Vinh to Ha Tinh
A story about an unfixable tire and luck
The journey continued from Vinh to Ha Tinh and the Lao border. This was former DMZ
area. The war might be history and there's no longer the noise of bombings
to hear but everywhere on the road you find the reminders of the past.
On the road from Vinh to Ha Thin before the problems
Vinh had been unsurprisingly uninteresting. The next leg of my journey turned
out to be far more interesting.
I was 20 km's on my way from Vinh to Ha Tinh and it was raining while I cycled through a little
town Can Loc. There was little to see in town but I felt a well known feeling in
the rear wheel. Having a closer look I saw ... the tube pushing itself out of
the tire ... and saying BANG.
The old man fixing my tire with fishing net
I looked closer and yes, it had happened again, the tire had a hole at the
rim side. It wasn't an old tire, this one had been doing for about 2000 km. And
it had been happening before, two times! Once in Laos in 2006 and once in Wuzhou
China in 2010.
A lady was having fun seeing me in this state. Where would I be able to fix
this? Not in this town, that was clear. What to do? A hole like that would not
be fixed, that was clear and a new tire? I had no doubts there would be no tire
in town, I probably had to go back to Hanoi.
Luck is a mindset ... had this happened only 10km further I would have
had to abandon my bicycle journey from Vinh to Ha Tinh and further to the
DMZ and Laos
The lady however pointed me to the opposite of the street where there was a
bicycle repair shop. Having little choice, I went there. An older man started
happily working on my tube. That was OK with me, although the main problem was
Once the tube was fixed he pointed his attention to the tire. He seemed to be
confident to fix this too. First with a old spare tire he had, he cut a piece
and tried. to get that into my tire. It didn't work.
He left to get a new tire. After some time he came back with a tire that was
not the right size. Than he came with a fishing net and started sewing the tire!
And that worked perfectly. Unfortunately there was a second hole in the tire.
He fixed sewed that one too and I was able to continue. All he asked for his 2
hours work was ONE whole dollar.
Ha Tinh and an explanation about luck
The next 30 km led me to Ha Tinh, a small and uninteresting little town in
north central Vietnam. On the way I already saw several war monuments. It was
still pouring rain.
The rain, though not heavy at time, doesn't show much of
the scenery on the road from Vinh to Ha Tinh.
The old man had told me I would be able to get new tires in Ha Tinh but I
went through the town and saw no bicycle shops. I had been able to cycle 30km on
this tire but it would not last long, I was sure about that. I decided to stay
in the Palace Hotel before I would take the bus to either Hanoi or Hue where I
expected to find tires.
But when I passed the Palace Hotel, I gave the town one last chance, and
cycled into a road I had not checked. No luck. So I went to another hotel and
By now I had accepted I had to continue by bus. And so I told the staff in
the hotel. But one guy who spoke excellent English said: "give me your bike for
one hour and I get you new tires..".
The next morning I cycled out of Ha Tinh ... even the rain had stopped
What did I have to loose. I didn't expect him to come back with tires but you
can not win if you do not play.
An hour and 15 minutes later he came back with 2 brand new 26x1.5 inch Taiwanese
tires! My bike journey was saved and my journey Vinh to Ha Tinh had been the
most lucky part of my journey in Vietnam.
More about the road from Hanoi to Vinh, the
road from Vinh to the Lao Bao border
with Laos, the
DMZ of Vietnam and further to
Hue including more photos of Hue.
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