I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike
And what a fun ride it was! Here’s the story…
Over the weekend I decided that I’ve been lazy for too long–enough with my sedentary lifestyle!–and that I ought to do something about it. In Ha Tay I used to run in the morning and play badminton in the afternoon (on most days, at least). But in Hanoi I just.. drink beer? Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I don’t want my new found ambition to exercise to interfere with my beer consumption. Local businesses could suffer.
Anyway, I don’t really have any good places near home to run–not to mention I haven’t been such an early-riser these days–and I don’t have any friends that like to play badminton in Hanoi, so the most obvious solution was to retrieve my bicycle from Ha Tay and start riding it to and from work every day.
Getting my bicycle back from Ha Tay was fun! I asked some of the local bus drivers if they would take my bicycle (and me) back to Hanoi so I could avoid what I was worried would be a bit of a scary, 50km+ ride. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t take me with my bicycle, and the local taxis are even less reliable, so my only option was pedalling back to Hanoi. There’s a very nice new highway that I would have liked to take, but I was also worried about what I’d do if I got a flat tire or encountered any other sorts of problems. The new highway, as wonderful and easy to travel as it is, is in the middle of nowhere (in comparison to the old highway which has more homes and businesses built up around it).
I guess my ride from Ha Tay to Hanoi wasn’t so bad, but it wasn’t great either. The old highway is narrow, dusty, bumpy, and filled with big buses and trucks (whose drivers don’t seem to care much about people driving bicycles and motorbikes). But.. I made it back to Hanoi alive! The worst part was my awful sore back. I wouldn’t recommend doing a 50km ride after having not been on a bicycle for more than a year and a half.
Now that I have my beloved bicycle back in Hanoi I’ve been able to fix it up a bit too. I replaced the drop (racing style) handle bars–I mentioned my sore back problems, right?–with a plain handlebar. This, of course, also meant that the brake handles had to be changed too. Now I have sort-of-cheap looking brake handles and big rubber handlebar grips.
I miss cork handlebar tape already! I need to get some better grips. It also feels weird using the handle bars because my hands are so far apart compared to when I was still using the drop handlebars.
Finally, I asked him to change my chain wheel, because my bike is just a single speed and the chain wheel was too small, making it too easy to pedal. I couldn’t go very fast at all. But instead of removing the old chain wheel and putting a bigger one on, he seems to have welded a larger chain wheel tothe old one. Surprisingly, even with this awful hack-job, the chain seems to be sitting pretty straight.