04 April 2011

a Hong Kong commute, Beerman style

Jason sporting a musette as man purse - I photographed in Boston, not Hong Kong
A good friend of mine, former Cat 1 racer, Jason Beerman, moved from Boston to Hong Kong last summer with his wife Jen. In a city with a landmass of 426 sq. miles ( 25% developed with the rest being hilly mountainous slopes, which Jen and Jason also love to climb), population of 7 million, and less then 5% flat roads -- I was thrilled to follow the trials and tribulations of Jason's Hong Kong bike commute...
the two-wheeled Chinese machine
the bike commute-documenting Chinese-American machine

North Point to Sheung Wan on a typical 7pm Thursday night... 

I asked Jason to fill us in on the minutiae of his ride... 

Are you biking with among all those trams? Or do they just dominate your route?
I ride a lot in the tram lane because the regular lanes are sometimes a cluster with speeding taxis who randomly pull over for fares and buses and bus stops every 20 feet and exit ramps, etc. So sometimes the tram lane offers some protection since it's occasionally cordoned off. 

Are those rails difficult to deal with riding on with bike tires?
The tires on my 50 pound, Shanghai-made double top tube bike {the Phoenix} are pretty wide, so they can go over the tracks ok. I still have to be careful though and hit the tracks at an angle however.

Are bike lanes to be found in Hong Kong?

There are no bike lanes and no bike infrastructure whatsoever on HK island. There's simply no room and other than the road I was riding, there's not much flat land; the roads become steep (up to 15% in some places!) as you get away from the harbor. The only people who ride are the occasional produce/fish delivery guys. In the area off the island (which is very densely occupied) nearer to the Chinese border, there are dedicated bike trails and a lot more people ride. But riding on HK island is really rare. 

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