What I Learned In My First 100 Days

The mountains of Northern Laos shrouded in early morning fog.My ‘Strokes to Spokes’ bicycle ride has taken me through three countries in my first one hundred days on the road. Starting in Siem Reap, Cambodia I headed south and crossed into Vietnam at Ha Tien. I made my way north through Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat, Ninh Binh and Hanoi. I turned back south and west to head into the mountains and over the border to Laos. The mountains of Laos were challenging to say the least but the beauty kept me moving forward through Phonsavan, Phou Khoun and south through Veng Vieng, Vientiane and Pakse and down to the 4,000 Islands.

I am about to cross the border to Cambodia to continue west through Thailand, Myanmar, India and beyond. On the road I have a lot of time to think. I have to plan my route both long and short term while gauging my hourly progress to choose a place to end the day as darkness nears. During my hours in the saddle I have thought about the many things I have learned on this trip so far. I have not yet reached an age where I am confident my knowledge is complete. My hope is that never happens as it will mean life would become boring. Nothing new, nothing exciting. Luckily this is a state that no one reaches, except maybe in their own mind. Read More

Iconic Vietnam War Images Revisited

For as long as I can remember I had a desire to visit Vietnam. That goes back to my teen years and maybe even earlier. Since that was the Vietnam-American War era I am not sure what motivated that desire. It wasn’t until 2014 when I first visited Vietnam and now on my fourth and longest visit I know my desires were well placed.

During the war there were a number of well publicized images that helped mold public opinion that surrounded the war. Many of those were taken in Saigon and while I was there I was able to visit the locations of those images almost fifty years later.

These images have been etched in my mind forever. I am not sure when I first saw them but each one brings a bone-chilling reality to what was happening a world away back in the sixties and seventies. It is hard to see these images and not have them hit a deep emotional spot inside Read More

Inspirations

There are many points in a persons life that brings them where they are today. All of the choices we make, whether large or small, have an impact on us. Although I have always loved bicycle riding and long distance touring there are a couple of incidents that helped me make the decision to ride around the world now. And there are a few people who helped influence my planning and decisions and fed my desire.

After having a stroke and dragging myself out of my apartment in Cambodia in the middle of the night while half paralyzed it was an easy choice to increase my exercise regiment. The best way I could do that was to get on a bicycle and ride. And keep riding. Read More

Vietnam – A Little Help From Strangers

My ‘Strokes to Spokes’ around-the-world bicycle trip continues in Vietnam. I leave the flat lands of the Mekong Delta and the chaos of Ho Chi Minh City behind as I head out to the ocean for some views of the coast. I made a decision to head inland to the mountain town of Dalat after some soul searching about my physical abilities. This part of the ride turned out to be the toughest so far almost leaving me stranded half way up the five-thousand foot climb. But in the darkness I found some angels waiting to help.

And as always I list the random acts of kindness at the end of the post showing how nice people I see along the ride are to me when they see me pedaling around Vietnam. Read More

Venturing Into Vietnam – Pho, Lotus Fields and Rats

Fishing boats in front of a hill along the southern coast of VietnamI crossed into Vietnam from Cambodia on the seventh day of my bicycle ride around the world. It is time for some Vietnam bicycling. The border crossing at Ha Tien was uneventful and quick – it almost seemed too easy. I originally planned to go to Phu Quoc Island from Ha Tien but all of the ferries were cancelled on the day I booked my ride due to the weather. The outlook didn’t look much better for the next few days so I decided to continue on instead of playing the waiting game with the ferry. I have an overnight stay planned in some lotus fields in a few days leaving me wondering what surprises they have for me on the dinner menu when I get there!

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