Our leader, Son, taught us a series of hand signals to help us communicate while riding single file and in close proximity to one another. We watch the signals coming from the person immediately ahead of us and provide them for the person behind us. This is invaluable for navigating city traffic, changing lanes, and signaling the group to slow down or stop.
Dodging potholes and water buffalo along the rural single lane paths requires quicker response time than hand signals allow. The water buffalo were everywhere this morning. And their size is formidable from a bike. Just as we were admiring a cluster of six or so on either side of our path, mom and her calf started running along beside us. Charming . . . until mom stepped into the path directly in front of me (Sharon) and looked me straight in the eye. Quick braking and dodging were required to avoid going face-to-face with those beautiful brown eyes and the wrath of a mom protecting her baby!
In addition to hand signals, our group adopted some cycling code speak along the way: Đi nào! (Let’s go!), the happy room (bathroom), happy bush (same result), ABC check (air, brakes, and chain), sticky rice (stay close together at a busy intersection), and Kar Ho’s, “It’s just peddling” to put things in perspective on a long or hard ride. And we’ve acquired nicknames: Baz and Shaz from our Aussie travel mate, John.
Something else we’ve acquired is more cycling capacity. Riding is more challenging here than what we experienced in Florida, and we’ve both built strength, even in this short time. We’ve learned a few things, too. I’ve learned some techniques for steep downhill rides and feel more confident using front and back brakes in combination. Barry has learned about downhill speed, clocking 26.3 mph on the ride from Hai Van Pass into Da Nang. Or maybe this is an aptitude undiscovered while cycling Florida ‘s flat topography.