Upon writing this, I have been torn between two decisions: polishing all images and telling an exciting, fun journey, or just pouring out thoughts about nothing but a weird day cycling out. I think about 10 years later when I read it again, and present audience I have in mind will already have vanished. Having acted a lot in work and life, I want my words to just be plain, no matter how fucked-up they appear.
When “the leader” does not want or prepared to lead
This day out all started from an impulse of mine. Having biked enough for a month, a getaway to wherever does not trigger desire or excitement. I had enough of being a tour leader in my work, so when it comes to a casual event, I really let it loose. Nobody pays me for this, no cash flow pressure, great.
In other words, I anticipate problems, a certain level of people’s disappointment, guilt from irresponsibility, bad bikers. And on top of that, I chose to make no effort whatsoever to connect team members, cheer them up, prepare in advance, or networking afterwards, or talking to them, or adding friends. Nothing.
So as predicted, 7 human beings showed up with their expectations ebbed and flowed, like a snake with a drunk head, leading to Can Gio in a 100km round trip, not knowing they are about to suffer, not knowing that the organizer actually does not give a damn. Probably the worst one they have encountered in their lives.
Interesting mix of characters
Nevertheless, the people that joined the trip are all interesting people. We had a German chef who has lived in Vietnam for 7 months after 4 years in Thailand with a diverse point of view, his adorable manager, a Hoi An young slim girl who is pro-active and firm in her own way. With them are interesting Saigon youngsters, a 18-year-old girl currently studying under graduation in Arizona and her 14-year-old silent brother. In an ideal scenario, someone should explore each of them then connect them in conversations, but I did nothing. I just wanted to observe and be an outsider.
Along the way we met a couple in their 50s but can beat everyone else in terms of style and stamina. The white ninja biking couple who always watch out and observe for other members.
Together we formed a vast spectrum of age and riding skills. Some have been biking frequently and savvy as hell, some are first time long-route bikers who are still not ready to stretch. Stories of why they end up doing what they are doing and their reactions to various situations on the route, as well as exchanges about Vietnam are things we can take home. Brief small talks nevertheless, those interactions are worth to be thankful for.
To me personally, what I will keep remembering is how interesting the white ninja bikers are, which confirmed my perception: you can age elegantly, healthily, influencing others in a positive way just by being who you are. It is not youth which is worth worshiping, it is actually age added by stories and experiences that truly can leave legacy on others.
For people that are still young, maybe it is time to remove the illusion of youth. Youth may mean enthusiasm, but very often mean stupidity. The privilege of having optimal health or much time ahead for stories unwritten does not guarantee anything.
Yet on the other side of the coin, you can also become a freaking boring old person with no stories. Being old does not guarantee wisdom either. Neither youth or aging itself is something to be proud of.
Great 32 km route across Can Gio forest
To be fair, when removing all unnecessary interpersonal details, the 32 km towards Can Gio deserves to be a path in dreams: lush green forest on two sides and clean street in the middle, with many bridges crossing various rivers along the way. If I can change, I will use Doaremon’s magic door to teleport there, ride for 32km then be back on bed immediately.
A route I would not mind to ride again.