Hong Kong City Exploration
Far Ride City Exploration Archives
Introducing the Far Ride City Exploration Archives: features taken from our print magazines and edited for the digital world to provide a curated guide to cities for cyclists looking to explore more. Each city guide consists of two parts, with part one providing a general introduction to the city and its venues and part two focusing on the best cycling routes in and around the city.
Following the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China, the autonomous territory continues to make a number of international headlines. While Time Magazine covers the growing divide of the city and protests against mainland interference with their political system, The Straits Times writes about its expensive, tiny apartments. Things have certainly changes since we at Far Ride went to explore Hong Kong a few years ago, but the city-state's resolve and charm remain. So we thought now, more than ever, it's the right time to re-share what it’s like to ride, eat and get caffeinated in the city known as the "Fragrant Harbour."
While the extreme island temperatures and dense crowds make Hong Kong an unlikely candidate for riding, the cycling culture in the city has been rapidly developing over the past few years. In fact, the BBC reports that of the cycling markets measured by Nielsen Sports, Hong Kong showed the largest increase in interest in cycling, growing from 39% of those questioned in 2013 to more than 48% today.
To cater to the growing interest in cycling, there are a handful of hip bike shops and they are helping to grow a community of riders in the country. Getting a part for your bike, renting temporary wheels and meeting a group of likeminded riders has never been easier. And the expansion of Hong Kong’s territories means there are that many more routes to explore, and in a city so thick with intensity, the need to get out of town becomes as essential as air for breathing.
With the second largest concentration of billionaires in the world by a Forbes measurement and some of the best dim sum anywhere, riding in Hong Kong means possibly rubbing shoulders with the wealthiest and definitely eating like a king. Here’s the first part of our guide to riding Hong Kong and owning it.
Sha Tin River Bike Rentals
If you are looking to just ride the Sha Tin river bike path, there are a couple of bike rental shops along the river providing commuter style bikes for cruising around the river path.
CAFES & RESTAURANTS
At the heart of this café famed for its coffee is a meter-tall coffee machine called the
Gothicism: a slow drip cold brewer brought over from Korea. Customers can choose between three types of beans, which rotate every week, and are given tasting cards with each cup. Small bites as well as outdoor seating make this café a great place to relax a long ride.
Co-owned and headed by barista Hiraku Ono, the café shows influences from both Japan and Australia – two countries she’s spent time in. A small space with a wood cabin exterior, the café is well known for its hearty brunches and strong brews. Pair your single origin brew with poached eggs and bagels and you’ll be good to go.
An Aussie-owned café and restaurant, this multi-talented venue aims to impress you with their interior as well as their coffee, desserts and small plates. Brunch consists of a wide variety of muffins, bagels and toppings alongside Redback coffee while savory dishes can be paired with wine at night. Yes, vegemite is served.
Lin Heung Tea House
Time Magazine says “if you're going to have dim sum only once during your stay in Hong Kong, this is the place.” Lin Heung means “Fragrant Lotus” and the name of the restaurant alludes to the lotus seed paste found in some of their most beloved menu items: the Lotus Paste Bun, the Mooncake and the Double Lotus Pie. The space, which is two bottom floors of a tenement building, is also a sight to behold.
208 Duecento Otto
One of the most talked about Italian restaurants in Hong Kong, 208 Duecuento Otto is noted for their fresh, flavorful pizzas as well as their signature dishes and wide range of available pastas. Albeit not necessarily appropriate for a pre-cycling meal, the free flow champagne brunch here is a local’s favorite.
A corner noodle restaurant near Velo6 with lines out the door, the dishes at this eatery live up to its reputation. The famous Beef Brisket with E-Fu Noodles is exceptionally delicious: the tender beef easy on the teeth and perfectly paired with the flat Cantonese egg noodles. For those seeking a bit more favor, try the beef tendon in curry sauce. Avoid peak times at all costs.
Short for Police Married Quarters, this creative center was the original site for the Queen’s College Dormitory Central School in 1862 and later used as a dormitory for police officers. Today, it’s a hub of eateries and exhibitions housing some of the trendiest foods and interesting art.
Words and images by Sogon Yoon