Backpacking Teacher

Travel, teaching and things in between. Saigon is the focus for now.

Saigon Cyclo Challenge 2009

with 4 comments

saigon cyclo

In a few weeks time I’ll be taking part in the Saigon Cyclo Challenge. Our school is entering a team in this annual event and we start training in a couple of weeks. By training I mean we’ll probably rock up to a nearby site, look at the cyclo have a quick ride around and then head off to a local pub.

For those of you not familiar with a cyclo (pronounced sick low) this is what one looks like.


The cyclo can be seen in most parts of Saigon but they seem to be, primarily, a form of tourist transport as local Saigonese prefer to move around town using xe om’s (motorbike taxi). Years ago I remember riding a becak in Indonesia, which is pretty much the same thing as a cyclo, and I recall that it looked much simpler than it turned out to be. I’m sure the cyclo training will come in useful if only so that we manage to keep the thing upright.

The Saigon Cyclo Challenge, to be held on Saturday March 7th, is a charity event used to raise money for Saigon Children’s Charity and businesses, schools and embassy’s traditional enter teams in the race. There are several heats culminating in a final. However it’s not a straight out race. You and your team also have to participate in various pit stop games  which are going to be, by the sound of them, amusing and, if the goo they mention is anything to go by, very messy. I’m looking forward to the day and to enjoying myself with friends and colleagues from work.

This is the official blurb from the Saigon Cyclo Challenge 2009 Press Release. If you wish to find out more see their website at


On Saturday 7 March 2009, the ninth Saigon Cyclo Challenge will be held, re-igniting fierce rivalries forged each year since the Cyclo Challenge of 2001. The Cyclo Challenge is considered to be the premier Event in Saigon’s charity/ sporting calendar. In the nine years since its inception the Cyclo Challenge has proved an enduring Team Building event where Co-ordination and Team Spirit reap Rewards. Teams with Skills such as Imaginative Design, Choreography and Performing Arts and those with Stamina, Manual Dexterity and Determination will Win their Finest Hour.

The Cyclo Challenge is without parallel. It celebrates a unique Vietnamese cultural icon and major tourist attraction: the environmentally friendly, non-polluting Cyclo.

Seven cyclo races will be the feature of the day. Companies riding brightly decorated cyclos and supported by drumming bands and cheerleaders will do battle. This is the day for entertaining staff or corporate clients; the event will feature a VIP marquee, a ‘food village’, corporate hospitality tents, bars and coffee corners and a children’s activity zone.

Over the years hundreds of sponsors and thousands of participants have raised tens of thousands of dollars for the education of children in need. The growth of the Saigon Cyclo Challenge is a glowing testimony to the Health, Fitness and sense of Social Responsibility of Saigon’s business community. Our goal is to raise US$70,000 in 2009.

Spectator fees will be VND250,000 for adults, VND150,000 for children under 12, and free for the under 5s. The Children’s Activity Zone will boast dozens of activities including driving mini-cyclos, bouncy castle, face painting as well as free ice cream, drinks and prizes for our younger spectators to enjoy.


“Cyclo” photograph used under creative commons licence. Original version appears here


Written by backpackingteacher

February 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Wow good luck and sounds like fun! Be careful and don’t get covered with goo or get run over by the Cyclo!


    February 14, 2009 at 6:19 pm

  2. I’ll try not to .. they’re advising us to bring our helmets so I get the feeling that amongst all the fun there are a few people who get competitive 🙂


    February 15, 2009 at 12:01 pm

  3. Sounds like a photographers wet dream, hope you’ll get some photos and have a blast will ya?!

    Expatriate Games

    February 18, 2009 at 3:03 am

  4. I’m sure to get a few pics. They won’t be anything near your standard of photos though EG.


    February 21, 2009 at 5:13 pm

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