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Mountain biking in HK

In recent years mountain biking has literally exploded onto Hong Kong's adventure scene.Every weekend a thriving local community bedecked in lycra, helmets and protective padding can be seen heading out to the hills

The natural topography of Hong Kong makes an ideal playground for any mountain bike enthusiast. From gnarly rocky descents with a high regret factor. To endless singletracks that snake through and across some of the most rugged landscapes that Hong Kong has to offer.

The most popular off road rides being around Tai Mo San, Tai Lam Country Park, Chi Ma Wan Peninsula, Sai Kung West Country Park, Lamma Island and Shek O.

If throwing yourself down a cliff face at break neck speed is not your thing. Then more sedate rides along water catchments, closed roads (family trails) and coastal pathways can be found at Plover Cove, South Lantau, Tai Po and Tsuen Wan.

To ride any one of the ten legal trails in the Hong Kong country parks you should obtain a permit, downloadable from the Agriculture, fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) website (or here: icon AFCD Mountain Bike Permit Application), here you will also find detailed maps of all the rides and the regulations for riding in the country parks.

Tourists and other visitors without Hong Kong ID cards and/or permanent addresses in Hong Kong are often able to obtain permits. This can be done in 2 ways:

FIRSTLY, they can visit, on a weekday and during working hours, and with one’s passport number, the office location that is on the application form. The Department is usually able to issue the permit on the spot.

SECONDLY, an application can be sent in by fax (not through the post). Visitors should use their passport number where it says "HK ID", state their home address on the application, and for postal address specify either the hotel they are staying in (although it's safest to make sure the hotel will holdsit for you in the meantime), or a friend's address in Hong Kong from where the permit can be picked up.

An AFCD permit is not required if you wish to ride on Lamma Island or Ting Ping Shan, hence those may be better options for tourists/visitors with only a limited time in Hong Kong, or last-minute trips. However, if you live in Hong Kong, please apply for a permit, as this increases the number of mountain bikers in Hong Kong according to the AFCD.

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The more popular trails can get quite crowded especially at the weekends, as they are shared with hikers and some trails have restrictions that are enforced at the weekends. But if you are prepared to run the risk of upsetting officials then there are many killer rides out there.

Another option is to head out to one of the many unofficial trails on Lamma island, the New territories and on Lantau Island. Here unbounded by officialdom bikers have opened up a whole network of trails that will sate any riders thirst. Finding them can be a bit tricky so try to hook up with one of the many local groups who are normally more than happy to show you there secret spots.

As the popularity of the sport grows the need to open more trails is quite evident. The Hong Kong Mountain Bike Association is working closely with AFCD and CEDD to increase the trail networks available to Mountain Bikes.

3 Must rides

Chi Ma Wan: Located on the South side of Lantau island. An initial brutal climb leads to a trail that winds its way along the coastline, dipping in and out of shaded woods with hidden rocks and large steps before making a fast descent to Poi O village. An additional very technical extension is also available for those who are prepared to do a bit of hike-a-biking.

Tai Lam Country park/ downhill: Starting about half way up Hong Kong's highest mountain Tai Mo San a myriad of root infested trails sweep through lush forest and bamboo groves to finally drop you at the Tai Lam Reservoir for a fast section of smooth singletrack ending at the Gold Coast.

Lamma Island: With trail names like ProjectX, Snakes trail and Moonscape this small island offers some of the most technically challenging singletrack in the territory. Steep climbs, technical descents and heinous rock gardens make the riding a real challenge
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