Street Talk: Hughes Lau
Hughes Lau is one of the co-founders of Bike the Moment, an urban cycling and lifestyle platform and shop, which holds workshops and meets. He tells Tammy Ha about urban cycling and the hurdles cyclists must overcome in Hong Kong.
HK Magazine: How did you become interested in urban cycling?
Hughes Lau: I was living in Shau Kei Wan around the end of 2012. We were curious about cycling on Hong Kong Island itself, and one day we decided to go cycling after midnight when there were no cars on the road. We cycled from Shau Kei Wan to Causeway Bay for midnight snacks.
HK: What’s urban cycling like in Hong Kong?
HL: Exciting! Unlike other cities, there are no urban cycling paths in Hong Kong, and the streets are very busy. The experience in Hong Kong is quite different: there’s our unique city landscape for one, and secondly, we can stop whenever we want to grab a bite!
HK: Where do you cycle to for a snack?
HL: For breakfast, I love Hoi On Café in Sheung Wan. It’s pretty old and has a vintage style to it, and people there are friendly. For midnight snacks, Hor Hor Deem in Kennedy Town is great—it’s an old shop and I love their food.
HK: Where’s your favorite place to cycle in the city?
HL: I like cycling in busier areas, because there’s a strong city atmosphere. From Shau Kei Wan to Kennedy Town is pretty awesome. In Kowloon, the route from Tsim Sha Tsui to Sham Shui Po is pretty nice too.
HK: Why did you start Bike the Moment?
HL: We wanted to share the fun of urban cycling, because we didn’t know anyone who was doing stuff like that. I also like taking pictures so it was like a diary to me, recording what fun things we had been up to. We only started monthly gatherings a year later, when we had about 1,000 Facebook fans. And around November 2014, we opened our store.
HK: How many people come to your gatherings?
HL: An average of 30-40 people. We have many beginners—people who can ride a bike but don’t really know how to ride on the road—joining in. But our pace is quite slow and we help each other out.
HK: Where do you like cycling most?
HL: Japan and Taiwan are both pretty awesome. For Europe, I like Copenhagen in Denmark. It’s cycling heaven!
HK: What problems face cyclists in Hong Kong?
HL: The infrastructure isn’t good enough—there are no cycle paths, which means we have to cycle on the roads. It isn’t a problem, except some drivers think we shouldn’t be there. They sometimes drive close to you to sandwich you to the curb, even though it’s dangerous. They don’t seem to care. Also the roads aren’t designed perfectly. There are many blind spots.
HK: What should the city do to be more cycle-friendly?
HL: Hong Kong will only become more bike friendly when there are more people cycling. We’re doing our part by establishing a culture of urban cycling. With the photos and information we post online, we hope to get more and more people to incorporate urban cycling into their own lives.
HK: What are your plans for Bike the Moment and the store?
HL: I hope it can become a good bicycle store! As well as just offering a means of transportation, bicycles can offer a lifestyle: entertainment, fashion and more. We’re chill about cycling, and we want to share the fun, stylish and relaxing aspects with others.
HK: OK! You’ve convinced me. How should I get started?
HL: Start off on a road where there aren’t many cars passing through to get a feel of it, though it can’t be completely empty because that would be just like riding on a cycle path! Kwun Tong from 7pm is a good choice, as there are only a few cars around. Tai Koo Shing is good for Islanders.
Learn more about Bike the Moment and their monthly gatherings at www.bikethemoment.com and check out their store at Unit B11, Mai Hing Industrial Building Block B, 16-18 Hing Yip St., Kwun Tong, 9823-9179.