This post provide addtional information for Cycle Cao Bang 2018 – Cycling the Border Belt

Is it really only 4,095,000 VND* to enter this event?

Yes.  And of this 4,095,000 VND,  25% of it will go towards a local community project in the area so you will see the direct benefit from your entry fee. The remaining component of the entry fee will contribute towards the cost of running of the event, which is being subsidised by CRED.

  • Plus bicycle hire fee

How do I pay for my entry fee?

Your entry fee to secure your place in this event needs to be paid by Monday 9th April.  Your donation must be paid in person at Hanoi’s Helvetas office at 298F Kim Ma, Ba Dinh District.  The office is a couple of gates east of the Family Medical Practice on Kim Ma, and it can be identified by all the large pictures of Helvetas projects on the external fence.

If you are not based in Hanoi and are unable to pay your entry fee in person then please contact Reece Guihot on cycle-cao-bang@guihot.com, and alternative payment arrangements can be discussed.

Daily Stage Briefings

There will be two short briefings each day, no more than 10min.  The morning’s briefing, 1/2 hour before scheduled departure time, will cover the day’s ride stage and particular sections you will need to take extra caution with.  An even shorter dinner briefing will give you all the details on the departure time and arrangements for the following day.  Be sure to pay attention during these as they contain important information.

Bike Wash

At the end of each day’s ride, villagers from the local community will wash your bike for a bargain price of 10,000 VND.  This is a small amount for many of us, but a great contribution to the local economy.  Please pay the local / homestay owner the fee directly on each day’s stage.

Photo Competition

In the spirit of our “stop to smell the roses” event ethos, we will be running a photo competition in conjunction with the tour.  After the tour you are invited to send in your best photo from the event, which you think captures in a single picture the first tour of its kind in Cao Bang.  It could be a photo of the landscape, one of a local, or an action shot that captures participants in the local surrounds.  A judging panel will decide on the best photo from all the entries, and the winner will receive a bottle of red wine donated by Recreation Trail Solutions (RTS).

Luggage

Please limit the size of your luggage to a bag that you could carry on a plane (cabin luggage size).

What level of fitness do I need to participate in this event??

This event is suitable for cyclists able to ride up to 60km a day over multiple days.  Daily routes include a mix of sealed and unsealed roads (the majority) and intermittent sections of narrow trails.

Will there be a Bike Mechanic?

We will have a bike mechanic accompanying us on the tour BUT riders should note that bikes will not be serviced during each day’s stage unless in case of an emergency.  Riders should carry with them spare tubes and a basic tool kit, with the expectation that they will need to get to the end of each day’s stage under their own steam. Make sure you have a well-maintained bike BEFORE you join the event, as there will be limited opportunity to access spare parts in Cao Bang.

In the event that your bike suffers damage and is unable to be ridden then you should call the emergency number on the back of your race plate and we will organise a motorbike or vehicle to pick you and your bike up from the closest suitable point to your current location.

What are the transport arrangements for my bike?

Participants are required to drop their bikes off to bikes store:

  • Address: #10, ngo 175, Hong Ha street, Hoan Kiem.
  • https://goo.gl/maps/3uYaMQu1MUN2, it’s just very near the Long Bien fruit market.
  • Contact person: Mr. Trung – 0912410562

Bike drop-off time: Between noon and 6pm. Latest will be 7pm on the day before departure (so that our mechanic can check your bikes and they can be loaded onto the truck the night before).

Where do we leave from?

The bus will depart from the CRED Office at 298F Kim Ma, Ba Dinh District at 6am on Thursday morning 19th April, 2018.

How will the ride be organised?  

There will be a group start for each day’s stage.  Riders are then encouraged to ride at a speed commensurate with their skill level.  A motorbike guide will lead ahead of the first rider and a sweeper will follow the last rider in the group.

What if I get tired along the way, or need assistance?

We will offer a ‘sag wagon’ during the tour (a car or bus that comes behind and gives slower riders the option of finishing the day’s ride early) but this will only be available on the road sections that are accessible by car.  We will be able to extract riders and their bikes from the trail but only in an emergency, and this will require two motorcycles (one for the participant, and one for their bicycle).

How will my luggage be transported each day?

Your luggage will be transported between homestays by bus, so you only need to take with you the things you need for the day’s ride.

What happens after each day’s riding?

After arriving at the homestay and settling in you are welcome to explore the local area (by bicycle or by foot), or sit back and relax with a cold drink and snacks.

What do I need to bring?

Your choice of clothing will be dictated by the weather, so keep an eye out on the forecasted conditions a few days out from departure.  You will need:

  • Towel
  • Usual travel stuff
  • Spare tubes and tools to fix basic mechanicals (flat tyres, multi-tool)
  • Mobile phone (mandatory) including charger – there will be power outlets available to charge.
  • Your own drink bottle for the bike and/or hydration pack.  We are doing our bit for the environment by using single large water bottles that you can use to refill your own, rather than disposable plastic bottles.
  • Head lamp or small torch.
  • Snacks to eat along the way (e.g. muesli bars).
  • Bicycle helmet.  These are MANDATORY for this event, and riders will not be able to participate without one.

In addition to a mobile phone it is highly recommended that riders purchase a Vittel SIM card if they do not already have one.  Vittel is the carrier of choice in the remote regions of Vietnam, and offers coverage in areas where some of the other carriers don’t.

Be sure to bring an “emergency” kit – there are no bathrooms along the trail for the most part.

What are the conditions in the homestays where we will be staying?

Homestay tourism in Cao Bang is still at its very early stages, so in many of the homestays the bedding is very simple, the meals are traditionally cooked, and the amenities (while western in design) are very basic in style.  We can though guarantee great home-cooked food, cold drinks on a deck with amazing views and a good night’s sleep at the end of each day. The homestays are clean and all bedding comes with mosquito nets for the comfort of guests, and while still working to improve their offerings to tourists the owners are very proud of their homestays and are looking forward to welcoming you.

Does the trip include insurance?

No it does not includes any insurance, so please make sure you have your own insurance.  You will be required to sign a waiver form before the departure of the trip.


Responsible Travel Tips

Here is a simple list of what you can easily do on our trip to help leave a better place for the local community as well as a great place for our future generation to visit.

  • Please respect our people, environment and culture.
  • When riding, please take the leader’s instruction, follow the traffic rules and respect others on the roads,
  • Please do not litter, and dispose of your garbage in a designated place or container.
  • Please bring your own water bottles, we will have places to refill your water daily.
  • Please do not show public displays of affection in the village. And avoid wearing revealing clothing.
  • Do not give money or any gifts to children or even adults, who you meet on your way,
  • Please always ask for permission if you would like to enter someone’s house.
  • When you are staying overnight, please be respectful of the villagers as they go to bed early.
  • Please avoid touching the heads of the infants.
  • Please do not take a photo of anyone without kindly asking first. And please do not take photos of their infants.
  • If you promise to send back a photo, make sure you are sincere in your offer.
  • Please make a stand against sex tourism and report any illegal activities to the tour leader or the authorities.
  • Please say no to any souvenirs made from animals.

Thank you very much and happy riding!