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This is an original ChiCom made bicycle which was reinforced in Hanoi during the war and sent to the South laden with supplies on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
As you can see the front forks are heavily reinforced at the front with steel and bamboo; the seat has been removed; the handlebar has been modified by cutting; the pedals and gears removed; bamboo yokes and steering stick have been installed and it has solid rubber tires.
The porters who pushed these down the trail were typically men but women also made the journey. Rice, ammunition, ordnance, uniforms, mail, canned food, small arms and all manner of military supplies were strapped on for the long journey South. The journey might have taken as long as six months.
There are only a few captured Ho Chi Minh Bicycles in private hands in the US. Because they are so iconic, the Vietnamese have remade some using modern bikes but this is an original with all the patina you would expect to see after almost 50 years. The bamboo is also original to the bike as are the wires that are attached to the bamboo side saddles. The wire is heavy gauge to attach supplies to it.
The Ho Chi Minh Trial was the supply line running from North Vietnam to hundreds of supply bases in Laos, Cambodia and RVN. Before it was improved, with the exception of what individual soldiers carried on their backs and waists, 100% of the cargo sent to the South from Hanoi came on these bikes. After the HCM Trial was improved, Chinese and Russian made trucks carried increasingly more of the supply load but these reinforced bicycles were used all the way until Liberation in April 1975.
This one was actually acquired on eBay in the late 1990s. The seller indicated it was brought back by a helicopter pilot.
Shown here are some original NVA VC photos of these bikes in use.
We have some original ammunition and ordnance crates here which would look great strapped to this bike.
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