Monday, 6 March 2017

room for further improvement

When I posted Room for Improvement back in January, I did so in the belief that there wasn’t anything else I could add to the long and winding road, a bike ride that is more a test of handling skills than of stamina. I was almost right, because the mountains to the south and west, Fanling golf course to the north, and Fan Kam Road to the east—a road onto which no sane cyclist should ever venture—effectively constrain one’s options. I did overlook one obvious area for further investigation though (see below).

However, before describing the new section, here are some additional details about the most exciting part of the entire ride: the spiral ramp! The first photograph is a view of the ramp from below. This image does provide some idea of the steepness, but the climb doesn’t look too difficult:

Contrast that with the next two photographs, which show Paula on the upper section of the ramp. Notice how much narrower it is than the lower section, which means that you need to be able to hold your line and not wobble about.

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I’ve reproduced the following photo from Room for Improvement, where I’d used it to indicate the Drainage Services Department (DSD) access path on the right (between the two fences), which leads eventually to the spiral ramp. It was taken from a bridge across the channel.

But notice that there’s another DSD access path on the opposite bank of this drainage channel. Naturally, I had to check it out:

Crossing the bridge leads to a junction with the original route, but there is an option to turn left:

Nothing too difficult so far, but it does look rather ominous around the corner:

But if you’ve made sure you’re in a suitably low gear, this short bank is much easier than the spiral ramp:

This alleyway emerges onto a narrow lane that I’d explored previously without noticing a potential exit. I’d continued along this lane until I reached a dead end, and I assumed therefore that it led nowhere.

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I now believe that there is nothing more to be discovered within the constraints outlined above, but what would happen if I were to step outside those constraints?, I’m referring specifically to the track through the village of Lin Tong Mei that I described in Room for Improvement. It joins another road shortly before that road reaches Fan Kam Road (see above). I may have described this busy road as ‘a road onto which no sane cyclist should ever venture’, but I didn’t rule out crossing it, and opposite the junction just mentioned, there is another road. I wondered where it might lead.

There is some traffic on this road, but there are too many twists and turns for it to move at anything like a dangerous speed, and, as it turns out, it’s a dead end anyway, so there is no through traffic. There are two junctions where I had a choice to make:

In both cases, I took the right-hand option, for no better reason than that I wanted to preserve my height if possible. However, I came eventually to a dead end and was forced to backtrack, so I turned down the other road at the second junction above. Where that came to an end, I found the start of a narrow path:

To my surprise (and delight), it led without difficulty to the village of Ping Kong, on the outskirts of the urban area. The first picture provides an indication of what I enjoy most about exploring new paths:

Before you reach the point from where this photograph was taken, the left-hand option appears to be the only one available, because it’s straight on, but when you do reach this point, you either have to make an instant decision, or stop. And the instant decision is to take the right-hand path. Can you see why?

Everything else on this main path through the area is straightforward:

The original long and winding road was an out-and-back excursion, meaning that it was necessary to go back home the way I’d come (with just a few minor variations), but the discovery of this path means that I now have a circuit to follow. However, there’s more. Apart from the ‘red herring’ junction pictured above, I’ve deliberately omitted from the above selection those photos that show paths leading off to one side or another. You can be sure that I’ve checked them all out, and I’ve even compiled them into an independent ride, which I’ve christened ‘ping kong ping pong’.


  1. I really like going on these bike riding adventures with you. Very interesting bike paths when compared to most I've seen.

    1. They’re not really bike paths Pat. They’re really footpaths, which I happen to enjoy following on a bike. I’m delighted to hear that you can sense the adventure involved.


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