I’ve never participated in a bike ride before. Can I do it?

Yes you can, if you train and prepare! The Lifestart Foundation Charity ride program is customized for individuals of medium/intermediate fitness levels. This is not a race and we provide all riders with training tips to make sure they prepare properly for the ride.

How much will it cost while I am on the ride and what does it cover?

The total price for the “Land Content” aspect of the ride is minimum of $1,570 USD. This will include Twin share accommodation, most meals as listed as per the itinerary, Airport transfers, Entry fees to tourist attractions, and the Support Crew and Transportation. A single accommodation supplement is also available on request at a cost of $165 USD.

How much is the fundraising minimum?

$2,500 USD

What am I fundraising for?

The purpose of the Lifestart Foundation Charity Bike Ride is not just to enjoy the wonders and beauty of the Vietnamese country side and unique culture. It is the chance to ensure that young and extremely bright students will have the ability to continue their education and to make a real “life changing” difference.

Each rider will fundraise a minimum of $2,500 USD to fully sponsor one student for one year of University.

Sponsorship covers all costs for tuition, fees, book, uniforms, room rent and food (there is no local University in Central Vietnam so our students need to live away from home).
Riders will be matched with a student prior to fundraising and will also have the opportunity to meet their student when they arrive in Vietnam.

All Lifestart Foundation Education scholarship students are from extremely disadvantaged families and do not have the means to attend University. Despite this they are diligent, hard working, high achieving students who dream of breaking the poverty cycle. In order to truly break the poverty cycle students need to complete a University degree to ensure gainful employment. When they graduate they not only break the poverty cycle for themselves but they always help their extended family too.

Is the fundraising component tax deductible?

Lifestart Foundation Inc. is a Deductible Gift Recipient under Australian tax law. All donations exceeding $2 are an allowable tax deduction to the donor.

What if I don’t complete the fundraising?

Riders must meet their fundraising minimum target by March 1st 2017 prior to the ride. If you do not reach the minimum by that date you can provide your credit card as a deposit for the remaining balance, you will then have until April 1st 2017 to continue your Fundraising activities until you reach the minimum target, at which time and if it is on or before the deadline, your credit card will be refunded for the balance.

What if I can’t participate in the Lifestart Foundation Charity ride because of work or other commitments and need to cancel?

Please assure your donors and supporters that all of your raised funds will go directly to the Lifestart Foundation Education Scholarship program. All donations are non-transferable and cannot be refunded. It is important that your supporters know that their donation will make an important difference regardless of your completion of the campaign.

Your payment is non-refundable. In the event of a cancellation you would be advised to claim this via your travel insurance.

Do I need to join a team? What if I don’t know anyone?

You can participate in the LSF Charity ride on your own, or join/create a team. Many riders will come on the LSF Charity ride solo and meet friends along the way that will last a lifetime. If you want to form a team, you are more than welcome to do so. All you need to do to form a team is ask your friends, family and/or co workers to join you and then create a team name. Please note that each individual on the team is responsible for their own fundraising minimum.

How many riders will there be?

A maximum of 20

How many actual riding days are there?

7 days of riding

How many kilometres  or miles will we ride in total?

400 km with an average of 70km per day

Will there be rest stops?

Yes, there will be fully supported rest stops every 15- 30 km depending on the terrain.

What if I can’t do all the kilometres on the ride?

Remember that the LSF Charity ride is a fun, recreational event. It is not a race, so you can pace yourself! You can cycle at your own speed and if you get tired, take a rest in one of the LSF vans monitoring the route at all times.

How much training do I need to do?

All riders are encouraged to train and prepare for the ride. Please see our training tips here >. Your current fitness and experience levels dictate how much training you need to prepare for the LSF Charity ride. However, there is no substitute for training time in the saddle, regardless of your experience level.

What type of bike will be provided?

Giant XTC 758 with Slick Tyres and disc brakes

What gearing do I need on my bike?

We recommend that every rider install a compact or triple crank resulting in 18 to 24 gears. This provides the low gearing necessary for a seated cyclist to climb hills while maintaining 90 revolutions per minute – the ideal cadence for energy efficient riding.

Will the ride be particularly hilly?

Part of what the LSF Charity ride offers you is the chance to cycle through some of the most spectacular countryside you will see in Central Vietnam. Some of this terrain will contain hills, some more challenging than others. By training properly, you will find yourself quite capable of negotiating them. Please see the elevation profiles on the itinerary for more detailed information.

What equipment and clothing do I need to bring with me?

Please see our page on what to bring here >

Can I bring my own bike?

Yes, of course. However if you ship your bike in a hard case, please note that we cannot transport your case in our truck due to lack of space. Please let us know in advance if you are bringing your own bike and we will make arrangements for the storage of your hard case.

What are the accommodations along the tour?

Accommodation is basic – 4 star twin share with a single supplement option available.  Please refer to our schedule for specific hotel names where you can google for further information. Note that LSF reserves the right to provide alternate accommodation if necessary.

What food and snacks will be provided?
Are dietary needs catered for?

Yes it is possible to cater for different dietary needs in Vietnam, but you may not be eating sumptuously while on the ride – it will be part of your local experience.

What will the weather be like?

April is usually a very comfortable month of the year in Central Vietnam with the weather being dry, warm and mild. However, please note there may be some light headwinds in the latter parts of the tour. Wind will be predominantly be from the south east. Learn more >

Do you need volunteers?

Yes. We are looking for a doctor, paramedic or nurse to volunteer to head up the medical support. For more information about volunteering on the LSF Charity ride please contact Karen Leonard here >

I have heard that the traffic in South East Asia can be quite an experience, how safe would the ride be on the Vietnamese Roads?

It is true that the road rules and etiquette is somewhat different to what you might be used to and trained in. During the tour there will be 2 escorts, forward and rear, and two support vehicles to provide an additional buffer. Each day prior to commencement on the ride, a brief safety talk will take place which will highlight and identify any concerns for that days leg, covering such things as the terrain and gradients, road surfaces, construction areas e.g., the weather forecast, health and safety tips, and general Q & A.

Will there be any communication (Language) difficulties during the tour?

While most of the locations we are visiting will have limited English speaking people, we will have bi-lingual support staff throughout the 14 days that will be more than happy to offer assistance when needed. At the beginning of the ride, LSF will conduct an introductory Vietnamese Language Lesson which covers such things as general greetings, politeness and basic questions and phases. We encourage each participant to embrace the Vietnamese culture while on the ride, which starts by knowing how to say hello.

I am worried about my possessions while I am riding, will my passport/money/bags be safe?

All personal belongings will be kept secure throughout the days on the ride. As with any country, there is always an undesirable element. Most hotels will have room safes or a safe to keep valuable belongings, we have taken all possible precautions to ensure the ride will be free from incident but we recommend, as with any trip or vacation, that participants are aware and exercise caution.

Will I be able to communicate with my family back home?

Vietnam’s communication system is quite good and most hotels and cafes have free Wi-Fi. Application software such as Facebook, Skype, Facetime or Viber allows for free messaging or telephone calls over the internet. We recommend that you have a smart phone with these apps installed. A prepaid SIM card is only $2.50 USD and is able to be recharged throughout the ride with phone calls being approximately 20,000 VND per minute ($1USD/minute). Please keep in mind some of the locations might have limited service due to their isolation.
Due to the cost of international calls and your service provider, international roaming should be disconnected. Please keep in mind that if you have a phone that is linked to a certain provider, a new SIM card may not work. You can buy a new phone in Da Nang for as little as $25 USD. If this is required, please inform one of the LSF staff members prior to arrival and we will try to arrange this for you.

I have friends in Vietnam, can they join me?

Free time is allocated at the beginning and end of the ride in Da Nang and Hoi An. If you have friends or family along the route, you are most welcome to arrange a catch up once check in at the hotel is completed. Please keep in mind that the ride is quite physically demanding and a night of partying will affect the following days ride.

Can I bring my Laptop or other electronics such as a large camera?

There is limited room on the support buses, therefore excess language may not be possible. However, storage arrangements can be made while you are on the road. Note that large camera bags may not be able to be accommodated and we recommend the use of a smart phone. Photographs will be taken by LSF and made available to all participants after the completion of the ride.

Are ATM’s available?

Yes, in most of the bigger towns ATM’s are available. Most currencies can be changed to Vietnam Dong quite readily upon arrival.