Your safety is one of our foremost concerns on the tour. After all, if someone gets hurt, it’s no fun for anybody at all. Consequently, we take safety precautions very seriously while we’re driving. At the same time, we have great respect for the environment and for local people, so we do everything we can to make sure we’re being good neighbors.
Here are some things to consider when you’re riding with us.
Road Conditions in Vietnam
Road conditions in Vietnam can change quickly, especially during the rainy season. What began as a pleasant, sunny day can quickly turn into downpours. While our bikes are certainly equipped to handle the rain, as all bikes in Vietnam must be, we have to take into account changing situations. Inclement weather can make us go slower, or even have to stop until the rain passes.
Riders also need to take into account traffic patterns and potential hazards. Motorbikes do not win arguments with trucks or buses here, and so big vehicles should always be treated with extreme caution.
Everywhere in Vietnam, people cross the street seemingly at random. Children can often be seen playing in the street as well. When traveling through villages and towns, we’ll slow down considerably so we don’t run the risk of hitting someone’s child or grandma.
Similarly, especially in the countryside, seeing animals like cows, ducks, or goats on the road is very common. These animals have been raised around motorbikes and so don’t spook when one comes near. Slow down, let them pass, and then carry on. Not only would hitting an animal be bad for you, the bike, and the animal, but it would be bad for the person who owns them and depends on them for income.
When riding, we’ll adopt a staggered formation with 1-2 bike lengths on either side of a rider. That means you don’t want to ride next to someone, nor directly behind them. It’s best if the person ahead of you is at your 10 or 2 o’clock instead of at your 12.
Our bikes are all equipped with ABS to give you peace of mind when braking. It’s absolutely no fun to lock up on a mountain road.
We insist on proper riding gear when driving. Although the Vietnamese sun can be hot, the proper gear is well worth it in the unlikely but unfortunately possible event of a crash. They can happen anywhere, and they can happen here, too.
Many people in Vietnam don’t wear proper riding gear—it’s all too common to see someone driving in shorts and flip-flops with no helmet. While riders can usually get away without much damage in a crash at low speeds, at higher speeds on open roads the damage can be much more severe.
Riders should wear fully enclosed boots, gloves, pants, jacket, and a helmet. Some good equipment is available in Vietnam, but not all of what’s available meets industry standards.
Helmets are especially important. After all, how much is your head worth? We strongly suggest riders wear European-certified industry standard helmets. If you don’t have one, we have them available to rent.
We also recommend wearing proper motorcycle riding pants. There are many varieties, but pants made with kevlar offer superior protection against slides and road rash. Draggin’ Jeans are another popular and viable choice—with Kevlar inside the jeans, they still look stylish while protecting against painful slides on the blacktop.
If you have any medical conditions or dietary conditions we should know about please don’t hesitate to tell us. Vegetarians will find themselves with options in Vietnam: rice, fruit, and vegetables are available absolutely everywhere, and alternative proteins like tofu are not hard to come by.
On larger trips, we’ll have a support van complete with first-aid trained staff on board. In the event of an injury, we’ll do everything we can to get you the medical care you need.
If you’re considering immunizations or medical precautions, do recall that while we’ll be in some remote areas of Vietnam, malaria is unheard of in populated areas and quite rare in rural areas. Talk to your doctor about specifics for you before you travel.
Care for the Environment
We have a deep respect and appreciation for the environment. Because of that, we do everything we can to reduce our impact on nature.
Onyabike Adventures considers it our duty and responsibility to create as little waste as possible. Visitors to Vietnam will be happy to note that the trend of using less plastic is taking hold, especially in the larger and more progressive cities. Plastic waste has been a big concern in Vietnam as well as the rest of Southeast Asia in recent years. Younger generations especially are leading the charge in curbing waste. From using eco-friendly straws to water-refilling stations, Vietnam is making strides in managing its waste problem. Unfortunately, single-use plastics are still a massive issue to tackle.
We reduce plastic waste whenever possible. For example, we encourage our riders to bring a refillable water bottle or, better yet, a CamelBak to prevent throwing away single-use bottles. Whenever possible, we avoid plastic straws and plastic bags when purchasing items and we encourage our customers to do the same.
Additionally, all of our bikes are fuel injected and follow modern and follow strict emissions guidelines. The bikes are also regularly serviced and maintained to keep the engines in top shape and prevent unwanted emissions. Motorbike emissions are one of the main causes of pollution in cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and by helping keep our emissions low we’re doing our part in preventing pollution.
When traveling, we make sure to partner with local businesses who have strong environmental and waste management policies. We support them because our values align—it’s good to help the good guys. Phong Nha Farmstay is a perfect example of the kind of people we like to work with: forward-thinking, eco-friendly, and good-hearted.
There are plenty of other small things we do to protect the environment. For example, we avoid starting our own fires. As is the case anywhere, a match struck at the wrong time in the wrong place can lead to wildfires, causing terrible damage to the environment.
Besides the physical environment, we do our best to protect the human environment as well. Noise pollution is a major concern when riding motorcycles. Consequently, our bikes have top-of-the-line mufflers to avoid irritating locals, whether in sleepy villages or larger cities.
Similarly, we slow down when driving through smaller towns or down dirt roads near farmers’ homes. Slowing down is not only safer for children and those crossing the street, but it also prevents kicking up dust on locals’ houses and businesses.
Onyabike Adventures’ Thoughts
Safety and respect are both two-way streets, and we take pride in doing our part to stay safe and protect the environment. Come join us, ride responsibly, and enjoy the outstanding roads Vietnam has to offer.