ROAD WORTHY HONG KONG IS A SURPRISING HAVEN FOR BIKE LOVERS, WRITES CYCLING FAN JEANETTE WANG
POPULAR ROUTES culoskeletal system. With jogging, the joints have to
Happy Valley to Shek O (about 50km round-trip)
bear the impact of two to three times one’s body weight
Route: From Happy Valley, head up Stubbs Road, Wong Nai
– increasing the risk of injury.
Chung Gap Road, and follow the road past Stanley and Repulse
Along with body fat loss and increased leg strength,
Bay to Shek O. Roads are well-marked so you won’t get lost.
a UK study of non-exercisers who agreed to take up cy-
Difficulty: 4/5. Long climbs, coastal winds and narrow roads.
BIKE ENTHUSIASTS in Hong Kong are spoilt for
cling on at least four days a week found it also changed
Suitable for intermediate cyclists.
choice in a city better known for its air-conditioned
participants’ attitudes. Perceptions of well-being, self-
Must do:“Take a mid-way break and grab a coffee at one of the
shopping malls. Every week more than 100 people
confidence and tolerance to stress improved, along
many cafes at Shek O,” says triathlete Andrew Wright.
gather in Shatin for the start of a 100km cycling loop
with a decline in tiredness, difficulties with sleep and a
which takes in much of the New Territories. Given
range of medical symptoms.
Disneyland to airport (about 45km round-trip)
there are 608,000 vehicles registered here (one for every
Michael Pryde, 40, division manager of NeilPryde
Route: From Disneyland, follow on Sunny Bay Road, then
3.5 metres of public road) and serious air-quality issues
Bikes, says he is “accustomed” to the high pollution
make a left to Cheung Tung Road, which runs alongside the
the ride is ironically nicknamed MAD100. (The original
levels having ridden in Hong Kong all his life.
North Lantau Highway. The road ends at Tung Chung, where
name refers to the ride’s speed and competitiveness).
“I have learnt to accept it,” says the former national
you can either turn around or follow the perimeter of the air-
Other popular routes include Lantau Island (the
mountain bike champion. “There are special masks
trip between Disneyland and the airport) or climbing
available in bicycle shops, but they restrict breathing
Difficulty: 2/5. Flat, straight and wide roads for most of the
to the Big Buddha; on Hong Kong Island powering up
quite a lot and hence during intense exercise, make the
way, with few cars. Suitable for beginners and a favourite spot
the Peak or spinning along the southern coast to Shek
effort even harder. Therefore, I do not use them.”
of triathletes with time-trial bikes.
While the inhalation of air pollution could cause
Must do: “Enjoy your surroundings, otherwise the flat and
Regardless of the seemingly adverse conditions
respiratory and heart problems, a study by Dutch re-
straight road can be boring. The view at the airport is spectac-
here, studies have shown cycling can help reduce the
searchers published in the journal Environmental
ular,” says recreational triathlete Charles Hui.
risk of heart disease and cancer.
Health Perspectives last year found that the beneficial
O Beach; or sweating over country roads in Sai Kung.
The activity also burns at least five kilocalories a minute – or about a medium pack of McDonald’s
effects of increased physical activity through cycling
daily are “substantially larger”.
Distance: About 12km round-trip from the roundabout adja-
A way around it, says cyclist Cheng Chung Yin, 25,
cent to Adventist Hospital to the Peak Tower (or 14km to Vic-
“It’s low-impact and a good way to get a cardio
who works at Racing Force bike distributors in Fo Tan
toria Peak Garden). A Victoria Peak loop should take about an
workout without stressing your joints,” says Andrew
and rides about 200km per week, is to set out either ear-
hour for a person of average fitness.
Wright, 28, owner of Tribal multisport shop in Happy
ly in the morning or in the evening after work, when
Route: From the roundabout, head up Stubbs Road past Wan
Valley and a pro triathlete with a masters degree in
there are fewer cars out — which also means safer
Chai Gap Park, then follow Peak Road to the top.
Difficulty: 3/5. The climb is long and the road is narrow; try to
French fries an hour.
finish up before 9am to avoid the tourist coaches.
The sport is ideal for people carrying some extra
The other way would be to not cycle at all. But to the
pounds, as about 70 per cent of bodyweight is borne by
growing community of road cyclists in Hong Kong, that
Must do: “Carry on up Mount Austin Road to the top of Victoria
the saddle, thus reducing the strain on the body’s mus-
would be crazy.
Peak for awesome views,” says cyclist Damian Barrett.