Female bike riders in Hanoi


The traffic here shocks …. intimidates. It makes sense that foreigners are not allowed to drive here, but with some papers and dongs, many now are at the wheel. At their own risk.

One thing that stands out in the traffic here is the number of female bike riders. They have graduated from bicycle riding to motorbikes. And they ride them with an ease that stuns many of us. Traffic rules do not exist here, for one, and penalties are rare. The confidence with which they ride their bikes and the sort of activities they indulge in while drving in heavy traffic …. is truly amazing !

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It is not unusual to find chatting, holding hands, texting, talking on the phone, reading, knitting, window shopping and shopping being carried out by the women bikers here. It is a way of life. There is very little left that they do not do on a bike. But the best of it should be riding the bike with a straight posture, feet clasped together as if one is in a Victorian tea lounge and wearing high heels. Stilettos are the most common. This defies any concept of a comfortable, safe and flat shoes wear of a typical biker in the West. Here, the skinnier the pair of jeans, the better. The higher the heels, the better. Many times carrying a baby and a younger child along while talking on the phone.

Safety ?! …. is an alien thought here. Style comes first.


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