James Kim hops on two wheels to find the best spots for a bike-ride in Hong Kong
Spring is here! The sun is out and shining – and before sweat-rags and non-stop air con become a summer reality, we think the best way to take advantage of the temperate weather is by hopping on a bike. Whether you’re looking for a relaxed roll by the sea or a more adventurous tumble down a mountainside, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our comprehensive guide to cycling in Hong Kong…
The Tai Wai to Tai Mei Tuk bike route is popular and well-loved. But why follow the herd? Trek a bit further out of town for a less-busy and more exploratory alternative in Yuen Long. The highlight of the route is Nam Sang Wai, a sprawling wetland where you can admire riverside mangroves and wildlife like mudskippers and yellow-nib ducks. If you’re keen on exploring this territory but are unfamiliar with the routes, go to www.hansens-hikes.com and enquire about a tour from outdoor enthusiast Michael Hansen. Or try the charity project BiciLine (email@example.com), which trains disadvantaged youths in Yuen Long to become eco-tour bike guides. It’s a fun and meaningful way to check out the area.
For those of you with a great affinity for sweating and exhaustion, head to the more rigorous terrain of Hong Kong for an adventurous mountain biking experience. The Hong Kong Mountain Bike Association (HKMBA) has helped to maintain and expand the city’s approved trails for nearly 20 years and their website (www.hkmba.org) is an excellent resource for locating these trails. Check out the Tin Fu Tsai North Mountain Bike Trail which was just opened this March and was partly developed by volunteers from the HKMBA. Other areas to explore include Sheung Shui, Lamma Island and Lantau Island. All you need to begin your trip is a free mountain biking permit from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (www.afcd.gov.hk).
If you’re more about stunts and tricks than endurance and perseverance, fear not – Hong Kong has some decent facilities for BMX enthusiasts. The Po Kong Village Road Park just opened this past January and boasts the territory’s most advanced cycling facilities. The 4.5-hectare park in Wong Tai Sin boasts three half-pipe-shaped bowls that offer a variety of challenges – perfect for those of you who want to show off your cycle swagger. Don’t jump the gun just yet though − you must pass a test to prove that you’re ready to conquer these colossal structures. Apply in person at the Wong Tai Sin District Leisure Services Office. The park also has an elevated one-kilometre-long cycling track and a cycling area for beginners. The Hong Kong Jockey Club International BMX Park, located in the restored Gin Drinkers Bay Landfill in Kwai Tsing, is also worth checking out. It’s got a 350m BMX track along with a pro shop.
This niche form of cycling has become a counter-cultural phenomenon around the world with a dedicated following of young and hip urbanites. Fixed gear bikes or ‘fixies’ have no freewheels, meaning they can’t coast as the pedals are in constant motion when the bike is moving. Furthermore – and somewhat alarmingly – they have no brakes. The only way a fixed gear cycler can slow down is by back pedalling with the right amount of pressure, which, as you can imagine, takes some skill. Hong Kong has a decent fixie following, with a handful of active groups in town. Rodafixa is the only boutique fixed gear-only bike shop in Hong Kong, located in Kwun Tong. Owners Eric Lee and Brian Fu also run the Flwrider urban cycling group which regularly host rides around Kowloon on Fridays. Visit their website at www.flwrider.com for more info and to find out when their next group cycle will happen.