Hong Kong’s Top Five – Bike Rides
Hong Kong can appear hostile to cyclists. Steep climbs, hot humid weather and a lack of bike lanes can make commuting by peddle power almost impossible. But get away from the city center and there are plenty of great cycling options. D J Clark picks five of his favorite biking getaways.
- Cheung Chau – an island to get lost on a bike
Walking off the Cheung Chao pier it’s quickly apparent cyclists are welcome. Parked bikes line the promenade as far as the eye can see. With no cars allowed, the small island of Cheung Chau is best navigated on two wheels. There is no recommended route, better to set off and explore the myriad of small paths at your whim, discovering old temples and deserted beaches along the way.
The island is broadly divided into three sections. A flat center strip with the beach on one side and the port on the other, and two hilly outcrops on either side. It’s a gentle ride full of surprises, Cheung Chau has a history of pirates and ancient fishermen, not for the serious cyclist sure, but a pleasant way to explore the island.
Ferries leave to Cheung Chau from Central and Aberdeen. The island is also a stop on the inter island ferry. Bikes can be rented at multiple shops close to the ferry pier. It’s also possible to bring a bike on the ferry services offering freight for a small charge.
- Tai Mei Tuk to ShaTin – a long flat bike ride along the waterfront
Hong Kong’s best developed cycle path runs a loop around Plover Cove over to Sha Tin bay. It’s long but flat, following close to the water and takes in some great views along the way. The Tai Mei Tuk Dam makes a spectacular start to the ride before you join the bike path that takes you all the way round to the Science Park and on to the Shing Mun river. There a long path takes you past the Sha Tin racecourse ending at the Tai Wei MTR.
Start at the Tai Mei Tuk dam where you can rent bikes, or alternatively rent a van to take you and your bike to the start point. Be sure to go out onto the dam before returning and joining the well sign posted bike path all the way into Sha Tin. There are a number of transport options at the end, the easiest being the MTR. You can also drop your rented bike at the end of the trail rather than having to cycle back to the start.
- South Lantau Loop – beaches, a dam & a long mountain bike ride
Of the rides this is the most remote and takes some getting to. Two ferries with a change at Mui Wo will get you to Chi Ma Wan where you begin a rural ride passing Hong Kong’s longest beach and up to the Skek Pik reservoir. There’s a spectacular backdrop to the reservoir with Lantau peak and the giant Buddha to the north and out over a prison to the sea to the south. From there you pick up section 10 of the Lantau trail which has been developed into a mountain bike path that follows the contours on the hill side making it a very pleasant ride. It’s almost flat the whole way, has spectacular views across the beaches below and is easy to ride.
Reaching the Tung Chung road there are two options – an easy and difficult one. The easy route is to get onto the road and return to the Chi Ma Wan ferry. For the more adventurous with good bikes continue along the bike route to the end then onto a rocky path that will slowly take you down to the South Lantau road. From there, it’s a mountain climb up and over Nam Shan and back down to Mui Wo.
A ferry will get you from Central to Mui Wo where you can hire bikes, but you need a second ferry to take you to the starting point at Chi Ma Wan. From the pier cycle through the pass along quaint village roads to Pui O Wan, a quiet long stretch of beach with lots of facilities. From there head onto the South Lantau road and follow it all the way past Cheung Sha Beach and up to the Shek Pik resovoir. For the return seek out the mountain bike trail to your left soon after you leave the resovoir. It will take you all the way back.
- Tai Lam Bike Trail – A long downhill followed a ride around the reservoir
The Tai Lam trail is broadly divided into two sections. A paved downhill to the Tai Lum Chung reservoir then an off road path that meanders around the north bank till you reach Tai Lung Chung village. The first stage can be done in less than an hour as once you get over a few small climbs at the start it’s a long fast decent. The reservoir section takes a good deal longer and is much more of a challenge. It’s generally flat along a thin path that requires concentration as you bump your way through tree stumps, rocks and the occasional set of steps.
The back end of the trail includes a couple of climbs and one spectacular waterfall. It’s also more open to the reservoir with the occasional section that opens right up. Before you decend to the village be sure to ride the long dam, which marks a fitting ending to a great ride.
The start point to the trail is along Rte Twisk just past the rotary club park. The trail is well sign posted all the way just be careful if you arrange a pickup to note there is a gate on the Tai Lam Chung road which means your pick up vehicle will not be able to get down to the bus stop so arrange to meet a little further up the road.
- Nam Sang Wai – an easy day biking the wetlands
Nam Sang Wai is the least demanding of the bike rides listed here with no hills to negotiate and a loop that is less than 5KM. But if you are prepared to explore the myriad of connecting trails and roads that wind their way through the wetlands it can make for a very enjoyable half day on the bike.
Probably the best vantage point to see the wild birds is where the Cam Tin river meets the Shan Pui river. There is vantage point on the corner that allows you to safely take in the wildlife. Once you get onto the west section I suggest you get off the road and follow the wooded paths. After the rain the paths do get muddy, but provide a little more seclusion amongst the tall trees. The trail finishes in a small village where you can take a short ferry trip across the last village and then a short cycle to the Yuen Long MTR.
Take the MTR to Yuen Long station and ride along Castle peak road to Nam Sang Wai road where the ride begins. Follow it around, taking time for detours off into the wetland. Where the road finishes come off and follow the path through to the small ferry that will take you to a road that leads back to the Yuen Long MTR.
Mountain bikes tips from Project X on Lamma Island