27 June 2010


Dear TCG

I am about to relocate to Hong Kong from the UK for a year or two and I am an enthusiastic cyclist. I own a very expensive bike in the UK and I am thinking of shipping them over for my stay there. I have a place to store them so that's no problem. However loads of people say to me that I won't have a chance to use them what are the cycling opportunities in HK? I would be grateful for advice.


Dear Tolsky

You're kidding right? You want to ride a bicycle in Hong Kong? There are two maybe three things against this:

#1 It's frigging hot in Hong Kong, even in Winter it doesn't drop below 14C and it is humid. I'm supposed to be from round there but merely WALKING makes people ask me if I've been swimming. The need to shower at both ends will probably destroy your skin.

#2 The pollution seriously, when I ride a tough section on my bicycle I take in huge deep gulping breaths though granted my speed up hill and on the flat is barely any different much to the annoyance of other cyclists as I use the cogs pretty effectively. The pollution in HK is horrible some of the scenic routes are hilly and you will be gulping in incredible amounts of crap into your lungs. Granted you can of course use one of those anti pollution masks but you can never get enough air into your lungs. In Beijing which is pancake flat I rented a bicycle and returned it about 5 minutes later due to the incredible pollution there.

#3 Cars, ok so in HK there are many separated cycle lanes which are built into the pavement, but these do not go everywhere. In HK the driving is aggressive not quite as bad as driving in Seoul but when you see minibuses go down roads which are 30mph going down them at 75mph you think hmm. Or the way people do not pay attention to the road is worrying. A taxi driver I always have the misfortune to encounter uses not one but 5 mobile phones and 2 net books in his taxi while driving. No doubt he'll be using an Ipad too.

As a side 4th the public transport in HK is cheap anyway so this is hardly a need to cycle to cheap out on transport is there? I mean a fare in the UK which'd cost you £4 costs £1.20.

As a 5th you don't tell me where exactly you live, as it is troublesome to get a bicycle across the Harbor and or Lion Rock. Yes I know there is a guy who cycles from Fanling to Mongkok daily (he spends 4 hours a day doing it). But better him than me.

Crap forgot to answer the question at hand. Yes in the New Territories and Lantau Bicycles will be useful due to the cycle lanes everywhere. But the closer you get to Kowloon and HK Island the less useful they will become as there is nowhere to store them. Parking on the street bicycles have a tendancy to be removed especially during festivals etc. Not to mention the above hazards.

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