As a motor bike rider from Bangkok for many years it was only natural that I want to drive in Hanoi, yeah it looked a bit freaky but I was up for an adventure so a couple of weeks after arriving in Hanoi we saw a motorbike for sale on PUKU’s (their old cafe upstairs on Hang Trong Street), so rang the gal and arranged to go and have a look at it.
So, went and looked at it, hard to know what to look at, but went for a wee drive, yip that was a bit freaky but happily we paid the USA$300 and arranged to pick it when she was leaving in a few days. Brought a full face helmet from Pho Hue Street, Hanoi, so was good to go.
She gave me some really good advice, just drive it around in 2nd or 3rd gear while, as it can take off in that gear and then while you are getting used to the traffic, you don’t have to worry about the gear change. That worked a treat as the first ride home was actually in rush hour – whoops, didn’t think that one though very well.
About 3 weeks later after riding it every day all over the place and getting used to it, one of Daisuke’s (my husband) staff walked past and said ”Oh you have a HonGda’,
Me being an English Teacher in the past, I wanted to help with her English and said ‘No that is Honda’
She said ‘Not that one, its a copy motor bike from China – it’s a HonGda’
Whoops, hadn’t even noticed it, but that bike was a real goodie, it took me a million miles (well almost), I used it every day for almost 3 years. Super cheap to run, people said, ‘Oh you’ll have trouble with that bike’, but never did, got a couple of flat tires, got hit by a load of another bike one day, but was able to keep it upright and didn’t lose my shoe (more on that later), and fell off it outside Highland Coffee, Hanoi Towers when the bike just slipped out from under me.
After that I got a couple of new tires as thought the tire wall might be broken, and then when I left I gave it to a charity called KOTO, before I did that, I got the first maintenance check for 3 years, got mirrors put back on it as they fell off at one point, breaks done etc.
If you ever get an opportunity to give something away instead of selling it, it is so worth it, it is my 3rd motorbike I have given away; and for KOTO their delivery driver had been using his own bike for work, which was needing some repairs, so it was a great pleasure to do this.