Let's be honest, Hong Kong is not a bicycle friendly city. Every time a cyclist decides to navigate our streets they enter a cramped world of speeding mini-buses, lane hogging double-deckers, and taxi doors that pop open without warning. However, there is another world of cycling in our city and it features young locals who train relentlessly to impress audiences across Hong Kong. They are the Civil Aid Service Cadet Corps Bicycle Demonstration Team.
The group was formed in 1972, and is the only team in Hong Kong that performs using different bikes. Pinky Lui joined just to learn to ride a unicycle. “One day I saw a senior riding a unicycle. I thought it would be fun to try it, because not many people know how to ride a unicycle,” she said.
Lui has been a team member for three years and spent six months acquiring the basic skills and safety precautions on an assortment of bikes. “At first, when I didn’t have the skills, I fell to the ground. I was hurt and the coach rushed over to help me. I just endured the pain and practiced again later.”
Lui now easily rides a unicycle and can balance while standing on a bicycle.
The possibility of learning to ride a unicycle also attracted Fiona Tang when she joined the team four years ago.
“You may stumble at the beginning, but after some practice you will find your balance and then it becomes as comfortable as sitting on a chair,” she said.
While Lui and Tang learned individual skills, they soon needed to learn teamwork for the more advanced performances.
“During group practice, we kept pulling and leaning on each other. In fact, this is how we learned to balance and accommodate each other,” said Tang.
The team of cyclists perform various stunts including four cyclists who each ride a unicycle of a different height, lining up from highest to lowest, as well as two cyclists performing acrobatics while riding on the same bike.
As you can see in the video below, it is also possible to play football with a bike!
For the past four decades, Nelson Chan has been riding with the team. When he joined at just 14 he did not possess the skills he can now pass on as the team's trainer. “I teach the team as if I’m teaching a child to walk. You start from scratch and take it step-by-step. After I’ve taught you how to do it, I will let go, because you need to practice by yourself and find your own way.”
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