SAIGON CYCLES WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU GET THE BEST GEAR FOR YOUR NEEDS
Need advice on which bike to buy or where to ride? Come in and see us for a full review of your needs. We ride, lots. We know the conditions encountered in Vietnam and we stock the right bikes for the conditions. Don’t know what size fits you? We have certified fit personnel whom can help you get the right fit the first time.
Fit is critical to comfort and comfort is critical to a long relationship with your bike. Want to find a trail to go riding with your friends on the weekend, we have a vast knowledge of the trails around the region and can provide you with a map, or better still take you there!
BUYING A BIKE
What type of bike to buy?
Many of us get an idea, from something we have seen that tells us, “I want a bike like that, I want to ride like that”. We start to visualize ourselves on that bike , flying through the countryside , wind in our hair, all the ‘slower” competitors left in our wake! What glory! This vision can be had on several types of bikes, of differing purpose, designed for different conditions. Make no mistake, the fun is the same, but conditions vary greatly so the selection of the “tool for the job” is crucial to the realization of the vision.
Choosing the right size?
Once you have decided on the type of riding you want to do, and the type of bike you want, then it is time to get into the “mythical” world of bicycle sizing! As with many of our human specialties, there is a certain human invented mystique surrounding bicycle sizing. From all manner of special formulas to unfounded theories on the best way to fit a bike. What it all boils down to is you “need ” a bike to feel comfortable, and to feel that way for an extended period. Make no mistake though, a bicycle has not yet been invented that is “comfortable” in the sense of your favourite armchair confortable, but there are ways to make the experience as “comfortable as possible”. Correct frame size for your body type is crucial to your long term relationship with your bike. We will help get you “close” with your size, then we invite you to ride the options. Only you know what feels comfortable for you, as only you live with your body type and your minor “ailments”. Some people like a larger frame, or a smaller frame. We will work with you to get you fitted to your bike.
Where do I want to ride?
What will I use the bike for? If it’s for the next “Iron Man” then there is a limited choice, and we can provide that bike for you. If however it is like “most” people who want a bike to do “everything” then we can provide the tool you need. So the decision is simple, decide what type of riding you want to do first, then decide on the type of bike you want to purchase to do that riding.
Is it “my colour”?
Of course, once all the theory is done with and we have both type and size locked in, there is always the colour scheme? At Saigon Cycles we stock what we like to ride, however our fashion sense may not be yours, so we carry a range of bikes we think people will like. If we don’t have what you like then we can order from the catalogue or we can do a complete custom build if it is one of the TREK Project One Road or Triathlon machines? We know that no matter if someone says “Oh, I don’t care about what it looks like” it really means “ we all care about what we look like and I want my bike to look ‘cool” so I want something which suits my tastes. Lets face it, we all care about what we look like?
Accessories for safety
We, at Saigon Cycles believe in safe riding practices. As noted elsewhere on this site, we are riders. As riders of vast experience we are also people who have had accidents. We have crashed, sometimes at speed, and we have seen first hand the benefits of wearing the correct protective equipment on the bike. There is a reason why all competitors in all motor sports wear a helmet. There is a reason why all professional cyclists wear protective equipment when racing. The reasons are simple. The ground, and the tarmac are unforgiving. If you value your health (and don’t we all) then you need to wear the simple things which make your person as safe as possible in the event of an accident. We will provide this for you. We can also advise on the best, affordable product for you. Helmets, gloves, lights, clothing we have the full range.
Accessories for keeping you riding
Apart from safety there are the more mundane items like tubes and tools. Every time we head out we have one goal. To get where we are going. Nothing dampens the enthusiasm like a flat tyre? Well, maybe a flat tyre in the rain could! We can provide you with the necessary tools to keep you riding, spare tubes, repair kits, pumps, CO2 inflators, multi tools, cables. One of the thrills of cycling is a certain self dependency and these tools and components will help to maintain that self dependency.
How often do I need to adjust “things”?
Basic maintenance will help keep you rolling trouble free. The small investment in time it takes to do these minor adjustments will help you out on the road or trail.
Oil the chain
Many do not realize but the external drive chain was never designed to be run as an exposed unit. It was designed to run in a fully enclosed oil bath so it makes sense, that if you wash your bike, you oil the chain, every time. A well oiled chain will keep your bike rolling smoother, quieter and more efficiently.
Adjust the brakes and shifters
Regardless of some manufacturing claims, all steel cables will stretch after they are used for some time. We ask all our customers to bring their bike in 1 month after purchase and we will adjust both brake and derailleur cables for them.
Every few months, bring the bike in for a service and we will keep everything running smoothly for you.
Cycling in Vietnam
For those who have been in Vietnam for some time, or those who were born here , they know that road conditions across Vietnam vary greatly from Province to Province and from city to country. New roads are under construction but sadly the quality of these works leave a little to be desired. Road conditions can best be described as ‘barely adequate” with most being over used and under maintained. For the conditions encountered in Vietnam an ‘all terrain” type bike is preferencial. This of course is not to say that road racing bikes cannot be used but you have to find the right roads for their use, and be prepared for punctures!
Being confortable on the bike
Being Comfortable means being confident. Confidence comes from understanding traffic flow, wearing the correct protective gear, having a well maintained bike and having a definite destination and knowing the route to get there!
Most visitors to Vietnam are absolutely “shell shocked’ by the traffic conditions here. If they are coming from a Western country all they see is mayhem and what appears to be chaos. Those whom have become accustomed to the traffic here know that despite the mayhem, there is a method to the flow. “ Go Behind” must be the call for all traffic conditions! People will merge, they will cross, they will stop mid stream and make what appear to be a totally unrelated decisions but if you “go behind” then on “most” occasions you will be fine. This is how the flow works. A bicycle is a good way to travel in traffic as it sits you higher than the moto’s and moves at a pace which enables you time to avoid collision and the definite uncertainty of far too many of road users.
At Saigon Cycles our customer’s safety is paramount. If you purchase a bike from us we will ALWAYS recommend you purchase a helmet. You don’t have to buy it from us but we recommend the wearing of an approved helmet at all times regardless of what the law says. If you don’t need your head, you don’t need a helmet.
Training and nutrition
The climate of the tropics is humid. Humidity makes us perspire and even though we don’t realize it as we ride, we lose a lot of moisture through perspiration. Always carry adequate water with you, everywhere, at all times. Every bicycle has a facility for carrying water and in the Vietnam climate this is critical to your ability to maintain your effort over many hours of riding.
These are good for recovery, good for instant energy and good for those times when you can’t get food but need to keep riding. They are also short term fixes, which will help you get over the bump, but for longer term use will cause such issues as indigestion and possible stomach upsets. By all means use supplements, but use them sparingly.
I hear it often. “oh,I don’t want to eat because I am on a diet” or ‘ I’m trying to lose weight so I won’t eat on the ride”. That’s fine, accept you won’t lose weight if you don’t eat whilst riding or doing any form of physical exercise. You will just run out of energy and “bonk’. It is not the time to lose weight whilst on a ride. All exercise burns calories and regardless of how much fat you carry, you will not survive a long ride without eating something.
Vietnam is simply brimming with great cycling food! 100 grams of rice will supply 800 calories which will get most of us through 1 hours constant riding. A banana will get you through another 40 minutes, or a handful of ‘cham cham” will carry you further and with little stomach problems.