This old bicycle costs so much owner doesn’t dare ride it

By Trong Nghia   November 19, 2018 | 10:05 am GMT+7

Nobody spares a glance for the bike at an exhibition in Hanoi until they learn about its price tag: $9,940.

The owner of a 100-year-old bicycle, Bui Xuan Mai, 55, of Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, has spent nearly 20 years collecting bicycles.

Called Alcyon, it was made in the Netherlands in 1910. Mai bought it from a friend in France about two years ago for VND190 million ($8,200).

At the time it was made metal chains had not been invented, and so a curoa belt is used as a chain. It also has a two-stroke engine attached.

Mai doesnt allow himself to sit on the 230 million VND ($9,949) bicycle which he brought to the exhibition for the public admiration. Photo by VnExpress/ Trong Nghia.

Mai doesn’t allow himself to sit on the VND230 million ($9,940) bicycle he brought to the exhibition for the public to see. Photo by VnExpress/ Trong Nghia.

According to Mai, these types of bicycles are costly because there is a limited number of them in the world. The model was also the precursor of modern motorcycles. It retains all the intricate design details of the manufacturer.

The bike still works, but Mai prefers to walk it on the street and parks it on the sidewalk while drinking a cup of coffee. He never starts the engine. Many people wondered why and asked, and he said: "I pity my bike, folks!"

Classic transmission of the antique bicycle. Photo by VnExpress/ Trong Nghia.

Classic transmission of the antique bicycle. Photo by VnExpress/ Trong Nghia.

Hoang Thanh Liem, 59, also of Hanoi, an antique collector for over 30 years, said: "Bike clubs in Hanoi have hundreds of members, but to find a model made before 1945, or even before 1930 like Mai’s, is extremely difficult. Most vintage bicycles cost an average price of VND40 million ($1,730) but they are relatively new."

At the exhibition Mai has put a price tag of VND230 million ($9,940) for the bike, but he will not sell it to anyone and it is strictly for display.

Compared to a normal bike, Mais bicycle of over 100 million VND ($4,325) does not have much difference. Photo by VnExpress/ Trong Nghia.

Mai riding a 1937 French sports bicycle which has a price tag of VND100 million. Photo by VnExpress/ Trong Nghia.

Mai is also very attached to a 1937 French sports bicycle he bought for VND100 million ($4,325). He said it is very difficult to find parts if any damage occurs.

"Sometimes it takes me three days just to buy a pedal or a month to find a tail light."

 
 
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