Last September, the final section of the 60km bike track between Tuen Mun and Ma On Shan – a freewheeling Trans New Territories freeway and cause for celebration – opened with all the fanfare that we’ve come to expect in Hong Kong: marching bands, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a combined helicopter fly-past and fireworks display. Actually, I made all that up. The Civil Engineering and Development Department just put out a press release. And here’s the rub. Cycling – eminently healthy, utterly eco-friendly and, let it be said, really rather fun – meets with only grudging official approval in Hong Kong, a city that once used to boast that it owned more Rolls-Royces per capita than anywhere else on the planet. Four wheels good, two wheels bad, you might think. Bah. Ask any biking aficionado in Hong Kong and you get a torrent of near fury regarding the government’s lacklustre appreciation of saddling up and pedalling off into the wide sorta-blue yonder. The Transport Department is hardly enamoured of any cycling in urban areas, and fails to plan for the people who do it anyway. Count the number of dedicated downtown bike lanes. Indeed, instead of supporting cycling, government depts (spellcheck wittily alters this to “despots”‘) seize and scrap or leastways fail to return an estimated 10,000 bicycles a year, claiming either “illegal parking” – without acknowledging that bikes can be left almost anywhere without penalty under current parking regulations – or giving unreasonably short notice that the gauleiters are going to swoop. In essence, the powers-that-be obstinately fail to recognise that cycling is an immensely useful addition at all levels of society. Take a gander at somewhere like Tai Po or Mui Wo, where bike rental shops do a roaring trade at weekends and public holidays as urbanites come to stretch their limbs. Wobble helplessly they may, giggle helplessly they might, but at least they are getting out and about. Now, instead of treating cycling as an occasional lark, try putting it at the front and centre of Hong Kong’s transport network. For sure, typhoons and high temperatures can play havoc with a neatly pressed suit, but these are minor considerations in the light of reduced traffic congestion, a cut in greenhouse gas emissions and a general uptick in exercising. Free wheeling: Asia’s best bike tours, from Japan to Taiwan So the coast-to-coast cycle track’s a great start; but Hong Kong needs more of the same, not just in the not-terribly wilds of the New Territories, but downtown (and uptown), too.