So here I go again, off on another cycle tour / challenge and back to the blog to report and record it.

Whenever we, ( my eclectic but wonderful group of 8 like-minded, 50 something cycling pals) get to the end of a cycle tour, the “where next?” discussion is bantered around. Normally there is quite a lot of discussion but last time the choice was easy, our beloved organiser extraordinaire, Richard P had always wanted to go to Vietnam, so Vietnam it is. Well, it got refined to South Vietnam and Cambodia, but I’m not complaining!

Our tour route is titled – BIKING IN MEKONG DELTA, VIETNAM TO CAMBODIA – Ho Chi Minh – Cu Chi Tunnels – Tra Vinh – Cantho – Chau Doc – Phnom Penh – Siem Reap. It’s going to be fantastic and I’m really excited to be doing this.

Bike Route from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap

As usual we have found a local tour guide to organise the trip and us. We have a guide and a transport van with us all the way. The tour is less miles than normal at “only” 325 in total but the main challenge this time is that we are on mountain bikes not road bikes. I have both types of bike and know it’s a lot harder on mountain bikes because of the gearing, width of tyre ( a lot wider and deeper tread, so a lot more resistance and harder to pedal). So which one have I done most of my preparation on, yes that’s it…. my road bike! We have trained up for the tour but none of us feels anywhere like the fitness level we have been at before.

I don’t know if it is that we are getting complacent – we certainly are getting older – or have the knowledge we can grind through the miles even when it hurts and the miles this year are less, and we are not so motivated to do the longer training rides as in previous years. Perhaps it’s because we start on 6 November, so it’s a month later than normal and our will to train in the colder days is less even though we have been lucky this year with such a warm and dry October. Anyway it’s all done now and I’ll be just fine. – he says just to convince himself!

The tour is through some spectacular scenery and history. The Cu Chi Tunnels used during the Vietnam war, seeing the killing fields, the Mekong delta, temples at Siem Reap and Angkor Wat are some of the highlights I am looking forward to.

I have been asked if I’m raising charity this time and the answer is no, not this year. I’m eternally grateful for all the support and donations received in the past but this year I’m giving the charity side a rest. But be warned, I have already committed charity plans for next year, but that’s all in the future. Having just read through my last blog on reflections from the North to South Israel tour, I’m now a bit more concerned. I easily remember the fantastic sights, experiences and feelings of getting away from everyday life, but forget the hard stuff. The hard days cycling, sore body parts and general fatigue. But for me that’s the way it should be. No pain no gain but just having good memories at the end of it all. And so it begins, more from me in a few days from Ho Chi Minh City ( formerly Saigon). I really can’t wait. Thanks once again to my loving and supportive family for encouraging me to do these adventure challenges. Lorraine I miss you already. Neil

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