UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Hong Kong 2017

Record 4,900 riders hit the streets for Hong Kong Cyclothon

Full-day cycling festival on Sunday features city’s first Union Cycliste Internationale class 1.1 road race

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 October, 2017, 8:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 October, 2017, 11:58pm

A record 4,900 professional and amateur cyclists battled it out in Hong Kong on Sunday at the annual cyclothon, even as participants said the city had much work to do to transform itself into a truly bike-friendly place.

A wide range of races were held from dawn to dusk in sweltering autumn heat to entertain the estimated 60,000 spectators.

In one of the races was cyclist Tsoi Rhollan Clark, who is visually impaired. He completed the 30km route on a tandem bike with his partner Li Tam-hang, who is hearing-impaired. “He can’t talk, and I can’t see. But when he really steps on it, I know I have to step on it too,” said Tsoi, who has 30 per cent vision in his left eye.

The biggest challenge for the duo, who began training last month, was adjusting and coordinating their pace on the bicycle.

Unlike in 2015, when a shortage of staff and lack of road signs resulted in chaos, participants said they had no problems with the arrangements this year.

“The road signs were clear, and there were enough staff at the turns,” said cyclist Veren Lau, who completed a 50km race yesterday morning. “It was great riding along the Tsing Ma Bridge. I was really enjoying the views there.”

But to make Hong Kong a truly bike-friendly place, Lau said, the city still had a lot of work to do. “There should be more cycling paths in Hong Kong. It would be great if there was a path that went from Kowloon to Hong Kong [Island],” the 40-year-old said.

Lau suggested that a channel on multi-lane roadscould be reserved for cyclists. And he said it was troublesome for cyclists to have to remove the wheels on their bikes to get onto MTR trains.

Another participant, Simon Cheung, 22, said: “Hong Kong is not a bike-friendly city. When you are cycling on the roads, the drivers are not friendly. It is also annoying that you have to take the wheels off while taking the MTR.”

Edwin Ng, 24, said he wanted more cycling paths in Hong Kong because most of them were in the New Territories. It was also ironic that cycling was not allowed outside the Tseung Kwan O Velodrome Park, he said.

The full-day cycling event saw the city’s first ever Union Cycliste Internationale class 1.1 road race, featuring 100 seasoned cyclists from around the world.

Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric came in first place, followed by Australia’s Robbie Hucker and Japan’s Yukiya Arashiro.

According to the Tourism Board, 17 cyclists suffered minor injuries yesterday morning.

For the 50km race, only 4 per cent of participants, or 109 of them, could not complete. For the 30km race, 7 per cent, or 113 cyclists, could not finish the route.