In the mid 1950s Dong Ngo was born in what was then Saigon, Vietnam. He grew up playing soccer and tennis. Due to the conflict in his country, he entered the army at age 18 and flew helicopters into combat. Having survived the war (and being shot down twice), Dong was able to escape a fallen Saigon in 1975. He ended up in Shreveport, Louisiana where he lived with his sister who’d married an American GI.
Tennis was still a passion but he’d always had a love of bicycles. In the early 1980s Dong moved to Denver. Some of his Louisiana pals were here and so was bicycling! Dong got a job as a bike mechanic at a local bike shop and devoted much of his time to racing bicycles.
His skills as a mechanic soon led him to a job at the Denver Spoke. English was not his primary language so many thought Dong was best suited in not dealing directly with customers (due to his heavy accent). Dong, however, wanted to prove them wrong! On a challenge, Dong Ngo sold his first high end bicycle and became a legendary salesman!
His keen sense of knowing what the customer needed made him an international success. He had a passion not only for bicycles, but for people. They were his “pals”. Dong was the go-to guy for anyone from a neighborhood kid to a top professional athlete. His “pals” included Tour de France winners Eddy Merckx and Greg LeMond, Olympic gold medalists Alexi Grewal, Amy Van Dyken, and Michelle Quan, World Champion Michael Carter, and even the Broncos Hall of Fame player Shannon Sharpe.
Dong did not forget his humble beginnings. He came to the U.S. with only a few belongings. Sadly, Dong passed away on Dec. 7, 2006, but not without making a lasting impression on his pals, and the cycling world. It is in his memory that Dong Ngo’s Cycling Pals is founded, so that his love for people and all things bicycling are passed.