What comes to mind when someone mentions “Hong Kong”?
Hong Kong, one of the top travel destinations in Asia is popular for its iconic skyline lit up by the glittery lights of sorts, a foodie’s paradise ranging from fancy feasts in Michelin-starred restaurants to rustic meals in the dai pai dongs [coffeeshops] as well as being a shopping haven.
Amongst what the island is already known for, did you know that Hong Kong actually has an active cycling scene? Well, we found that out by witnessing the impressive turnout during the recent Sun Hung Kai Properties Hong Kong Cyclothon 2018 and Hong Kong Hammer Series.
Sun Hung Kai Properties Hong Kong Cyclothon and Hammer Series 2018
Organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), the 4th Sun Hung Kai Properties Hong Kong Cyclothon (SHKP Hong Kong Cyclothon) was held on 14 October 2108. The event attracted over 5,400 athletes participating in eight categories with about 15% of them being visitors. Amateur cyclists including locals and visitors joining the 50km Ride, 30km Ride, “CEO Charity & Celebrity Ride”, “Family Fun Ride”, “Kids & Youth Rides” were given the opportunity to cycle through some of Hong Kong’s busiest districts.
A new “SHKP Greater Bay Area Youth Trophy” was newly introduced in the 50km category this year, to encourage participation of youths in the 11 Greater Bay Area cities. A new “BEA Centenary University Trophy” was also introduced in the 30km category, which saw students from nine local universities participating.
Winners for this Year Women’s Open Race” and the “Elite Partners Men’s Open Race” were Sze-wing Lee and Dor-ming Domino Chau respectively.
We were told to collect our rental bikes at 4am. A good thing about this event is you can choose not to bring your bike along as rental of bikes is available. We have decided to go easy on this event and just enjoy the scenery. The event started at 5am and cyclists had started bringing their bikes to the start point when we reached the venue.
While waiting for the race to start, we chatted with two Malaysians based in Hong Kong. They took up cycling in Hong Kong and shared that they frequented Kowloon Peak and Tai Mo Shan for their cycling practice, with their favourite haunt being the park connector between Shatin and Plover Country Park. Sounds like that will be the next place we will check out.
The 50km and 30km rides offer a precious opportunity for riders to pedal through the diverse cityscape of Hong Kong. Streaking on the bike across three bridges. There are 5 turning point from Tsim Sha Tsui to Cheung Tsing Tunnel to Tsing Ma Bridge to Ting Kau Bridge to Nam Wan Tunnel to Stonecutters Bridge to Eagle’s Nest Tunnel and back to Tsim Sha Tsui. Safety was top notch, with medical staff within visible sight everywhere. Organisers did not allow photo taking on the route as it poses danger to cyclists at the race.
Marshals were cycling along the way and at critical junctions to ensure safety. Slow cyclists were encouraged to stay on the left side of the course. We were battling headwind throughout our ride but were glad the weather was cool at 26-27 Degree Celsius. The beautiful scenery at the Tsing Ma Bridge was rather breathtaking. I would say it is a “must-do” for cycling amateurs and professionals alike.
The ride was very enjoyable as the road was spacious but we will still caution amateurs and slower cyclists to keep to your left at all times and to check your blind spot before you switch lanes, for the safety of everyone in the race.
The Finishing Point is at Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Salisbury Road. Finisher Medals were handed upon the completion of the 50km race. Water was provided and if you are hungry, fret not, there are food trucks available so do bring some cash with you.
It is true when they say there is no way better to explore a place than bike. At least for us, we will never look at Hong Kong the same way anymore.
Hammer Hong Kong presented by Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) is a UCI Asia Tour Class 1.1 Road Race. Fifteen participating teams first faced off in the “Hammer Sprint” over a 10-lap course, with Australian team Mitchelton-Scott claiming victory.
Mitchelton-Scott triumphed in the following 5-lap “Hammer Chase”. After two rounds of intense competition, Mitchelton-Scott was named the winner of Hammer Hong Kong. What an adrenaline rush for us!
The title of Hammer Series 2018 champion was carried off by Mitchelton-Scott as a result of their impressive performances in Hammer Hong Kong, Hammer Stavanger in Norway and Hammer Limburg in the Netherlands. The trophy was presented to the winning team by Mrs Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the HKSAR. It was a wonderful and fulfilling weekend in Hong Kong!
D-2 : Great outdoors of Hong Kong
Standing at 957 metres, Tai Mo Shan is the highest peak in Hong Kong, visible from many parts of the city, often shrouded in stratus clouds. Despite its height, Tai Mo Shan is easily accessible on foot and offers sweeping views of green landscapes of Hong Kong. You can even spot celebrities like Chow Yun Fatt leading his team up the peak if you are lucky.
We spotted cyclists going up the peak and some of them were participants of the Hong Kong Cyclothon Hammer Series.
After a great work out and feasting our eyes on the amazing views at the peak of Tai Mo Shan, the next thing is to feast on food! We were introduced by the local friend to a teahouse which is famous for their dim sum. As we got down from the peak, we took bus 51 at Route Twisk just down one bus stop and landed at Duen Kee Chinese Restaurant.
Duen Kee Chinese Restaurant
Everything is DIY at this restaurant. You make your own tea, choose and collect your own dim sum, scoop your own soy beancurd at their kitchen! Too authentic to be true and the dim sum was simply delicious. Plus point for us, the service staff were really friendly as well.
D-3: Exploring Cycling shops
We were in search of interesting cycle accessories and found just the right places that sold these gems. We popped by VELO 6 – a quirky lifestyle cycling retailer located at On Wo Lane, Central and were blown away by the quaint little shop with its cute accessories and the fact that they were capable of building your dream bicycle from scratch.
VELO 6 is not only a retailer. They also pride themselves as a cycling museum too. Reason? Just have a look at the collectables mounted on the walls and all around and you will understand. Truthfully, we were slightly disappointed to learn that some of the items are strictly not for sale as they are the owners’ prized possessions. Did we mention that they have both bikes available for rent as well as bike tours for tourists’ consideration?
After the visit to VELO 6, we visited one of the largest cycling and triathlon equipment retailers in Hong Kong. Bull Bike, located at Kam Tong Building, Yau Ma Tei. I must say the equipment that they carry indeed live up to their claim.
Counting down the hours to the race, we fed ourselves at the famous Hing Kee Restaurant in Temple Street that is famous for none other than their clay pot rice. The authentic Cantonese-style clay pot rice and comforting “home-cooked food” literally warmed our souls and stomachs in the cooling October. And no, we are not exaggerating at all.
No visit to Hong Kong is complete without tong shui(desserts). So after a hearty meal at Hing Kee Restaurant, we headed to the Michelin-listed Kai Kai Dessert in Jordan just 5mins walk away. Boy, we were lucky because we only waited for 10 mins before we got ourselves a table.
The no-frills traditional desserts shop serves familiar tong shui like Black Sesame Paste, Sweet Sesame Rice Ball in Ginger Sweet Soup, Mango Sago with Pomelo with recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Their tong shui was so good, not only did we order second helpings, we almost licked the bowls when we were done.
These three days were of great fun adventuring Hong Kong, however, all good things must come to an end. It is with a heavy heart as I waved goodbye to the good experience during the stay in Hong Kong. Hope that there will be the next series next year!
What do you think was the most enjoyable part of this experience? Will you take part in the next Sun Hung Kai Properties Hong Kong Cyclothon? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.