When public gatherings are restricted in the Covid-19 pandemic, people in Hanoi brainstorm to exercise outdoor safely and many have come up with cycling around West Lake, a healthy way to enjoy the view and do exercise. 

Old place, new pleasure

Cycling is a favorite sport for everyone in different ages and occupations. Photo: Quoc Hung

Located in the city’s northwestern region, with nearly 18 kilometers of the shore length and 500 hectares of water surface, West Lake is the largest lake of Hanoi.

The lack is seen the most beautiful one thanks to nice landscapes and various historical and cultural sites of Hanoi and Vietnam by its shore, such as Tran Quoc Pagoda, the city’s oldest Buddhist temple; Quan Thanh Temple, one of the four sacred temples of ancient Hanoi; Nghi Tam village with silkworm, bonsai and ornamental fish trade; or Nhat Tan village which is famed for flower planting trade.

Recently, as more and more people cycle around the lake, bicycle rental shops are mushrooming on the surrounding streets, offering a reasonable price of VND40,000 ($1.75) for three-hour-ride on weekdays and VND50,000 ($2.2) for three hours on the weekend.

Bike for rent in the Westlake. Photo: Good Morning Bike Rental

The bikes for rent are varied in sizes and shapes for all ages and height of customers. They are also lighter than ordinary bicycles, allowing riders to move more easily and quickly over long distances and on diverse terrain.

According to the bike rental shop owners here, many people don’t need to buy a bike because they could rent it by the hour.

During the week, each store rents between 60 and 80 bikes. During the weekend, the supply goes up to 100 bikes but still cannot meet the demand.

Interesting activity

Cycling around the West Lakesafe is a physical exercise for residents of all ages in Hanoi amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Quang Tim

Cycling is a favorite sport for everyone in different ages and occupations, from children to elders and from office workers to businesspeople and retired ones.

One of them, Hoang Anh, an IT officer, usually comes to West Lake at the weekend to have coffee with friends and enjoy the scenery, especially the sunset. Recently, when learning about the bike rental service, he and his friends use it to discover more hidden beauties of the lake, something they could not do if they walked.

Another, Thu Phuong, a student at the Academy of Journalism and Communication, said she used to run around West Lake to exercise. She is now switching to biking as the rental fee is cheap and biking is also good exercise that helps her explore the West Lake area more easily.

Many people also agree with Phuong as cycling is a good sport to help lose fat, gain muscle especially for the legs and release stress after work. So that it is soon favored by everyone, especially those who have to work eight hours per day in the office.

Cycling with a rental bike is a new hobby of youth. Photo: Good Morning Bike Rental

Some people sharing the same interest come together to set up bicycle clubs. They even have uniforms like cyclists of Coureur club.

 One of them, Minh Hoa, an office worker, who lives far from the lake, usually takes her children here on a motorbike and then rents bicycles to cycle all together.

“Besides the nice scene for cycling, West Lake is a place to do many interesting things, such as fishing, taking photos in the valley of flowers, and enjoying delicious dishes,” she said.

For others, cycling is also a useful way to protect the environment. Some clubs cycle not only around West Lake but also in other areas to propagandize about environmental protection by reducing the use of motorbike and riding bikes instead.