Hanoi Cyclists – From Classic to Hippy

With more than 4000 active cyclists, various lakes to stroll around and diverse options to get away, Hanoi can satisfy any demanding cyclist if he/ she know hows 😉

Hanoi Cycling Nostalgia

Before turning into a motorbike-crazy city, Hanoi used to be a haven of nostalgia. Decades ago, in subsidy period, bicycles were considered a great asset of families.  As the main transport means at that time, the bicycles are memories, romance and even pride of generations. Bicycle riders had to pass the test to earn driving license, have their bikes installed license plates. School boys carried their girls on the back of a bicycle with red flame flowers on the front basket, marking a classic icon.

cau long bien hanoi
Long Bien bridge, icon of a generation
chiec xe thong nhat
In front of a cinema where bicycles have proper parking space
chung nhan so huu xe dap
A decent driving licence for…cyclists.
hanoi thoi bao cap
An old bicycle kept in a Hanoi Museum

At that time,  the most desirable brands are  Peugeot, Aviac or Mercie with value can be compared to a car driving registration paper nowadays. A great source of nostalgia.

From being classic to being hippy

Decades passing by witnesses the huge transformation of Hanoi from an elegant cycling city to a crazy motorbike metropolis. I felt so sad when recently expensive imported pollution masks have been hunted, as a sign of trendiness and even..fashion. In rush hour, Hanoi is a nightmare, full of motorbike hubs.

respro masks
Well this girl has eyes worth dying for, but beautiful babe, do not turn this into a fashion icon

Nevertheless, a new generation is rising: youngsters who are health conscious are bringing bikes to the transportation scene. They are forming groups, actively participating in events, roaming around the city and out of it, either in their close-knit groups or in bigger gangs. They even connect with each other and support Cross-Vietnam youngsters in a mission to explore their home country and at the same time, themselves.

Tom, trainer of Hanoi Elite Fitness with his 6-pack friend on an early morning in Hoan Kiem Lake. Are they also the little boys in the picture? You wanna find out 😉 ?

emong mtb

Emong, an active cycling group, in one of their cycling charity Emong,trips to mountainous areas

banana bike
Minh Tran Anh, a member of Hanoi Banabike Club, set up by the French expat Yoann Forsure for Hanoi youngsters to try dirt jump
banabike club
Banana Bike members dig the dirt paths themselves
long bien bridge
A huge farm right under the city bridge
trang kiu
Trang Kiu, a biking enthusiast in her cross-Vietnam cycling trip


Hanoi is definitely not a cycling city compared to Amsterdam or Copenhagen, yet will not disappoint you when you know who to play with. Cool cyclists there welcome you with all their arms 🙂


2 thoughts on “Hanoi Cyclists – From Classic to Hippy

  1. Très bien! Mais tout est compatible! Je fais du vtt à Hanoi (jen ai acheté un!) et dans les environs. Mais cela ne m’empêche pas de faire aussi de la moto :la plupart des déplacements dans cette grande ville se font en moto bike, engin le plus approprié à la circulation urbaine et beaucoup moins polluant que les 4×4 dièsel qui infestent les grandes métropoles du monde! En France, l’achat de ce type de véhicule a été encouragé par des mesures de défiscalisation!
    Nous pouvons être nostalgique mais ne pouvons certes pas arrêter le progrès et le modernisme certes tout azimut auquel peut prétendre une nation!
    Pensions nous à la protection de la couche d’ozone lorsque les grands groupes exploitaient les mines de charbon? Que font aujourd’hui les EU à cet égard ? Commençons par balayer devant notre porte! Salut à mon pote Yoann!!


    1. Wow Google Translate does a good job. I can understand your message without barely knowing any French, though I think that is just your choice of language use in this case 😉

      Yes definitely with motorbikes people can go faster and further, and motorbikes are less polluting than cars, so relatively speaking motorbikes are at least a better transportation option than cars, at least in Hanoi.

      But attacking motorbikes is not my purpose, it is a medium, a background to emphasize the main topic: bicycles. A means of comparison to illustrate, not the main topic.

      Merci anyway for taking your time to comment and have a great time in Hanoi.


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