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[Slideshow] The Story of the Hanoi Defense Motorcycle Club

Before the American War was in full swing, the Hanoi Department of Defense founded the Hanoi Defense Motorcycle Club, a collection of young men and women who were trained to do various tricks and “fly” on their motorcycles. Performing at many national events, the team served to boost morale and provide entertainment to Northern masses, accoding to VN Express.

The group of 20 consisted of men and women between the ages of 18 and 20 who learned some pretty insane bike maneuvers such as, “the tilted boat,” - basically a sidecar wheelie, with 8 people - and the “single tern” – women would stand on the bike’s saddle at 40km/h, open their arms and lean forward to imitate the movements of the sea bird (see slideshow below).

They also learned how to shoot while standing on their motorcycles and how to evade bullets.

Due to a scarcity of equipment and fuel, much of the group’s training was done in a class setting and by imagining various maneuvers.

As one can imagine, the parents of the performers, especially the women, weren't particularly excited about the prospect of their children performing these death-defying moves. Scars and lost teeth were common injuries.

To avoid confrontation, many girls would lie to their parents about the activities, claiming they were taking music lessons when they were studying their motorbike tactics.

Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim, one of the group’s members, recalled that, in the face of parental disapproval, her boyfriend told her “Marry me and I will allow you to practice motorcycling.” And she did just that.

Another member, Mrs. Tran Kim Duc, said that her husband was not supportive of her motorcycle studies and gave her an ultimatum – me or the motorcycle - to which she responded, “I love both but if I only have one choice, I will choose my motorcycle.”

After earning a reputation for their spectacular shows, the team frequently performed at major sporting events from 1964 to 1968.

By 1968, the war had become increasingly fierce and the motorcycle club was disbanded and its members went back to their military units, factories, and business to fight and produce vital items for the war effort.

[VN Express]

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