Cycling on Lantau – Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a bonkers place, and to be honest the mad rush of the high rise, completely crammed with people gives me the eebie-jeebies. So with a weekend to recover from jetlag on a business trip and with a whole week of high pressure M+ Museum BIM meetings (what I do for a living, BIM – Building Information Modelling Consultancy) ahead of me I decided to see what biking opportunities there were in the New Territories (the more rural islands that surround Hong Kong Island)
I got some advice from some local expats and did a fair bit of Googling which resulted in catching the ferry across to the Island of Lantau (where the new Hong Kong Airport is) to the village of Mui Wo and hiring a bike from the “Friendly Bicycle Shop”
From what I can tell, you need a permit to use the official mountain bike tracks on Lantau and that they are not quite what a UK rider would expect, (either perfect concrete tracks or almost un-ridable) and the permits take a couple of weeks to get hold of, so I just decided to stay on the roads, head out along the coast and see how far I got.
The first thing to point out is that although no that hot – 30ish, the humidity was horrendous, with any activity at all resulting in rivers of sweat falling from my nose and chin….
The roads were great, well surfaced and lots of up and down and in a silly sort of way similar to Arran in Scotland (except for the heat and vegetation). There is very little traffic except for buses and coaches. The drivers were very good at giving lots of room, unless they came across me around a blind bend and there was a bus coming the other way, so I, after one near miss, used my ears and made sure I wasn’t on a blind corner when the buses were approaching.
I stopped for some lunch at a seaside cafe and then carried on with the intention of riding up to the ‘Big Buddha’ at Ngong Ping
The climb was punishing, particularly in the midday sun and to be honest I nearly binned it, lack or water and food taking its toll. Eventually I rolled into the surreal world of the theme parked tourist trap which is Ngong Ping 360 at the top of the cable car. I downed two ice creams and a couple of cans of coke, took in the view and then headed off back down the mountain.
I had a bit of time to spare before the bike had to be back at the hire company so took the MTB track back around to Mui Wo from Pui O Wan. This track was great in places, bringing me right into the rural idol that still can be found, including water buffalo mooching about.
All too soon I was back at the ‘Friendly Bike Shop’ to hand back the bike and then try and find some air conditioning for the journey back to HK Island.

 

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