Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bike Fail

Hoi An is an adorable town, teeming with people, and dotted with colonial homes along a charming river. So we decided to do a bike tour. Did it matter that the last time I had been on a bike was in Amsterdam, ten years ago, when I rode into a parked car? Nah. We set off -- Bob, Joanna, and I since Daniel opted out -- and within minutes I had had a close encounter with a stone wall.

I scraped my leg and sucked the blood off my finger and decided to keep that moment to myself. Those of you who know me well know just how long that lasted. Anyway. We carried along. Steve, being a sociable Brit, would ride along each of us and chatter away. When he finally asked me what was the best thing I ever read, I admitted to him that I couldn't bike and converse at the same time. It took every ounce of my concentration to stay on the path, sometimes paved, sometimes mud, sometimes sand, and to avoid the chickens, dogs, motorbikes, bikes, sometimes cars, little children darting out and screaming "hello! hello!" coming in every direction. I managed.

And then, this happened. We came to a bridge. A small, narrow stone bridge with no railings that traversed a stream. I had just a second to think, this is the place where Daniel said he nearly rode off a bridge when I, well, I rode off the bridge. Or, to be more precise, I veered right and into the trees, never making it onto the bridge. I could hear Joanna scream behind me. Now some people might ask why I rode off the bridge. Those same people would also wonder why later, after stops for lunch with beer and rice wine, I rode off a second bridge after I had gone almost all the way over it. I managed to catch myself before I landed in the drink. I may not be able to ride a bike very well but I'm damn good at falling.

The day continued to fall apart, and it seemed that every time there was a narrow bit, a bridge, a turn, people, bikes, or sand, I would fall. I ended up with five big falls, and my arms, legs, and even my neck (hey, you try riding straight into a bamboo fence -- sorry Vietnamese family! -- and I provided a source of entertainment to many people in the villages and islands around Hoi An. The good news is that it could have been much much worse. And today's adventure certainly answered one question I had been toying with: whether I should get a bike in Beijing.


  1. Glad you are okay, Debbie. Five falls??--sheesh, you are lucky to be alive. Please, no more biking!

  2. Oh my god Debbie. I just read this and guess what - I can totally relate! It sounds like me on the Eastern Shore with Anupam whizzing smoothly along and me teetering clumsily behind.

  3. Poor Joanna.. first she has to watch me slam into a wall and fall of a motorcycle in Thailand then watch you ride off a bridge in Vietnam!! (I heard her scream too when I fell)