Friday, 3 March 2017

two-way fun

I’ve written previously that the narrow paths you find throughout the New Territories present different challenges on a bike depending on the direction of travel, but there is one such path that illustrates this point particularly well. I’ve incorporated it into my Sunday bike ride, which passes close to the path twice, first when passing from east to west across the northern frontage of Chow Tin (B–B on the map below), then, later, en route to the village of Fung Wong Wu (A–A on the map). The path in question is marked by a line of red dots on the map and is less than 100 metres long. It is reached by a short detour in each case, and I traverse it from south to north on my first go, then from north to south on my second.

The first photograph shows how innocuous is the early part of the path from the north, while the second shows the start from the south. The part of the path that runs alongside the drainage channel is little more than 50cm wide, and if you go off the edge, you’re likely to hurt yourself.

However, there is only one real hazard: the point where the path crosses the drainage channel. This is the approach to that hazard from the south:

It isn’t obvious from the photograph how steep is the descent between the two bends, so the need to take this slowly may not be obvious either, but if your brakes aren’t in good order, you probably won’t make it around the second bend. And you probably won’t stay on your bike either.

Contrast this with the approach from the north:

Here, the thing to guard against is going too slowly rather than too fast, although if you haven’t selected a suitably low gear in advance, all that will happen is that you will stall and have to get off and push. You’re unlikely to fall off.

By now, you may be wondering why I bother with such trivialities. It’s not as if the path is even a short cut, and all this anxiety can be avoided by simply sticking to the road. But where’s the fun in that?


  1. It is the way to have extra fun in cycling!!!!!

  2. Fun and more than a little bit scary. When riding in this area, you better have your wits about you.

    1. Concentration Pat, that’s what you need on this kind of ride. You have to focus.


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