img_2849Don and I have been a tandem team for several years now, with palmares including a top five finish in the Australian National Paracycling Championships and a number of wins and podiums in A grade in our local Vets club in Canberra, where we race against “single” bikes.

Don, a longtime Audax rider still going strong at almost 60, has lost much of his vision to retinitis pigmentosa. He can see straight ahead in a narrow band, but has lost his peripheral sight. While he still rides his single bike on quiet country roads in Australia, it’s only possible for Don to race in the stoker’s seat of the tandem. 

In November 2016 we realised our long-held dream of doing a road cycling tour of Vietnam on the tandem, from Sapa to Hanoi. Not that he was counting, but Don reckons we covered 725km with 10330m gained over 6 days of riding.

We thought the tandem would be a hit in Vietnam and we were right. It seemed like everywhere we went the excited cry “Xe dap doi!” [Tandem!] would ring out, and delighted H’mong and Thai children would ride and run alongside us for as long as their legs held out. A truly amazing experience.

These guys

After the Topas Vietnam Mountain Bike Marathon in Sapa we rounded up these crazy guys for an epic ride back to Hanoi over 7 days.

the bike

Our bike is a custom XACD titanium frame with Enve forks and Ultegra drivetrain. It took everything Vietnam had to throw at it in its stride.

Tandems can climb.

Climbing can be tough going but on the descents and flats we get tandem superpowers.

Hit the north

It seemed like every day brought its own particular style of beautiful country.

The fire

After a 17km descent in mist and rain things got a bit shivery. Local villagers were so alarmed at the state we were in they swung into action and lit a fire for us. Only in Vietnam…

The gang

Photo opp.

Friend

Two is for Tandem.

 

coming back

Thanks for an awesome ride guys. The tandem will definitely be returning to Vietnam.

With thanks to Nic, Rusty, Bleeksie and Kinchy for contributed photographs. Looking forward to riding with you again guys.