The bike tours we offer are described as‘off the beaten path’ and located in the countryside. We ride amongst the locals on their way to market, not the busy, well trodden, tourist city routes. Our support vans and buses have air-conditioning, which are always nearby supplied with cold drinks, towels, fresh fruit, and snacks. We carry first aid kits, spare bikes and parts and others essential materials. “We offer an alternative trip to the Mekong,” explained John on the morning of departure. “The area is so perfect for riding that we feel there is a need to offer cyclists a unique route through The Delta.” “Most tours follow the same paths,” added Van. “With my knowledge of the region we can help travellers avoid the crowds and really appreciate the scenery.” An hour or so later down the road the rumbling gravel below shakes me from a daydream and I know it’s time to saddle up. Van sets to work oiling gears and checking brakes, while I slip into my complimentary Lycra top. As I don’t want to ruin morale by exhibiting the male equivalent of a camel toe, I foolishly reject some skimpy cycling shorts. My knees creak in disapproval as we set off down the highway, but they stop whinging as we dip down onto a riverside path. Our path is ideal for cycling, a concrete vein weaving its way through the vibrant green scenery. Soggy paddy fields flank us on both sides while brightly coloured butterflies flap in and out of vision. Van, or ‘Van-the-Man’ as he is affectionately known, highlights the fruit that is flourishing all around us. “There is lots of food growing here,” he explains. “The land is so fertile you get everything from mangoes to mushrooms.” The Ultimate Ride It becomes evident during this opening section that a bicycle is the ultimate vessel for a trip into the Mekong. Despite my garish garb I don’t feel in any way intrusive upon the calm rural scene around me. You’re still hurtling along, but without the harsh spluttering of an engine to interrupt the peace. Later we pedal our way to an ex-army base in the forest of Xeo Quyt, where we are led across a rickety bridge and then wobble into some small wooden rafts. The whole group is struck silent as we paddle down the thin passage that worms through the thick forest. A Mekong equivalent of the Cu Chi tunnels serves as a captivating respite from the ride. Water World Ahead is the cluster of boats that make up the floating market. Cameras poised, we weave through the assortment of buoyant stalls, Van-the-Man hauls aboard some ca phe sua das while busily pointing out the different groceries on sale around us. Vietnam bike tours Roads Less Pedaled We cycle on through the green maze that shoots off in every direction. John is up front and has turned up the pace, not wanting to lose face I pursue him with moronic vigour and predictably crash. I fly over the handle bars face first into a wicker basket housing a fighting cock. Luckily me and the cock are practically unscathed. I only have a cut knee and a dented ego to nurse back to normality. Back to Reality WordHCMC is the current leader in Saigon’s expat magazine. You’ll find interesting articles, promotions, events, listings covering from Arts to wellness and more. It’s been increasingly difficult to get a hold of their FREE copy due to its popularity. Try their website instead.