If you spend a lot of time traveling, it can be easy to feel as though the only way you ever experience your body in motion is when you’re hoofing it around a city or site, waiting in line, or shaking it on a nightclub’s dance floor. Exercise for exercise’s sake can be hard to come by, which is why travelling to a place that’s as bike-friendly as Hong Kong is a rare and welcome treat. While some areas of Hong Kong are little more than a chaotic and noisy press of concrete and cars, some of the New Territories and popular bike routes allow cyclists a truly refreshing and unique experience. Regardless of whether you’re an avid cycler or someone who hasn’t handled a bike since you were a child, here are six reasons why you should consider climbing on a bike when you travel to Hong Kong.
1. They Have Mountain Biking
In the not-so-distant past, bicycles weren’t allowed in Hong Kong’s excellent country parks, but that rule has since been changed. If you enjoy trail riding amidst beautiful scenery, pick up a free mountain biking permit from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and hit the many mountain biking areas in the parks. Make sure to get the permit ahead of time as you will face a fine if caught without one. You can also check out the website of the Hong Kong Mountain Biking Association for tips on where to go.
2. It’s Great Exercise
There’s no doubt that cycling is great exercise — even if you’re doing it at a leisurely pace. In fact, depending on how fast you ride, you can burn anywhere from 200 to 800 calories an hour, while you build muscle, condition your heart, and experience the place you’re visiting in an entirely new way. For people who travel a lot, making use of exercise as the primary way to tour a city, region, or country reduces the chances of negative health consequences due to a heavy travel schedule. It keeps your immune system in good shape, and it will also help you sleep better, so you’ll suffer fewer consequences of jet lag after an international flight to Hong Kong.
3. There Are Special Biking Tours
An undertaking of the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the International Cyclists to Asia, the Hong Kong Biking Tour is held two times a week during the cool autumn months. The guided tour covers the northwest part of the New Territories, the renowned Hong Kong Wetland Park, an ancient walled village, and features a dim sum lunch. This tour showcases a wonderful variety of what makes Hong Kong such a special place to visit and explore. Choose the half-day route or the full-day tour, depending on the shape you’re in and how much free time you have.
4. The Bike Routes Showcase Beautiful Views
Hong Kong’s most popular bike trail winds from Tai Wai to Tai Mei Tuk for roughly eight miles. A paved route, you’ll see temples, fertile parks, and breathtaking harbor views. The route is well-marked, so you’re not likely to lose your way. Once you get to Tai Mei Tuk, you’ll find plenty of delicious outdoor restaurants eager to take care of that appetite you almost certainly worked up.
5. Some Places Are Ready-Made for Bikes
Located on Lantau Island, Mui Wo is a biker’s paradise, because so many of the people there already get around that way. It’s easy to rent a bike from one of the shops near the pier, and once you do, you’ll find charming, sleepy towns, the Silver Mine Waterfalls, quiet herds of water buffalo, and picture-worthy marshes. A serene way to spend the afternoon, Mui Wo is already an off-the-beaten-path place, which makes seeing it by bicycle that much more satisfying.
6. You Can Keep Pushing Bike Culture Forward
Despite the recent influx of cycling offerings from the government in Hong Kong, most residents currently find cyclists an annoyance that clogs traffic and creates more headaches than they’re worth. As more and more people take to bikes, however, that attitude will begin to change. Bicycling is a great alternative to fossil fuel-powered transportation, especially in a region that struggles with significant pollution. Any efforts that reduce reliance on pollution-causing transportation are essential for long-term health and sustainability. So, pitch in and do your part. Just by touring Hong Kong on bicycle you’ll help push bike culture forward — something that will benefit the locals and all the future visitors to this magical place.