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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

port.

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

Peak repeats

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.

sports science.

roads.

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.

64 STYLE

APRIL 2011


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