Marketed as Vietnam’s first and only dual-language cycling publication, MBIKE Vietnam’s inaugural edition is set for a March 2013 release and is intended to appeal to all Vietnamese cyclists, regardless of wheel size or tyre type. Behind the new venture is an expat who expects the omnipresence of bicycles in this 90 million-strong nation will ensure a successful future.
The MBIKE Greece team will lend publishing expertise to the bi-monthly MBIKE Vietnam magazine – which is expected to have a first print-run of 2,000 copies – and a website (not yet live) is also being finalised. However, it’s a Spanish expat, now happily married and ensconced in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, that is the major force in the background.
MBIKE Vietnam’s Chief Editor, Guim Valls Teruel, first arrived in Vietnam in 2009, whilst on a bicycle “world tour”. A constant curiosity to locals wherever he went, he was also interviewed on Vietnamese television by a journalist with whom, in his own words “he felt in love and after 3 weeks using his Mediterranean flirting skills to seduce her, finally, he kept cycling alone…”.
Utlimately, Valls Teruel returned to Vietnam, married the journalist and somehow managed to convince his new bride to take a break from work to embark on a six-month cycling tour. Before their first child was born, the ‘The Hanoi Bicycle Collective‘ was opened. The uniquely-styled dual-level store, which is only a stone’s throw from Hanoi’s popular West Lake and includes a full-service cafe, has quickly become a favourite hang-out for locals and expats alike.
Valls Teruel, who in person radiates the type of nervous energy expected of a restless soul who has a mind crammed full of ideas, sees MBIKE Vietnam as a natural extension of his investment into harnessing the local cycling culture. Though high-end road bicycles are definitely not the norm, an early-morning jaunt around the 15km perimeter of West Lake offers a startling – and often grid-locked – glimpse at the sheer number of people on bikes. But how will this translate into readers for MBIKE Vietnam?
“Is it hard for us to forecast number of followers and readers at this stage”, writes Valls Teruel, “but since MBIKE will be the first publication of its kind in Vietnam and considering the fast growth of cycling passion that main cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh have experienced in the last 6 months, we do not have any doubts that our range of readers will be wide.
Our target is as wide as the Vietnam population can be. Vietnam is a country where 100% of the population knows how to cycle (all kids cycle and cycle to school), and it was not until 20 years ago when, mainly for status reasons, Vietnamese decided to change their bicycles for motorbikes. Not to mention the amount of expatriates that also cycle, or cycling tourism. There’s no doubt that Vietnam has a great potential to become a cycling country once again very soon.”
Cycling iQ will update readers on Twitter when the magazine launches. MBIKE Vietnam is also on Facebook and has a media kit available for companies interested in advertising. Guim Valls Teruel can be contacted by email here