Alex's Blog

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Around Hong Kong

I'm really pleased to have a co-worker that likes cycling as much as me.  Not only that most of his plans seem to be too ambitious for his friends, so Bob and I became cycling buddies quickly.

We rode around Hong Kong Island and the new territories a couple weeks ago.  Bob and I met at a bridge that connects Shekou to Hong Kong.  You can't bike across the bridge, so we took a bus.  Bob and I both have folding bikes which allowed us to easily go through customs and get on the bus.  From there we went to a state park that protected a large marsh that many migratory birds pass through each year.  It was a pretty nice park, although any  direction one looked there was  reminder that it was in the middle of a large city.

I spotted a marsh hawk when we were in a blind and thought of Mari's Audobon print of the bird.  I didn't get a picture of it, but I did catch a picture of a fish nibbling on a lily pad.

And a mudskipper doing it's thing.

We had lunch soon there-after.  Between us there were three types of bread and little else.  We should have discussed who would bring what.

From there we found a good bicycle trail that followed the coast line.  It was quite busy, but very nice.

We spent the night in Kowloon (Hong Kong territory in mainland China), here's Bob trying to find us a room.


The next morning we took the ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong island.

Bob wanted to head to the south side of Hong Kong and I realized I wouldn't make it home in time to catch my Chinese lesson, so we parted ways.  I spent a little time downtown, then caught the ferry back to Shekou.  Bob told me he got home around midnight.  I was glad I cut things short.  Here's a standard Hong Kong market photo.

This is my folding bike waiting with me for the ferry.  At this point I'm a huge fan of my folding bike.  It doesn't fold very small, but that hasn't been a problem.  It handles quite well, but I think I'd try a different front end geometry if I built another.  I'm glad I managed to complete it before I moved out here.

Shenzhen introductory bike trip

The trip consisted of crossing Shenzhen to the east coast of China.  This ride was taken shortly after I arrived in China and was a good introduction to the city because we crossed the entire length it.

I went on this ride with three of my co-workers.  Toni, Li Pei, and Bob.  We don't live in the same area and I was relatively new to the city, so we had to meet at a landmark I could recognize.

The building with a horse and a guy with a trident sticking out the sides worked well.  From there we rode on the freeway for a while.  Although this still feels wrong to me, it's common place here and traffic doesn't move nearly as fast in Shenzhen as it does in the US.

We knew we were halfway across the city when we saw the garish gold building.

Outside of the city are small mountains.  The roads got pretty steep, maybe 7% grades.  This was managable on my 68 gear inch fixed gear, but I missed gears and coasting by the end of the day.

One of the stranger attractions that I'm aware of in Shenzhen is the tourable aircraft carrier.  It's an old Soviet Minsk.  We didn't tour it because it costs about 250RMB (40USD) and is rumored to be disappointing.

We got to our destination and had some tasty seafood.

Then we went to the beach.  I didn't swim because we we're riding home that evening and had about 80km ahead of us yet.  Also, the swimming areas were very busy.

One photo of the trip home.  Shipping containers are a common sight here.

Local pictures.

After many requests, here's some photos of my neighborhood.

 From the balcony of my first apartment.  This building is on the southern edge of Shekou is a peninsula on the southern edge of Shenzhen.  I never got a clear photo, but reckon one could see downtown on a clear day.  The mountain on the left of the photo is Nanshan park, there are small stone walkways all over the mountain.

 This is my current apartment complex.  There are about 15 identical high rises all in a row.  I spent quite a bit of time looking for apartments and this was the nicest I found, but I'm not particularly fond of the complex.  Many westerners live here which I found appealing.

This is a view from Nanshan mountain of the area I live in.  My former and current apartments can be seen in this photo.  The water in the background is the Pearl River Delta, the land beyond the water is Hong Kong.  A one hour ferry ride gets me from Shekou to Hong Kong.

Shenzhen has a bike share program.  I've never used it, but see people using these bikes quite often.  It took me a while to gain the confidence to bike in Shenzhen.  Traffic works differently here and despite the fact that many people bike for transport in the city there are very few indications that roads are planned to accomodate cyclists.

 Can you find my bike among the others?  Bike parking lots are commonplace.  You can find them by keeping your ears open for the sound of many tiny car alarms going off all at once.  That's right, alarm systems have made it to bicycles here, some alarms are built into the bikes, some are built into bike locks.  It makes maneuvering your bike among the parked bikes much like a game of operation, one mistep and an alarm is sounded.

This is Ajisen Noodles.  It's a Japanese chain resturant that serves fancy ramen noodles and sushi among other things.  I'm a fan.  Apparently they have locations in LA, NewYork, and Boston as well.