View Full Version : How did Vietnam Acquire it's Name?
December 18th, 2002, 10:15 AM
Being new to Connecticut, New England and Mountain biking all in one shot (I used to live in NY and only occassionaly rode my brother in laws back up bike from time to time before moving here and getting hooked) I'm curious to learn how Vietnam acquired it's name and the history behind this prime NE riding area.
Sort of asking for a little history lesson here to help me put things into perspective.
December 18th, 2002, 11:28 AM
Good question !!!
To be honest with you I don't remember. There was an article in singletracks years ago by Mark Jenks that gave a rundown on the property's legacy.
I do remember back in 1993 or so there was a sign off one of the singletracks where it intersected with the powerlines that read "Welcome to North Vietnam". I think that's how the name was popularized with mountain bikers.
Come to think of it I occasionally run into some weird landmarks out there on the trails: The brain container on the ridge trail (is that still around?), the hanging teddy bear in Otis is pretty wild.
December 18th, 2002, 06:03 PM
Here's the article that mtbtom refers to:
SingleTracks April 1999 #43
Why the heck is it called Vietnam
By Mark Jenks, White Mountains NEMBA
The year: 1988. The place: Jerry's Love Ranch, Bellinghan, MA.
The event: the year end harescramble ride/party.
I had received a flyer in the mail which consisted of a map of Vietnam with a large star marking Saigon. Printed on the map were the details of the FAHQ Racing yearend bash. There would be live music from the Gypsy Stretchmark Orchestra, food, and (of course) an epic ride.
The ride would be on a closed course so street legal registration would not be necessary. This was a good thing because it meant all the juniors could ride. There would have been big problems otherwise seeing as how they were an important part of the team. Plus, two of them had just won New England championships. We loaded up the motorcycles and food on Sat. night so as to get an early start. It's always so nice going through all the motions of a race day and know that we are riding just for fun. (The we I speak of is my son Derek and myself, as he was my motorcycle and bicycle riding partner for many years.)
Upon our arrival we are greeted by our host The Dinge Master alias Tim Dinge. He pulled me aside knowing my thing for tight single track and said, " you remember that cart road we use to pedal to the quarry?" I say, "yeah…" "Well, I cut a really nasty single track loop in there just for the ride today." We were all on motorcycles that day and the trail was brand new; tight and nasty just like Tim said. We had a ball. The ride was great as was the food. And the music? Well, it was strange but good….
I asked Tim about the name Vietnam and how he had figured out the loop. He had been out scouting on his x-c skis and thought that the area would make a great single track. In the spring he began pruning and building the trail. Over the next few years he kept adding bits and pieces to make what is known today in the bicycling community as the Nam. Without the powerline there is about 15 miles of trail. The name was thought up by a couple of Tim's motorcycle riding buddies; Pete and Jack of the Milford gang. They were the ones that put up the sign, Welcome to Vietnam. It wasn't until the 1989 yearend ride party that Cathy and I rode the Nam on our Mountain Bikes. That year the theme was a dual sport ride, meaning both bicycles and motorcycles.
The group was pretty evenly split with about 10 to 12 of each. The Mt. Bike loop was long, since it was laid out on a motorcycle. The hills aren't so big and the distance isn't as long on a motorcycle. Well, after about 4-5 hours one of our riding pals bonked so hard that he just wanted to lay down in the forest and take a nap. He told us not to worry about him. After riding through the maze pulling him along, we found a road. I called the ranch and talked to Tim. Of course I had no idea where we were but wanted him to come pick us up with a large van since some of the riders could ride no further.
That is how I remember Nam; a long nasty ride with people bonking. I haven't been back there for about 10 years. When I saw in SingleTracks last year that there was a NEMBA ride in the Nam I was surprised that any one knew of that place and asked Philip Keyes where they were talking about. What a small world. This is another good example of user groups working together to create a great trail and a great trail riding experience. By the way, the Dinge Master rides his mountain bike on it now as well.
December 18th, 2002, 06:41 PM
Thank you PK!
Pete and Jack of the Milford Gang.....what does this remind me of?
December 18th, 2002, 07:25 PM
OK , I hate to differ here ! But I have been riding the Nam since since about 89 -90. and what I was told back then is it was a group Veitnam Vets who would meet to ride there motorcycles. the Sand pit where you see the motorcycles was called sigon, the trails where we ride where just called vietnam and North Vietnam was the Trails on the North side of 495 going toward Peppercorn hill,where the Big quaries are that are not ridden by Bikes Much. And for those of you who have ridden the tunnel under 495 it was refered to as Charlies tunnel. And for those of you who don't know there is a tunnel (For the charles river ) that goes under 495 it is long and dark! ( Yes I have ridden it ! )Tthis is just what I herd from friends when I first found out about the Nam Many Moons ago. Is it true ? I have no Idea !
December 18th, 2002, 08:16 PM
Printed on the map were the details of the FAHQ Racing yearend bash.
Back in the day I had a friend who used to race Hare Scrambles and I remember FAHQ well. When all of the bikes were on the starting line waiting for the starter to give the signal to kickstart and go a chant would rise up and work through the spectators. FAH-Q! FAH-Q! FAH-Q! Before you knew it there would be over a hundred people yelling! It was a riot and one of the best marketing ideas I ever saw. Hell if I can still remeber it almost 15 years later it must have worked.
December 18th, 2002, 08:45 PM
Yes, FAHQ is supposed to sound like the expletive. They're still around.
Enter here... if you dare: http://www.fahq.com/
December 20th, 2002, 07:02 AM
OK , I hate to differ here ! But I have been riding the Nam since since about 89 -90. and what I was told back then is it was a group Veitnam Vets who would meet to ride their motorcycles...
I don't know, but this seems to match Mark's story.
December 20th, 2002, 10:01 AM
I must say , I do remeber some of the stuff that matches Marks story as well.
But here is something that also adds a little confusion to the whole Mix, another group of people refering to the vietnam as vietnam.
and they are refering to the other side of 495. and they even refer to parking ( i have always wondered about that lot )
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