In this Đạp&Đạp chapter, we take you closer to home. Those of us at Đạp&Đạp grew up in the Mekong Delta. Perhaps it is the familiarity we have with this region that makes us take the beauty of the area for granted. This ride allowed us to remind ourselves of the delta’s ecological beauty and reconnect with our heritage.
Our journey started at Sang's house early in the morning after a rainy night. The cool air the rain left brought ease to the summer day. We filled our lungs with this sweet air and started to pedal. We quickly found the busy roads of Vĩnh Long and made our way Eastward.
The roads were buzzing through the Vinh Long city center as people gathered around the markets for the day’s fresh produce. There doesn't seem to be a right way to the street. Everyone had their own agenda and direction on that same small street. Nothing could wake us up more than this loud, chaotic atmosphere.
It was not long before we found an exit from the main roads and into the tree-covered back roads that Sang was raving about. As soon as we made the right turn, the morning markets' hastiness vanished.
We found ourselves cruising along the Mang Thit brick kilns along the Co Chien river. Brick-making is a traditional industry of Vinh Long, with kilns dating back hundreds of years. Lines and lines of red kiln made for a unique sight.
Our bike handling skills were tested as we navigated through some wet patchy roads. At this point, we could feel the sun settling on our backs. We didn’t mind the sweat but were mindful of our water intake to keep hydrated.
This is the typical landscape of Vinh Long: rice paddies surrounded by rows of larger perennial trees to provide shade from the sun. Those who grow up here probably don’t see much in the picture. It’s all too familiar.
But having left it for years to come back to it now, we realize how lucky we are to have such fertile soil in the region that nourishes Vietnamese generations. We feel small in learning about the diversity of the region. A small thought crosses our mind: we need to protect this land.
After 3 hours of riding in the sun, we were craving something sweet. We stumbled on a small roadside fruit grocer that gave us some much-needed shade and fresh, juicy watermelon. In her typical Southern hospitality, the lady that runs the stall guaranteed us only the best-tasting watermelon and proceeded to let us try the fruit without hesitation that it would taste good.
There is something that makes the watermelon even sweeter, knowing we have worked hard for it. This seems precious in our age of instant gratification. After cooling off, we headed South again towards Can Tho, which we will cover in our next chapter. See you then.
'Rides in Nature' is a new bi-weekly series produced by Đạp&Đạp.
Đạp&Đạp comprises creatives and professionals as well as full-time cyclists like Sang. We come together to share our love for cycling and nature immersion. We are always looking for like-minded collaborators to ride with us. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.