One of our bike guides, tour operator as Mr Van the Man and others have almost explored and found variety of short and long distance dirt tracks, concrete footpaths through traditional villages, a huge system of Vietnam's Mekong River. Especially the unique cycle routes which you could not find on traditional maps and on internet. Many of our bike guides have kept finding out new bike routes in the low seasons of every year and we have kept scouting since 2008. That's the reason why our bike tours to Mekong Delta has well tailor-made beforehand. Published on Saturday, 09 January 2010 11:59 Written by Freddie Quick Vietnam bike tours The reports I had heard from friends about their adventures in the Mekong Delta were largely negative. They had all been dragged on similar whistlestop tours that included little fresh air, uninspiring boat rides and a tedious visit to a candy factory. So, when the chance to see The Delta in a more original and revealing fashion arose, I was raring to go. Escaping Saigon fills me with relief, a feeling amplified by the sight of locals relieving themselves into the murky river that snakes along beside us. We stop off for a bowl of pho bo and I begin to get to know the duo better. John is an Australian, living and running a business in Ho Chi Minh City. His love of cycling and faith in the skills of close friend Van has led him to invest in this blossoming project. Van will be our human GPS/bike anorak for our dive into The Delta. With five years of tour experience and a collection of secret hand-drawn maps among his artillery, I feel assured that the trip will indeed be an eye opening alternative look at the area. 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 My slightly numb buttocks urge me to don the padded spandex previously spurned, so I nip off behind a hedge and re-emerge looking like (or thinking I do) the real deal. Soon we are soaring into Sa Dec, a charming little town littered with crumbling buildings. I pause on a bridge to soak up the seemingly time-locked scene and realise I haven’t seen another tourist all day. We stop for lunch in an old colonial villa that was the childhood home of French novelist Marguerite Duras, a writer who put Sa Dec on the big screen when her famed novel The Lover was made into a movie. Water World “They advertise what they are selling, by strapping a sample to high bamboo sticks,” he explains. Many of the boats have colourful eyes painted on their bow, this crowned with flowers and wafting incense lends the scene an ancient, magical quality. The sun has shifted from a deep orange to golden as we make our way back towards a horizon silhouetted with black spiky palms. 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 Back in Saigon I realise how wrong I was to dismiss a tour to The Delta; it is simply about choosing the right one. The last couple of days my eyes have flickered restlessly over the whirlwind of sights The Mekong has to offer, all the while getting some good exercise and satisfying the universal tourist obsession with avoiding its own ilk.