Bicycles in Hanoi

I’d never ride a bicycle here in Hanoi. I’ve seen bikes carrying a complete portable shop, huge loads of flowers and vegetables, boxes strapped together, a tall stack of square egg cartons, multi-gallon jugs of water, and even live plum trees now that Tet has ended. Often a cyclist gives a friend a ride, or uses the bike to carry the whole family. Many cyclists wear face masks to avoid inhaling the polluted air, but nobody wears a helmet. Hanoi cyclists are fearless, as they weave through hordes of motorbikes, cyclos, cars, buses, and trucks. Most streets have no stop signs or stoplights, so it’s a web in the intersections, with every cyclist bravely advancing and every driver honking a horn. As a pedestrian, I cautiously step through the traffic, wondering how on earth I’ll ride a bicycle in Vietnam!

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