Mountain bikers show it's a serious sport in HK competition

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2007, 12:00am

If there's any doubt about off-road cycling as a sport, Sunday's first Action Asia mountain bike race in Hong Kong should confirm its popularity. With only three weeks of registration, 130 serious mountain bikers signed up in two categories for the course at Tai Tam reservoir and applications were still being taken on Sunday morning.

Appropriate for Action Asia's first Hong Kong race, a local rider won. Jor Tsui King-man, 25, who finished the 30km two-lap course in one hour, 21 minutes and 26 seconds, actually got into cycling by way of another sport.

'I used to play basketball and that's why my nickname is Jor [short for Jordan, as in Michael],' said Tsui (right). 'I rode a bike because I lived in Fanling and needed some cheap transport to take me to the basketball courts.'

Tsui - who specialises in downhill biking - now ranks third in Asia and about 60th in the world among off-road riders. With mountain biking an Olympic sport and more than 6,000 people applying for biking permits, maybe it is time the government offered more support to athletes like Tsui. 'A lot of times, the atmosphere here is not as good as races overseas. We don't receive much support from local spectators.'

If you want to see or enter the next Action Asia race, it's on January 20 at Lantau Island's Chi Ma Wan.