Sunday, 23 November 2014

Cycling alone....Its a long and lonely road and there are dangers... Maybe that's why we do it?

Cycling long distances through remote places is obviously not with out its risks. Most risks we can mitigate against. Some we can not. Being ROBBED on a desolate highway is one of those risks. Escape is nearly impossible when you're on a bicycle and your assailants are on motor cycles. Defiance, is in my view far too high a risk to consider. You are really left only to comply and hope you get out of it with out too much expense or injury - or worse.
The people who robbed me appeared to follow me from a small highway town I had just passed though. Their weapon of choice (disconcertingly) was a syringe. Their request of 2 million vnd was fairly aggressively delivered as they stopped their motorbike in front of me to block my path.  I handed over the cash in my pocket - about 800k and they left. I was lucky. I had passport, USD and other valuables on me. With 500km in front of me of very quiet roads and many small, somewhat notorious towns to pass through I made the immediate decision to abandon this leg of my end to end tour of Vietnam.
With the adrenalin pumping immediately after the robbery I pushed hard to the next township which I could see ahead. I was there in 15 minutes and spoke with some people at a tourist stop restaurant who helped me waive down the next bus. The chance arrival of a random, long distance coach with a spare seat and room for my bike was the next small piece of good fortune I encountered that day.
2 hours later I was back in Nha Trang contemplating my next move.  As the ordeal took place on day 1 I quickly restructured my plans to use the next 5 days based in Da Nang, Hoi An and Hue, purchased an overnight sleeper ticket on the 8pm train and boarded after a remedy beer and pizza.

The next 5 days worked out perfectly. Day rides out of Hoi An and Hue, A support vehicle and the company of a fellow rider all allowed me to relax and enjoy immensely a somewhat different adventure than originally planned.

Map shows exact point where I was robbed by 2 (male) individuals on a motorcycle. Time of robbery was around 3pm, November 8th. I had received some warnings about this coast from Nha Trang all the way to Quang Ngai. If cycling alone or with out vehicle support please take extra care.


On the third day of my revised schedule I took on the famous Hai Van Pass. Nowhere near as tough as the ride up to DaLat - This climb is around 11km long to the summit. The views are fantastic and descent was a real blast!