Back Arts & Culture » Culture » [Photos] Hanoi's Perusers of Perfect Pedals

[Photos] Hanoi's Perusers of Perfect Pedals

It was a cloudy Saturday morning when Saigoneer arrived at the Thanh Nien Street trà đá spot next to Ho Tay.

It is an exceptional trà đá location, as well as a meeting point for morning cyclists. Hanoi’s esteemed collectors of vintage bicycles also gather here, with their lavishly expensive bikes parked proudly for all to admire.

“My bike was made in 1937, the 743rd out of 3,700 units that was built,” Trần Như Tô, a member of the Hanoi Bicycle Past and Present Club, shares about his silver Caminargent. “It has a hexagonal frame, and the nuts and bolts alone are worth tens of millions of Vietnam dong because they have the brand stamped into them.” Tô discloses that the entire bike cost him VND130 million.

These weekend meetings are not just a place to socialize, but also a specialized trading ground. “It’s important for the bike to have matching parts,” says Nguyễn Văn Long, another member of the club. “I usually buy the frame first, then slowly find the right parts to fit it.” Long and his wife have been collecting vintage bicycles for decades, boasting a collection of over 50 bikes of brands like Peugeot and Mercier; all in pairs of male and female versions with matching colors.

If impossibly pricey vintage wear is your deal, the group usually gathers every Saturday and Sunday morning around 7am, enjoying and appraising each other’s treasures before pedaling off to continue their day.

A matching headlight and fender.

The nuts and bolts of this bike may be worth millions of dong, as the brand is stamped on them.

"TC are mine and my wife's name," Tô explains, "while 1566 adds up to eight [a lucky number]."

Another matching headlight and fender set.

A bike perched proudly on its kickstand while other examples get looked over.

Sleek lines.

One of the many adored bikes at the meet-up.

A group of men ogle the bikes.

Another fine example of a vintage bike.

If it's in French, you know it's authentic.

A group member taking his pride and joy home.

Partner Content