Record 5,400 amateur and pro bike riders hit the streets for annual Hong Kong Cyclothon
Full-day event draws participants of all ages and sees fewer injuries than last year
A record 5,400 amateur and professional cyclists took part in the annual Hong Kong Cyclothon on Sunday, enjoying a day out riding even as they complained the city was not doing enough to become truly bike-friendly.
From sunrise to sunset they battled it out in different races. The 50km contest offered riders a rare opportunity to start in Tsim Sha Tsui, ride across the Tsing Ma and Ting Kau bridges, and then cross the finishing line back where they started near Victoria Harbour.
Minor injuries, mostly cuts, befell about 10 cyclists, while two others broke bones.
Mason Hung Chung-hing of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the event’s organiser, voiced satisfaction that fewer cyclists were injured than last year. About 900 volunteers, including race marshals, helped ensure the event went smoothly, he added.
Last year drew 4,900 riders, the previous record high.
Derek Lau, 50, said he had cramp in one leg while competing in this year’s 30km race along Stonecutters Bridge. He dismounted and waited two minutes for paramedics, but to no avail.
“No one saw me,” he said. “In the end, I got back on my bike and continued the race.”
Lau believed the city was not bike-friendly and hoped more dedicated lanes and parks for cyclists could be built.
“There are a lot of shared bicycles in Hong Kong, but they are parked everywhere and blocking the bicycle lanes,” he added. “In Europe, you need to park your bikes at specific bicycle stands and then have them locked up after you’ve finished using them.”
Anthony Leung, 35, found it annoying that cyclists in the city are required to take off their front wheel before going on the MTR.
“That makes it easier to hurt other passengers,” he said.
Emil Lee, 19, agreed with Leung. Having to carry the bike with one hand and the front wheel with the other made it more difficult to avoid bumping into fellow passengers, he said.
The Tseung Kwan O resident hoped Hong Kong would carve out more cycling lanes. He usually rides along the new town’s waterfront promenade but said that, as it is only about 3km long, he had to do frequent laps to train.
The event on Sunday drew a group of 23 people who were cancer patients or survivors of the illness. Calling themselves the “unfallen riders”, they wanted the public to know they could achieve anything if they put their hearts into it.
Jennifer Tse, 37, a lymphoma survivor, said she wanted to inspire others through her example.
“The world is huge,” she said. “But with my bicycle, I can go anywhere I want.”