BackSociety » [Video] Wheels of Steel: Tearing Across Saigon on Japanese Fixies

[Video] Wheels of Steel: Tearing Across Saigon on Japanese Fixies

Just 10 years ago, the fixed-gear bike was an unfamiliar concept in Vietnam; now, there’s a thriving community of riders here in Saigon with enthusiasts from all walks of life.

As Vietnam doesn’t produce fixed-gear bikes, or fixies for short, most Saigoneers who are interested purchase imported bikes from Thailand, China or Taiwan. Le Tung (Nehil Nemo) and Dang Khoa, however, are all about Japanese bikes. Tung and Khoa ride NJS-certified Keirin bicycles bought from District 10’s Cog Bike Station. Few fixed-gear bicycle riders in Saigon are as old as Nehil, who is 28, or take the sport as seriously. The majority of fixie fans in the city are casual teenage riders who opt for cheaper bikes from China.

Keirin means “racing cycle” in Japanese; only bikes approved by the Nihon Jitensha Shinkokai, or Japanese Keirin Association, are allowed to take part in races. Founded in 1948, participants compete on brakeless fixed-gear bicycles in the Japanese bike race. According to Tung, the lack of brakes means that every trip calls for a bit more planning than normal. Emergency stops require more exertion and could be dangerous on Saigon’s chaotic streets.

The inherent danger, however, doesn’t stop Tung and Khoa from zipping up Saigon streets at night on their trusty fixies, slipping through narrow openings and barely avoiding numerous accidents. Follow along on one of their white-knuckle evening trips in the video below:

Related Articles:

[Photos] The Iconic La Dalat, Vietnam’s First Domestic Vehicle

Once Invisible, Saigon's Underground Scene Emerges Into Light

Meet Nguyen Thi That, Vietnam's First Cyclist to Ride for a Professional European Team

Related Articles

in Society

5 Vietnamese Universities Crack Top 400 Schools in Asia: QS

Five Vietnamese universities were included in this year’s QS Ranking (Quacquarelli Symonds) for Asia. However, their positions are rather humble compared to their regional counterparts.

in Society

After Alleged Hacking, Hanoi Online Poll on Wartime Loudspeaker Reopens

The saga surrounding Hanoi’s wartime loudspeakers is more complicated than meets the eye.

in Society

Banana Leaves Make Glorious Comeback in Supermarkets Across Vietnam

After straws, Vietnam’s anti-plastic movement now has a new target: plastic grocery wraps.

in Society

Ben Tre Businessman Gives Former Convicts, Addicts New Lease on Life

After reading his job posting in the local newspaper, many people thought Kieu Thanh Tam had lost his mind: “Help wanted: ex-convicts and drug addicts who want another chance at life.”

in Society

Catching 'Em All in Saigon: Pokemon GO Brings More Than Old School Nostalgia to Vietnam

One of my colleagues threatened to ban Pokemon GO in the Saigoneer office after he saw me catching a Pidgey, a bird-type Pokemon, at our desk.

in Society

Chasing Pavements: In Defense of Saigon's Sidewalk Economy

As Doan Ngoc Hai, the leader of Saigon’s most aggressive sidewalk-clearing campaign in recent memory, takes a brief hiatus, headlines about towed cars and demolished buildings often obscure the r...