Tran Van Dat and his bicycle. Photo: Nguyen Dung
A 14-year-old boy from the north-central province of Ha Tinh lost his way and rode his bicycle for 53 hours straight, covering more than 300 kilometers of road through three provinces before police officers in Quang Tri helped get him home.
At around 3 p.m. on July 19, Tran Van Dat of Duc Tho District got his parents’ permission to visit his uncle’s house in Nghi Xuan District, around 30 kilometers from his house.
Dat packed some clothes and VND200,000 (US$9.4) before taking off on his bicycle.
When he arrived at an intersection in Nghi Xuan, he couldn't remember the way to his uncle’s house.
He asked a passer-by to show him the way as it grew dark and rainy.
As there was no one on the road, he couldn't ask for further directions, so he continued to go further astray.
He rode his bike straight through the night. The following morning, he arrived at the tunnel at Deo Ngang (Ngang Pass) which forms the border between Ha Tinh and Quang Binh provinces.
He asked a passer-by to show him the way back to his uncle’s house, to no avail and continued to ride his bike along National Highway 1. At noon on July 21, he arrived at Dong Ha Town, the capital city of Quang Tri Province.
A fruit vendor told him to ride back to Quang Binh. After riding back, he encountered some police officers near an eatery in Quang Binh’s Le Thuy District at around 8 p.m. on July 21.
After hearing his story, the officers contacted police in Ha Tinh to help get him home.
Dat told reporters that he never slept for fear that someone would steal his bike.
When he felt tired, he stopped the bike and sat on the roadside for five minutes before continuing his ride.
“I just bought one loaf of bread and five water bottles on my trip,” he said.