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Bright Lights & Quiet Streets: Night Biking in Guangzhou

By Jefferson Mendoza , eChinacities.com Comments (1 )     Add your comment Newsletter

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Always reliable as a go-to activity for tourists and locals alike, cycling in Guangzhou becomes a different experience when the sun sets and the colorful night lights illuminate the city. With fewer cars and pedestrians on the city’s arteries, biking at night becomes a leisurely exercise as well as an adventurous one thanks to the city’s scenic landscapes, while the night’s crisp air can make the weary traveler look for more.

Guangzhou provides bike trails either during the day or at night. But certain areas become off limits when a ferry is needed to access the smaller islands since service ends in the evening. Whether you decide to go cycling alone or with friends, there are a couple of things to keep in mind to make sure that you experience of night biking in Guangzhou is memorable.

Just one of the wonderful sights of Guangzhou by night.
Source: Tim Cheung

Gearing up for the night ahead

A water bottle, colorful neon clothing, a helmet and some layers to keep warm are just some of the basics to remember. Spring is the ideal time to go biking in the city, yet the weather at night can change quite dramatically.

Some bikers have mini-handbags attached to their bikes for their wallets and maps. For Guangzhou local Tim Cheung, a lawyer by day, biking at night is his way of distressing from a day filled with pressure. He and his bike friends usually choose weekends to scour the city in a free and relaxing time.

On average, he and his team ride for about two to four hours and even longer if they manage to meet a little earlier. You can often see them cycling along the Pearl River while looking at the city’s landscape from afar. He said that whenever he cycles at night, the city becomes prettier.

Guangzhou was once a biking capital, with the number of bikers high above the national level. But these days, car usage has become the choice of transport to and from work while biking has become more of a social sport.

GZ Cycle is one group of cyclists, bonded together by the idea that biking in a group builds team spirit and camaraderie. On their website, they provide riding techniques and road formation and for male cyclists, they even provide tips on how to urinate while on the bike. Although focused more on day trips, group cycling at night has a different scenery: encountering a couple walking on the road or even noticing a young mother pushing a stroller with her child are not always obvious in the dark as witnessed by Cheung while biking on tour. Your alertness when night biking in Guangzhou tends to be higher than during the day.

Bikes: traditional versus fixed-gear

Biking on the streets, or in some cases on the sidewalks, is a guessing game as motorists and pedestrians are often a little unpredictable. Sometimes you might need to swerve or brake suddenly. Traditional bikes have brakes and functions like freewheeling, which allows the rider to adjust to the steepness of a hill. But these days, fixed-gear bikes have brought the experience onto a different level. It’s basically biking with no brakes where you need to back pedal to stop and has only one gear,  and with their bright and neon color wheels, they also have become somewhat of a social statement.

Mapping out your trip: pit stops and after your trip

Guangzhou has intricate arteries that might be difficult to navigate so it might be better to go with someone who is familiar with the city’s streets.

Cheung suggests one specific trail:
Start at Shamian Park à Head towards People’s Bride à Arrive at Bin Jiang Xi Lu à Along Bin Jiang Xi Lu, head east à Bike on Bin Jian Lu à Head towards Guangzhou Bridge à Along the sidewalk on the west of Guangzhou Bridge North, go on the middle bridge and head down the stairs to reach Er Shao Dao à Pit Stop: enjoy the night, near Guangdong Museum of Art, Xing Hai Conservatory of Music and the Sea Sand Park à Along the Pearl River, head north onto Lake May Street and then north again to Midst à Bike through a large tunnel then turn west à head towards Shah Surface Park for final stop.

Amos Lee, an Anhui native now living in Guangzhou, and is an avid bike enthusiast. He says that university town, an area that comprises of 10 universities – is his favorite spot to go biking. He said that people cycle along the loop line, also known as 绿道 (green path), either for racing or for training.

Aside from wearing helmets, gloves, lights and other equipments, Cheung stresses the importance of obeying traffic rules because visibility is at its lowest. In addition, because Guangzhou’s air quality is bad, it’s best to wear a mask or a thin scarf to help with one’s breathing.

Once completed, Cheung and his team often head to Guangzhou’s Pearl River Wine Bar to cap off an enjoyable night. Now that doesn’t sound too bad.

Cycling in Guangzhou:

OK Bike (Recipient of Best Cycle Award)  View In Map

Where: No. 128 Siheng Redtory E3-A, Guangzhou
地址: 广州员村四橫路128号红专厂E3一A
Website: www.okbike.cn (In Chinese only)
Phone: (20) 37039622
Mobile: Tony 186 2026 8488
QQ: 6354448
Email: 6354448@qq.com

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Keywords: Night Biking in Guangzhou Biking in Guangzhou Biking at Night Guangzhou night activities; cycling in Guangzhou

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1 Comments ( Add your comment )

1
comment|43352|103975
Mark007

Hey the second bike from the left looks like my bike which was stolen in Shanghai (was parked in front of Apple Store on Nanjing Road West). Can you please send me a better pic or if you just want to return it, leave me a message! I won't tell anyone.

Jan 26, 2014 10:36

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