fixed it adjusted it correctly (hopefully).

I found a cyclist hotel. The owners are cyclists themself and the name of the hotel is “Hotel Cyclist” 😂

Tomorrow I will spend one day to visit some of the stuff here at Hue

Some more equipment of mine: My notebook. It was a gift from SAP XM where I wrote my bachelor thesis. I mostly just write down as log: my distance,  time,  total distance and total time of my road computer. Also some phone numbers of people are written down here who I met on the road and they wanted to write down their number. Or I use it to compare prices of hostels/hotels or flight tickets. Something I did in the beginning was writing down some kind of “golden rules” for my travel, but i don’t add any more after rule 6. Some of them I ignore completely now some I respect,  but I never think of them.

A page out of my logs. Sadly some water git into it today so on top there is a little place where water is…

Day 71: To the coast

Distance: 106,50 km Time: 5:05 Total distance: 3651 km

Got on the road early and got a really nice landscape because of some clouds,  less traffic because it was not the main road and too small for lots if big trucks😀

Eventually the clouds got more and it started to rain again, but it was still warm,  so I just continued without a raincoat😀 it stopped quickly after 10 minutes,  so it was alright.

After 60 km I reached the end of that road,  and I got back on the main road which follows the cost line. Only 40 km left. From there on it got boring. Just straight roads with traffic,  no hills. I wouldn’t have thought that getting back to such a road would put my mood that much down… But I arrived as I was able to cycle quicker than in the hilly areas.

Now I am in Đà Nẵng and passed Hoi An because I will visit it from here with a motorbike,  which leads to one more day without bicycle 😊 not that I don’t like my bicycle,  but I currently use it a little bit to often😂 But I am visiting Hoi An not alone. Banh (the girl from Kon Tum) joins me tomorrow morning and shows me around Hoi An 😀

In the evening I was just walking around the city center. Got some food at a Vietnamese fast food restaurant. While walking next to the river I realised: they know how to put lights on their bridges around here. I just forgot to take a video, I will try to do it in two days when I am back here.

Because we stay over there for one night,  I don’t know if I will write a post tomorrow as I leave the stuff to get the pictures from my camera to my phone in Đà Nẵng with most of my luggage.

Day 70: I ♥ climbing

Distance: 86,58 km Time: 5:35 Total distance: 3544 km

This morning I felt really great,  sun was out and I knew that I had a beautiful climb ahead of me😀 The climbing part was just the first 20 km but on that part there were constantly signs with a steepness of 10% 😀 Which meant that I was just riding with 5 to 9 km/h,  but the views: amazing, less traffic. This picture is ment to align with the sign

The clouds in the other valley

Arrived at 1100 meters of altitude,  I also reached the clouds at that moment. On the other side of the hill it was cloudy and rained a little bit from time to time… but never enough to get me wet 😀 On my way down from the mountain I met a group of 6 german touring cyclists going up the mountain. Sadly I forgot to take a picture with them.

I arrived in Kham Duc,  but it was too early to get a hotel,  so I continued on the road. Ban, the local girl from Kon Tum told me which road to take,  as it is a shortcut and a quiet road,  so I took that one. It’s really a quite road☺️

In the town I expected a hotel,  there was no hotel… So again I had to continue. Again in a village which is not marked on the map,  there is a really tiny hotel😀 It is somewhere on highway 14E.

Just after I arrived in the hotel,  it was still early it started to rain heavily. So good decision to go to a hotel☺️ This village is really little. That little that there is no place to get some dinner. the woman from the hotel gave me a ride to the next village (only 5 minutes walking) where there was one place where I got some noodles 🍜 To get back to the hotel I had to walk, but it wasn’t raining☺️

Tomorrow I will cycle to Đà Nẵng, where I will stay for 2 days. One day to visit Đà Nẵng and the second day I will rent a motorbike and pass by Hoi An☺️

Day 69: flat, flat, hilly

Distance: 115,11 km Time: 6:34 Total distance: 3457 km

First of all: DON’T PANIC with flat I just mean flat roads,  NOT a flat tire😀

Secondly: Yesterday evening. Of course it didn’t went as I thought,  it got even better😀 Ban,  the girl who picked me up for dinner had to meet some people who wanted to do a trek today. They turned out to be from France and liked playing music. Because we promised to visit the cafe where on of the other two girls were working, we quickly said goodbye to the french people and went to the cafe. After that one closed,  we all went to a guitar bar where we met the french people again. The Vietnamese girls and the french people are really great at playing music and it was a really fun evening.

The evening was also long so getting up in the morning was a little bit hard. At 8 o’clock I then finally left the room and went on search for breakfast. I am really sad that suddenly all the rice places don’t serve rice in the morning… So I got phố again. Some noodles in soup.

So now to the title: in the beginning it the roads were inside a really big valley,  so it was flat nearly always. Eventually it got hilly again😀 As the Ho Chi Minh highway turned twice off main road (main road git to a different road and the Ho Chi Minh highway was a smaller side road), which resulted in less traffic for me😀

On the road then I realised two miscalculations of me:

  1. I was running out of cash,  I thought I would have had one more 500.000 Dong bill,  but there wasn’t. I realised it only the afternoon were I already passed the last town with an ATM. I checked the map: No ATMs until tomorrow at the destination…  I checked my wallet: enough money for a hotel,  dinner,  breakfast but no lunch for tomorrow…  I came up with some solutions. Either go as far as possible get food and the next morning try to get to the ATM as quickly as possible. Another method would have been exchanging or buying stuff with my remaining US Dollar from Cambodia.
  2. The villages I choose to stay in all had no hotels.

And now the solution to both of the problems: In the last village I marked on the map for today I saw a kilometer stone with another city marked in 25 km. I checked my maps,  no city,  no village not even side roads…  I thought the worst that can happen is me cycling the whole night 😂 Or somebody would just host me but I went to that village called Dak Lak. It’s actually a nice little town with everything a guest house and an ATM 😍. The only thing,  I had to cycle so much,  the last 15 km were just me dying up and down the hill,  rolling with 10 to 15 km/h on flat parts… But worth it in the end. Also the landscape was really beautiful,  as there are many hills and when the sun went down,  some were in the shadow and some were still in the sun,  sadly I didn’t took any pictures, I was too exhausted.

Tomorrow I will climb probably my last big climb. Because after celebrating luna new year in Hanoi with my brother and his girlfriend I will return back home. I will leave Thailand, Laos and the rest of Vietnam for another trip or multiple trips. Why probably? Well I never know what will happen on my way to Hanoi😂