My name is Carl and I'm from the Netherlands. Now I've been living in Hanoi, Vietnam for the past four months. Me and a Vietnamese friend are planning to cycle to Saigon this summer. I've been looking up a lot of information on the internet but I nonetheless have some questions. I am not familiar with cycling such a distance, and from what I read I am not quite sure what I need. I do know that we need quite a lot of practice. The avarage day trip length will be about 75 kilometers.
First of all, the type of bicycle. My friend rides a single gear city bike (chinese manufacturing), and was sort of thinking that he could do it on that. I have a three gear city bicycle (chinese manufacturing) here, and I am sure I am not going to do it on that. There really aren't any professional bike shops here, meaning that they just sell bicycles. When you say that you want something specific, they lower the price or say that they don't have that. The selection is rather slim here. The shops have some imported bicycles and then there is the chinese selection. The mountain bikes they have are decent, but I would rather not ride on tyres like that. I, myself, was thinking more about something along the racing/tour/road/whateveryoucallit-bicycle lines. However I am not sure. They have no real touring (travel) bicycles here, and not very good hybrids either. My Vietnamese friend found something that seems to be a hybrid, and he is comfortable with that. I think he is a bit aprehensive about my buying it for him... 1.8 million dong seems a lot.. but it's about 90 euro, which I think is not all that much. Before I really start rambing though my question is if I have the wrong idea here, and if I should be looking into mountain-types of bicycles instead of the tour-type.
I've been thinking about what we want to take with us to, and most people seem to love the ortlieb bags. But again this raises the question if that fits on a tour bicycle. We plan to stay in hotels, and therefore do not want to travel fully loaded, but I wonder what kinds of spare parts I should be bringing... some inner tubes seem like a good idea, grease and some other parts. There are a lot of packing lists to be found on the net, but I am still wondering what things break down most often, or is that just all a matter of chance.
I suppose I will have more questions, but I don't even know if I am on the right forum here. Any advice would be helpful though.
Thanks a lot,