The Honda transportation system

There are certainly lots of large commercial trucks carrying a lot of “stuff” in Vietnam and most have a slightly strange 3-axel rear configuration.  However, most of the “stuff” in Vietnam is moved on a Honda.  By Honda, I am not referring to a car but any 2-wheel motorcycle.  They usually have a motor between 50 & 150 cc.  Most are made by Honda, but even if it is made by Suzuki or Yamaha; everyone calls them a Honda.

 The Vietnamese are experts at putting a lot of “stuff” on a Honda.  In the USA if we have a lot of “stuff” to haul, we simply throw it into the back of our pickup, or we simply borrow our neighbor’s pickup.  Vietnam is a poor country.  You see very few cars, much less pickups.  No, they have to carry their  “stuff” on a Honda, and they have become experts. 

 I have included a dozen or so photographs to illustrate my comments; but some of the most interesting I simply did not get a picture of.  Sometimes you simply stare in amazement and wander “How in the hell did they do that”, and never have time to take a picture.   I saw a guy on a Honda carrying a very long aluminum pole.  It was sort of balanced on the handlebar and strapped to his waist.  There was at least 10 feet sticking out in front and behind the Honda, and he tooling alone in heavy traffic.  I simply stared in amazement and never thought to take a picture.  I have no idea how he made turns….  There are basically 5 different variations of how to put “stuff” on a Honda. 

 1.     You just pile stuff on.  This is the basic approach.  It also applies to people.  It is relatively common to see a family of 5 on a Honda.  There is the husband driving, 2 small kids standing between the driver and the handlebar, 1 kid behind the driver, and the wife.  If the wife has a newborn in her arms, - that makes 6. 

2.     A bar across the rear seat.  This acts as an extra place to hang stuff in addition to the stuff you pile on.

3.     You balance stuff.  This is usually long awkward stuff that will not fit on the Honda, so you somehow put the Honda under it.

4.     The 3-wheel approach.  There are several variations of this.  A 2 wheel cart can be attached to the rear seat of the Honda.  Some larger motorcycles have been modified into a 3-wheel configuration, and they basically become a small pickup.

5.     The last I classify as “other”.  I have seen things that look like an irrigation pump motor fitted to a 3-wheel vehicle, tooling along the highway.  There are also more traditional methods in use long before the Honda.

Taking pictures of Honda’s was not a real priority, so I did not get pictures of some of the more interesting configurations, but the following photos are a small sample.

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© Jerry Pilson 2013