Hồ Minh Tâm, the owner of the bike, said it is part of his youth, so he would never sell it. — Photo baobinhduong.vn
BÌNH DƯƠNG — The image of an old motorbike entwined by the roots of an old tree in Tương Bình Hiệp Ward, Thủ Dầu Một City, in the southern province of Bình Dương, has been widely shared on social media recently.
Many people commented that this is a unique piece of art in nature, and the owner must have spent lots of time and effort to make it.
The owner simply said he forgot his bike under the tree for a long time as he possesses too many vehicles and did not have a proper place to park them all.
Hồ Minh Tâm, who runs a restaurant offering cháo vịt (duck porridge), is the reluctant owner of the “artwork”.
Inside a garden stretching thousands of square metres by Hồ Văn Cống Road in Thủ Dầu Một City, there are several ancient wooden houses in the middle of bonsai trees, which have been nurtured by Tâm.
Customers coming here to enjoy duck porridge have not only admired the owner’s bonsai collection and ancient houses, but also the rare collection of ancient motorbikes, some of which are up to a century old.
An old rusty bike embraced by the roots of an ancient banyan tree has attracted the most curiosity.
“There are things more valuable than money,” Tâm told Bình Dương Newspaper. “When people no longer have things to eat, things to wear, they will care much more on things other than money”.
The bike under the banyan tree is among his favourite antiques.
“35 years ago, when I had more money to buy more motorbikes, there were bikes I no longer used. I parked them in the yard, including the Yamaha motorbike under this tree.”
“At that time, I did not like old bikes like I do today. I preferred newer bikes for getting around,” he said.
“After a while, I saw three roots as big as my thumb coming down from the tree.
“The tendrils gradually embraced the bike before pinning it to the ground.”
“A root went through the front wheel, one in the middle of the bike and another near the bike’s number plate.”
The bike embraced by banyan roots has become an artwork in Tâm's garden. — Photo baobinhduong.vn
Tâm at first intended to cut the roots to get the bike out and repaint it. It was one of his first vehicles, so he wanted to keep it. But then, he realised the beauty of the scene.
“A bike kept under an old tree is wonderful, I decided to keep it intact,” he said.
Dozens of years have passed, the bike has stayed there under the sunlight, under fog, it still keeps the same form, paint colour, number plate, and engine.
Many visitors even though Tâm must have made a roof for the bike to protect it from the time and weather.
“I have never done anything like that,” he said. “The bike remains as good as it was when it was imported from Japan. It was really a good product with a good engine, not like today’s bikes."
Tâm said he worked very hard to save enough money to buy the bike.
When he was a teenager, he followed his dad everywhere and tried to raise various kinds of cattle and poultry.
His big garden used to be a field near a village, with traditional handicrafts of making lacquer.
He raised ducks to earn a living and then opened a duck porridge restaurant to serve locals and visitors.
In the 1980s, he had enough money to buy the Yamaha, which cost a lot of money at that time.
“I bought the bike when most of my neighbours rode bicycles and students walked to school,” he said. “It was a real treasure at that time. There were only five bikes including mine in this region. The other bike owners were wealthy people here. It cost some VNĐ19,000, which was worth the same as a 1,000 ducks. Now it’s around VNĐ150 million (US$6,500).
“At that time I was a young, single man,” he recalled. “When I rode the bike I knew that people looked at me with admiration.”
Since then, he has earned a stable income from the restaurant. He has spent lots of time and money to collect antiques like old Honda Super Cubs, Vespas or bicycles produced nearly a hundred years ago.
Tâm thinks the habit of gathering antiques is a kind of love for his homeland.
A corner in Tâm's garden. — Photo baobinhduong.vn
“I heard about Tâm's collection and visited his home to see it,” said Dương Thành Linh, from HCM City. “I really like his old houses and garden. They remind me of my childhood in rural areas.”
Tâm said many people have asked him to sell his Yamaha bike under the tree together with the tree as well.
“I will never sell it,” he said. “The bike is also part of my youth. Whatever they offer, I will never sell.” — VNS