Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam-one of my happy places because of the food, people and culture. This is my third time in this wonderful place because of two things-a conference that I love attending (since 2012) and the strong cycling culture. In 2014 I was able to bike around the city. But today, due to unpredictable weather, I had to forego a trip on two wheels and visited a bikeshop instead.
While I wasn’t in the mood to stroll around the city, I just bummed around in my room at the Spring hotel (check it out-they got accommodating staff, spacious rooms and quite accessible to the shopping areas-http://www.springhotelvietnam.com/)
And…had to taste the wonderful Pho-something that I missed for two years.Too bad though that the chicken rice restaurant a couple of meters from the hotel is already closed (and a lot of construction going on and very heavy traffic)
and for lunch
Moving on, I took a cab at Saigon Cycles (located at the 7th district, about 9km away from the hotel)- https://www.facebook.com/saigoncyclesshop/
The shop reminds me of those big ones from Hong Kong (Flying ball)-but this ones focuses more on touring stuff keeping its brands limited (Trek, Surly, Vincita, Bontrager)
If you’re interested in Surly bikes, this is the shop to go to-while I didn’t see any fat bikes around, the touring and pavement lines of the brand are complete-and take note, most of the sizes are available (I recall a friend asked me to inquire if they had an extra small frameset-they do). While the prices of the frameset and built bikes are a little bit higher than the ones in the Philippines, im glad to see the 2016 models on display-that disco tomato red pacer and the long haul trucker fully setup looks amazing. Also, ive seen a couple of steamrollers and of course the ever lovable troll.
Aside from the bikes, what caught my eye are the touring bags and other stuff. Since they carry Vincita, you get to see an assortment of bags, racks and other small stuff (you have to check out the fenders!)-an old man mountain front rack was lying there-obviously a hidden gem for you tourers using bikes with suspension (it’s the quick release version of the front rack)
What caught my eye are small panniers that was priced right-since I was on the look out for panniers for the brompton-something that will not hit my heel while pedaling, hopefully this was a worthy purchase.
While looking around, I was assisted by Hoang, one of the staff in the store and he gave a lot of inputs on the strong cycling culture in Vietnam-the store arranges guided cross country tours (too bad for me, so much to do, but so little time)-perhaps when I make a visit again in two years, I ought to try this one J
So even if I didn’t end my day with burning calories, I stuffed on some more with not Pho this time, but my favorite fried rice and stuffed spring rolls…I hope tomorrow I get to see sunshine for some pedalling action
Day 1 ends with dinner