Hong Kong Tourism Board in association with The Cycling Association of Hong Kong is all set to introduce the 2015 Hong Kong Cyclothon on October 10-11. Thousands of experienced and casual riders will descend on the city for the inaugural Cyclothon. The weekend-long event expects to attract 5,500 participants riding across eight different riding categories, from beginners who simply want to absorb the scenery to professionals looking to warm-up before their next big competition to families looking for a fun day out with their little ones.
From Copenhagen to London, Chicago to Paris, urban cycling has been riding a wave of momentum lately. Even in densely packed Hong Kong, visitors and residents alike are hopping on two wheels to navigate the matrix of urban streets, explore the leafy new territories and tackle the challenging mountains trails peppered around the SAR. At the same time, sporting events in general seem to be gaining popularity across Asia. Hong Kong holds myriad large-scale athletic competitions throughout the year, including the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon, Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Hong Kong Masters, International Dragon Boat Races and the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix.
Wong Kam-Po, world champion racing cyclist said, “Rugby is a game that you can watch but cycling is a game that you can participate in, so that’s a big difference. Even a kid can join in the community during the family cycling events.” The first Chinese World Champion cyclist to win the 15km UCI Track World Championships in 2007, Wong says the territory is a great destination for cyclists, especially if you manage to venture beyond the busy city center. “Downtown has fewer roads and more cars, but if you cycle around the new territories, you can experience Hong Kong’s culture and enjoy the greenery of the city.”
When it comes to exploring Hong Kong’s backyard by bike, there’s no better time of year than autumn—by then clear blue skies have replaced the summer’s heavy humidity. Capitalising on the fantastic October weather, the Cyclothon plans to showcase the best of the Hong Kong’s scenery, incorporating several major landmarks into the racing routes and even opening up the imposing Tsing Ma suspension bridge to cyclists for the very first time.
Jamie Wong Wan-yiu, champion cyclist, who won the Asian Cycling Championships in 2013 said, “It is the first time cyclers get to experience the Tsing Ma Bridge- even experienced riders like myself. This unique journey is a great opportunity for people to participate.”
It all kicks off the evening of October 10, when professional riders embark on night races through the neon-lit streets of Kowloon. Meanwhile, spectators can hang out at the Hong Kong Cyclothon’s free weekend carnival, set to take place at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza on the picturesque Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront. The carnival will be going strong all weekend, buzzing with good food and carnival games galore.
The more casual races start up the following morning of October 11. Beginners and leisure bikers will enjoy the breezy 10km Community Ride, which pedals around Hong Kong’s iconic landmarks like the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, UC Centenary Garden, Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the International Commerce Centre—the tallest building in the city.
Aimed at intermediate riders, the 35km Challenge Ride also offers up plenty of postcard-worthy moment as riders glide by glittering Victoria Harbour, admire the iconic IFC and ICC towers, continue across the windy Tsing Ma suspension bridge and circle around the shores of Park Island and its lush landscape.