195km Vientiane to Vang Vieng
After our marathon bus ride to Vientiane and a day of sightseeing, we decide to leave the capital city on Friday for our ride north to Luang Prabang. There’s no natural light in our hotel room but we still manage to wake up around 5am and after cooking breakfast outside on the patio we’re ready to go. These are the best hours for cycling, when the air is cool and refreshing.
Our initially promising early start is soon delayed when we stop at a motorbike shop to fix a very slow leak in Friedel’s front tire. It’s been losing air for about three months now and we’ve just topped it up once a week, being too lazy to find the hole in the tube. Today we decide we’ll sort it out so we stop by the shop to use their compressed air and start to pull the tube out. We instantly attract the attention of four underemployed mechanics and for a moment we wonder if we shouldn’t just get them to do this but then we remember a photo another cyclist showed us of a Lao repair to his tube that went wrong. The patch turned into a big bubble when the tire was inflated. Better to do it ourselves, we think. Unfortunately our five minute stop turns into a half hour job when we realise the new tube we’ve put in also has a hole and it’s a quick leak this time! Off comes the tire again, we patch the hole and eventually we’re on our way. (more…)