Painted Roads in Vietnam!


I am now in Hanoi about to head of into the beautiful north east with my old chum Phong and a group of friends from tours gone by for a bicycle adventure. The short version of what follows is “I will in future be doing most of my blogging on a new blog, The Painted Roads blog”,
please click on the link and bookmark said blog, or better still sign up to follow it. For more details of Painted Roads please read on.

Through the sorcery of Apple Macintosh, Google and WordPress I am aware that despite my blogging absence a few folks have been checking in on Walks World over the past few weeks. That I have had little to say or show I apologise for, but, despite what you may believe, I have not been idle.

Over the past few years my future has been in a state of flux as my desires and imagination have flitted dramatically between passions and needs. To once again load a bicycle with stove and pot and tent and bedroll and head out into the Himalayas or Andes for a prolonged spell of living wild and free, testing myself against that most ardent, ferocious, beautiful and respected of adversaries, Mother Nature, was a strong pull. At the same time after 12 nomadic years I often find myself becoming tired with never knowing where I will next find a pillow, where I will eat, with whom I will next talk, or sleep. I have for two years – perhaps more – had a recurring fantasy of walking through a door in to a place that I could call home for a while; put a disc on the gramophone, pull the cork from a bottle and flop onto a big comfy cushion on the veranda. On the wall behind me hang my own photographs, before me a beautiful mountain vista. These two desires are of course poles apart and I well know that I am too long in the tooth to be able to settle into permanence in either of these life styles. Life is actually pretty cosy and has been for a long time but every now and then the need for change comes along.

The job I have been doing has suited me. I enjoyed it well and it gave me all I needed, freedom, human company, adventure, travel, cycling. I also enjoy indulging in a little creativity, photography and writing; exploring and creating new routes, sharing my passions with others. Tour leading allowed me to indulge some of these pursuits but not all. In my spare time I explored and created routes not because I had an outlet for them, but because I enjoyed doing so. I wished to share the tours I had created in much the same way that an orchestra desires an audience, because I loved what I was doing and wanted to share it with others. And so it was that I considered running my own tours. I have actually been playing with the idea for many years. Anyone who knows me and remembers the Osmosno blog and website may well be aware that Osmosno was originally conceived to tailor make adventure tours in Asia and South America for the discerning customer, alas is never went beyond the planning stage as we enjoyed reconnoitring routes, photographing them, and writing about them, but we never got around to the business side.

And so it could have gone on, but as is so often the case with life the twists and turns of fate were at work. Last year I created two tours, one in Vietnam and one in Thailand, this year Phong and I created another new tour in Vietnam. Several years ago I planned a route through Yunnan Province in China, that is a region that is particularly close to my heart and very much needs sharing. Having lived worked and played in Nepal I have a great fondness for the natural splendour and the ever friendly Nepalis; I have good friends with whom I can work and I have, you may not be surprised to learn, a route. I have lots of other routes and ideas and contacts, but for now the routes mentioned, plus one other that I am keeping up my sleeve, are enough.

So I had the products the experience and the contacts, but what I needed was the kickstart, and this came this year. Mike Hayes is a fellow adventure cyclist, a blogger, and a great photographer. Mike and I have known each other due to our mutual interests for several years now and have idly pondered the concept of sharing our passions with others for some time. Mike was looking to start a small business, I was looking for an outlet for my journeys.

By the middle of this year Mike had got on with the job and created a polished product around my collection of tours, my experience as a tour and expedition leader, and my network of contacts across Asia; he called it Painted Roads and said it was mine if I wanted it. I did, I needed it; it is the path I have sensed was laying ahead of me for some time now and I cannot thank Mike enough for all he has done.

Painted Roads is going to begin in a modest fashion and it begins today as I have just landed in Hanoi to prepare for my first tour. For next year I intend to have 5 tours, with a possible bonus tour that could well creep in. The tours on offer are all created by me and will all be led by me. They are tours that I know of because I have cycled the routes for my own pleasure and have now decided to share them with like minded people who wish to join me. Mike will remain an import part of Painted Roads. He has been working tirelessly on the whole project, in fact as mentioned earlier he created Painted Roads as a brand and an entity, and I very much hope he will continue to shape it, taking care of design and quite possibly joining me for upcoming exploration and perhaps from time to time on tours.

Painted Roads has a blog and for the time being at least I will be concentrating my blogging efforts there with stories and photographs of all topics relevant to Asian bicycle adventures; from tales of the countries I travel through and live in and the people of those lands and my experiences with them, to the creation and running of tours and many things in between. In short I will, as usual, be photographing and sharing the things that I find interesting in life, only on a different blog. The website is almost ready to go, I just have to have to tidy up some tour details and dates and then we will go live, for now though

dear reader, may I present, Painted Roads’ blog.


Painted Roads most recent office. For the past month I have taken up residence in the hills of Northern Thailand near the Burmese border. Known affectionately as The Bamboo Cottage this little house, made unsurprisingly of bamboo, has served as home and office recently as Painted Roads takes shape.


The living area and office is this lovely open veranda with views thought the forest to the hills beyond. No need to worry about the security of my Planet-X Ti bike, Bobo is a wheel loving Rottweiler who fell in love with my machine the moment I arrived.


Many thanks to Echo for drive, inspiration, encouragement, and words of wisdom and truth when needed, oh, and for keeping the fridge stocked with bottles of light refreshment.


By now well known to regular readers of this humble blog, Phong is now not only my friend, he is also my business partner in Vietnam. We will have two tours on which you can join us next year, one exploring the historic Ho Chi Minh Trail, the other will be where we are heading in a few days time, the stunning North West. (watch the PR blog for stories from that journey). As is our custom we will also explore a new route together next summer, Phong has already showered me with ideas for several destinations.
To keep up to date on all our activities in Vietnam please keep an eye on


8 thoughts on “Painted Roads in Vietnam!

    • Hello Stuart, phong in Vietnamese also means room, 007 was the room we stayed in one night when we expolored the NE Vietnam route; the picture just had to be taken. I think you are off to Kerala soon? Have a good trip sir, and see you again before long I hope.

      • Good luck with the tour Dave. I see you have Priyen with you – cool. Will look out for posts, etc as would like to hear how it’s going. Looking forward to seeing your completed site, great name btw (you and that god damm spray can – Ha!). Yep, off to Kerala in 2 weeks, shouldbe good – lookingforward to the curries most of all! Cheers

  1. Thanks Stuart, met Priyen last night for a few beers and a bite to eat, was a good evening. Priyen is officially Painted Roads’ first customer, maybe I should have him framed and put on the office wall. Made me laugh to read your comment about the spray paint in Thailand, being slow the connection hadn’t occurred to me before. I was riding some of that route recently, made me chuckle that a lot of RS arrows are still there, will be putting PR arrows there soon. Have a good time in Kerala, enjoy the curries, make it clear to the guide and tour leader that you expect beer to be waiting at each hotel (they have to buy it in sometimes) and that you want it cold (they don’t always seem to realise this) and DO NOT use ice, eat salad ice cream or fruit you did not peel yourself; and most importantly, in order to kill nasty bacteria in the gut, drink plenty of Thong Bombs. Have a great journey old chap.

    • Cheers for the advice Dave. Have a great tour and pass my regards to Pri. Don’t get too carried away with those PR arrows!

      • You are welcome, happy to help you get the most out of your journey and spend as little time as possible in Indian loos. No arrows on the next journey in Vietnam, slightly less tricky to navigate and a crew who know the route as well or most likely even better than I do. With the RS arrows still on the roads in Thailand it is going to become quire colourful with PR arrows going in the other direction; only decision now is what colour to use?

  2. Many congratulations good luck and good wishes from us both.

    ….and may you have a smile on your face when we meet at The Bull

    ….next marriage….!!!


    • Hey, many thanks Bill and many thanks for all of your advice, it helped with certain decisions a lot; and of course, as you know, you were right. Looking forward to
      smiling in the Bull at Christmas, you still saving up?
      Am totally ignoring the comment re matrimony, silly person!Cheers!!!!!!

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