So from when I last posted, we were meant to leave Hanoi. We put if off for one day because I was ill and didn’t fancy sitting on the bike then we put it off the next day because Joe was really hungover and then we put it off AGAIN because Joe ate some dodgy eggs and we’re pretty sure he had food poisoning. So basically a week later we were still in hanoi.
We eventually got up late at 10am. Joe was still feeling pretty rough but it was only like 70km so we figured that we couldn’t take anymore Hanoi and should def leave. So we got up packed the bags and went off to get Hettie. We got going and broke down 2seconds down the road the man from the shop came to rescue us and basically the bike garage had robbed all the petrol so that was why we couldn’t go. We got started again with a little bit of fuel and also got directions to the nearest petrol station. The only problem was that at every set of traffic lights (and there were a lot) the bike would cut out and Joe would have to kick start it, meaning that I pretty much had to put my leg behind my head in order to get out of the way. It sure gave the locals something to laugh at anyway. After making it to the petrol station our next mission, to navigate our way out of Hanoi. Hmmm easier said then done but it all went smoothly considering we were relying on navigational skills and my sense of direction is pretty appalling! Think it runs in the family! So it was almost celebration time one road all the way to the ferry ow easy!
But oh no it got a little bit worse, just as we were leaving Hanoi via this massive motorway bridge that goes over the river, disaster. All of a sudden there was a massive clunking noise and something didn’t seem quite right, we were in the slowest bike lane anyway so pulled over to the side, not that theres any hard shoulder so we were literally stranded in the middle of this bridge. Joe had a look at the bike and it appeared the chain had come off, the bit that it was meant to be attached to looked a bit broken but hey i’m no mechanic. We had a few options:
Option 1: One of us walks back into town to where we know there a mechanic who speaks english. This option would be long and lonely and had ample opportunities for something to go wrong so not a good option really.
Option 2: Wait for someone to stop. This option may too sound silly, but this was my favourite option, theres so much traffic and the people of Vietnam have been kind to us so far I was convinced someone would stop and help us off the motorway at least.
Option 3: Throw a tantrum like Joe and get very emotional because his new toy was broken. (stupid option)
While we were debating the above options a man stopped. He spoke a little english and looked at the bike, he confirmed what we already knew “this is broken” then he came out with “now I will help you” great I thought we’re saved. He went over to his bike and came back with a little bit of string. Unless this guys Dynamo how the hell he’s going to fix the bike with that! Anyway turns out the string wasn’t actually for fixing the bike silly me. He just tied up the chain so our wheel could move and then he was going to tow us off the motorway. This did not sound fun to me but the boys were all ready to go so on I jumped. It wasn’t actually as bad as I thought we went really slow and it was actually quite nice. Joe got annoyed because I was trying to take photos and apparently now was not the time. We got to a junction and our lift stopped and gathered up the rope “Now I push” he declared as the rest of the road was downhill he was going to push us.
Joe was in panic mode and had decided that this guy was just going to give us a push and wave goodbye but I had faith in our new friend. He push us about 2k to the nearest town and motorbike garage. He then explained that he’d stay with us because we weren’t local they might try and rip us off. I still cannot believe the kindness of this man. He literally spent about 2 hours helping us. Still not knowing what was wrong with the bike we expected that today could be another right off, but we waited patiently while our friend spoke to the mechanic. 80,000dong was what he said and 15 minutes! BARGAIN! As it took the back wheel off it was clear to even the untrained eye what the problem was, the bolts holding the wheel on were basically cracked in half.
Obviously taking into account the use of the bike over a long period of time with all the extra weight on the back wheel had obviously taken its toll. It didn’t kind of sink in then how dangerous the whole situation was, in theory the bak wheel could of fallen off. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that, that could be pretty dangerous. After about half an hour chatting to the ads that worked in the shop and our friend we were deemed road fit and settled up. All the lads at the bike shop were admiring my Dr martens as we left. Our new friend came with us to make sure we were on the right road and that everything was okay with the bike before heading back to his village. What an unbelievably kind man. We made it to cat Ba with no further issues.