Born and bred Hong Konger, keen cyclist, and avid explorer David Caron certainly knows a thing or two about cycling in our city. Whether you’re exploring a new hobby, discovering the world of functional cycling, or furthering a personal passion, you’ll be pedaling around like a pro in no time with our handy guide to cycling in Hong Kong.
Complicated road networks, monstrous double-decker buses, and impulsive taxi drivers – Hong Kong doesn’t immediately strike people as a place where cycling is even possible, let alone a bike-friendly city. Yet, early in the morning, cyclists can be seen panting up May Road trying to conquer Victoria Peak. Venture out into the New Territories and you’ll find smooth stretches of uninterrupted cycling paths.
Hong Kong’s hillsides taunt mountain bikers with their formidable dirt trails. Even those without much cycling experience or those who don’t have a bike of their own can have an amazing time pedaling around the SAR on a day out. So what are you waiting for? Hop on your saddle and explore the city in a totally different way.
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Hong Kong actually has an astonishingly rich cycling culture – there are over a hundred local cycling groups and races held throughout the year and advocacy organisations are constantly pushing to make the streets safer and more comfortable for cyclists.
The Cycling Association of Hong Kong, China Ltd.
A member of the International Cycling Union and Asian Cycling Confederation, the Cycling Association of Hong Kong (CAHK) is the official governing body of cycle races and events in Hong Kong. Along with promoting and organizing events, the association offers training courses for the general public. Click here to check out the tentative 2016 to 2017 race calendar.
How much: Free – $500
Hong Kong Cycling Alliance
The Hong Kong Cycling Alliance (HKCAll) is our city’s leading cycling advocacy group. Coordinating with local cycling groups, it pressures decision-makers to enact more bicycle-friendly measures. In 2011, it successfully campaigned to allow people to board MTR trains with their bikes without having to pay any extra fees. Since 2006, the group has been organising Hong Kong’s annual Ride of Silence – a mass ride through Kowloon to commemorate cyclists killed or injured on Hong Kong’s roads.
HKCAII has also compiled a comprehensive guide to cycling on Hong Kong’s roads, which includes information on cycling-related laws and regulations and what to do in case of any incidents. Want to get involved? Request to join the Facebook group.
How much: Free
The Lantau Buffalos (pictured above) are a group based in Discovery Bay, open to anyone interested in cycling, running, swimming, or trail running. On weekdays, members of the 200-strong group ride repeats up Golf Club Hill – locally known as ‘The Burner’. On weekends, the club organises vans to transport bikes through the Discovery Bay Tunnel into Sunny Bay.
From there, cyclists dash 10 kilometres along the mostly flat Cheung Tung Road to Tung Chung, where some groups will continue along the airport’s South Perimeter Road. Those who fancy a tougher venture head up the steep hill linking Tung Chung with Southern Lantau – nicknamed ‘The Beast’ – and head along Lantau’s buffalo-laden Southern coast to the Big Buddha. Some even reach Tai O – a picturesque fishing village on the island’s Western tip. The club also stages racing and triathlon events throughout the year, many of which are suitable for children. Check out the Facebook page for regular updates.
How much: Free
South Island Road Cycling
Your go-to forum for group road cycling on Hong Kong Island, South Island Road Cycling is one of the city’s best known amateur cycling groups. Members of this Yahoo group gain exclusive access to a network of hundreds of dedicated cyclists who ride through the sleeping island’s empty streets on weekday mornings. On weekends, members often organise rides around Lantau Island.
How much: Free
Definitive Cycling Club
The Definitive Cycling Club meet-up group often organises rides around Hong Kong’s periphery, including the popular 25-kilometre belt of paved bike paths from Tai Wai all the way to Plover Cove.
One of the group’s leading organisers, Derek Wong, is a professional cycling instructor who speaks fluent English and will guide newcomers and those less experienced through the ins and outs of cycling on Hong Kong’s roads. Check out the Facebook page for the latest news and events.
How much: Free
Hong Kong Dragons Triathlon Club
The Hong Kong Dragons Triathlon Club (pictured above) welcomes members of all ability levels who want a friendly but competitive group to train with. It organises about twelve races a year around Hong Kong island, including the Dragons Summer Series (three mini triathlons) and the Dragons Duathlon Series. Every Spring, the club hosts the Race to Enlightenment – a gruelling cycling race up to the Big Buddha on Lantau Island.
The Dragons also hold a three-day bike tour in South East Asia, and last year they traveled to Taiwan. The club’s membership fee not only gains you access to the club’s training sessions, but also entitles you to impressive discounts at Bike Energy Lab, Gone Running, and UTime Fitness Studios.
How much: $500 per year
Based in Tung Chung, AG Triathlon (pictured above) offers an intensive Cross-Training programme with high-quality coached running, swimming, and cycling sessions for adults and kids. It also runs a talent identification program to scout for potential youth athletes. Coaching director Erik Chan is an IRONMAN triathlete and served as president of the Hong Kong Triathlon Association for 10 years.
How much: Contact AG Triathlon
Hong Kong Mountain Bike Association
Hong Kong Mountain Bike Association (HKMBA) is your gateway to Hong Kong’s mountain biking community. By joining the association, you gain free access to maps, forums, and classifieds. This not-for-profit organisation also acts as an advocacy group that seeks to establish and develop Hong Kong’s off-road trail networks. Visit the website to get an overview of mountain biking in Hong Kong, learn more about Hong Kong’s many off-road trails, and explore touring and instruction options.
How much: Free
Steve Coward, the owner and founder of Crosscountry HK, has been living in Hong Kong and pedaling along its often overlooked mountain trails for over 19 years. To share the thrills of biking through these fantastic trails, Steve designs skills courses and guided tours, tailoring them to suit his clients’ specific needs and ability levels.
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Favourite Cycling Routes
David Caron, Localiiz Researcher
“My favourite route is the Sha Tin – Plover Cove Loop, which runs from Sha Tin to Tai Mei Tuk. The route is very accessible from Sha Tin MTR, and should take no more than 10 minutes to get to Sha Tin Park where signs will guide you to the bike rental kiosks. Take the full-day rental option for $60 to $120 per bike so you can stop, catch your breath, and admire the views every once in a while.
Ideal for those who have a strong need for speed, but are not fully comfortable with riding on vehicular roads, this route offers 40 kilometres of bike-only paths that carry you away from Sha Tin’s urban sprawl into the New Territories’ lush, laid-back coastal villages. The route is mainly flat and runs through the Tolo Channel, Science Park (where lanes are wide enough for several bikes to ride alongside each other), Tai Po Waterfront Park, and the idyllic Plover Cove.
Nick Andrew, Hong Kong Cycling Alliance
“My personal favourite is cycling from near Tin Hau to Central near the waterfront, stopping to admire the views and enjoy an ice cream with friends … it’s a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.”
Dan Mulin, Lantau Buffalos
“First has to be one of the toughest rides in Hong Kong, from Tung Chung to the Buddha, Tai O and Mui Wo, but it’s our home patch and so probably the most ridden by us in one way or another. The hills of South Lantau are not forgiving, but the rewards are great with great views along the way at the high points and plenty of refreshment stops too.
Second has to be riding on Hong Kong Island. Start as early as possible to avoid the traffic, as the Southside roads can be narrow with plenty of buses on the road. The ride always starts in Central, but quickly moves out of the city and up to the Peak. From there it’s non-stop to Shek O for breakfast at the bike friendly Lulus for sloppy eggs on toast and milk tea – Hong Kong style. If that’s not your cup of tea, then ignore the hunger and stop at Stanley for breakfast instead on your way back to Wong Nai Chung Gap to head back down to Central.”
Martin Turner, Hong Kong Cycling Alliance
“I suggest Happy Valley to LegCo’s Central Headquarters. This route cuts across the major east-west road and rail arteries, making it tricky by most means of public transport. But on a bike, one can criss-cross the city without fear of jams, confident in each journey’s timing, and able to deviate – such as for another errand – without having to go find a car park, dive into the MTR’s netherworld, wait for a bus, or find a taxi.”
Erik Chan, AG Triathlon
“My favourite cycling route is probably the most challenging route in Hong Kong, and the best training route for professional cyclists – we call it the ‘Tour de Lantau’. Start at Tung Chung post office, easy warm-up on the flat road to Haeco (end of the airport runway) then go up the ‘Beast’ (333m height, with average gradient around 15 to 17%) and enter the south Lantau area. Ride to Mui Wo then turn around, head to Tai O, then back up to the ‘Beast’ again and finish with another 33km ride on flat to Sunny Bay, Disney and back to Tung Chung. The total distance is about 105km, the total elevation is around 1800m, and it takes around 4 to 6 hours to finish, depending on individual ability.”
Looking to buy a bicycle? Check out our directory!
Races and Events
So, you’ve got to grips with cycling in the city and now you want to take your hobby to the next level. Whether you fancy getting involved with a charity event or signing up for a hardcore race, there’s plenty to keep you entertained in the city.
Fund Raising Cycling
Fund Raising Cycling is the perfect event for the night owls among us. Circling Hong Kong Island under the cover of dark to raise money for charities such as the Children’s Cancer Foundation, this 40km route will allow you to see the Island like never before. Originally organised for the residents of Hong Kong University’s Simon K Y Lee Halls, Fund Raising Cycling is now open to the public, so grab your bike and get involved!
When: January 9 – 10, 2016
Good for: athletes, charity
Ride of Silence Hong Kong
In 2015, ten cyclists were killed in Hong Kong – and a further 2,500 were injured. The annual Ride of Silence Hong Kong, organised by the Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, is part of a global movement which sees cyclists ride together in silent memorial, and to raise awareness for greater consideration and respect on the road for cyclists.
When: The third Wednesday of May (May 18, 2016)
Good for: athletes, family, charity
Hong Kong Cyclothon
Riding high on a wave of popularity from its debut year, and returning to the city for round two in 2016, is the Hong Kong Cyclothon. International cyclists will be flying in from across the world to compete in the longest of the events, with the route clocking in at 69km. Fancy something a little less daunting? Take your pick of family fun rides, kids routes, team time trials, and celebrity rides. Whether you’re on the saddle or cheering from the sidelines, this jam-packed event is one bike-lovers don’t want to miss.
When: September 25, 2016
Distance: 800m – 50km
Good for: athletes, family, fun, charity
For the ultimate challenge, sign yourself up for a triathlon. Check out these links for more information on training groups and upcoming events in the city.
Hong Kong Triathlon Association (TriHK)
TriHK (pictured above) is the official governing body for all triathlon events in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Dragons Triathlon Club
An all-inclusive triathlon training group which organises around 12 competitions per year.
Sonic Sports Association
A non-for-profit Triathlon club offering group training for kids and adults across Hong Kong Island.
Tritons Triathlon Team
A motivational training group, welcoming beginners and advanced triathletes to join in the fun.