Friday, October 28th, 2016
Mountain-biking Lantau Island...well, more like hiking the mountains on Lantau Island while carrying a mountain bike. The trails are rough: lots of stone steps, unrideable rocks, etcetera... Loads of fun but some serious work, especially in this heat. Not for those looking for a casual ride; suspension and wide tires a must.
I have breakfast at my now-favorite restaurant where they invariably seat me with other random solo diners. Communication amongst us consists of "Zao" (good morning), "Xiexie" (thank you), and passing each other various and sundry items like chopsticks or sugar packets. I load up on eggs, toast, fried pork cutlet, and noodles; knowing my day is going to require some calories. Into the metro at 8am, which unfortunately coincides with the workday commute scrum towards the central business district on Hong Kong Island. We're packed into the train like so many "沙丁鱼" (sardines).
I make my way to Central Pier 6 for the ferry to Mui Wo, Lantau Island. It costs 28 HK dollars (about $3.50 US) for the "fast ferry" 35-minute boat ride across Victoria Harbour. There is an awful lot going on this harbour, some heavy-duty shipping.
At the "Friendly Bike Shop" in Mui Wo I rent a mountain bike for $300 HK ($39 US) for the day. About 5 times more expensive than yesterday's bike but in my limited research I've surmised that a decent bicycle with suspension and disk brakes is needed for this route. Just a couple hundred meters from the bike shop I'm on a rough trail following the cliff next to the ocean. After a half-hour of this I'm completely drenched in sweat and will stay that way until the end of the day.
My plan was to follow the coast south then clockwise around the end of the island, looping back to Mui Wo. The road is blocked at "Shap Long Chung Hau" by a portly policeman who says firemen are cutting down trees up the way. There are a bunch of mainland-Chinese hikers waiting as well, after 10 minutes we collectively give up and head west. Just a few kilometers toward "Pui O" I run into the entrance of the trail where I would have finished had I gone clockwise; I just follow it to do the loop counter-clockwise instead.
To be continued...