I never thought of the possibility in coming across a bicycle park, what more in a bustling city like Hong Kong. I was here for a 5D4N leisure trip. Well, as usual, loving the impromptu itinerary just with the foldie wandering around the city. At first sight, Hong Kong city center is seriously not encouraging for bicycle commuting. There are good reasons for it. In the aspect of public transportation, Hong Kong has done it seamlessly via its efficient buses, metros, trams and ferry system. Having bicycle lanes in CBD does not justify the tangible return in the aspect of economics and transportation as bicycle lane will affect high volume traffic such as buses and disturb commercial movements.
Just give a walk in the down town and you can’t possibly imagine a dedicated lane for hundreds of fragile, moving objects when all of them can be fitted into the bus safely. Well, the cycling alliance of Hong Kong did push their idea to the parliament in 2008 but clearly CBD isn’t an option for one of the highest population density on this planet. Eventually pilot outskirt bicycle lanes in places like Shatin is proposed. Even for someone who is pretty much used to the busy traffic and constantly pedaling at ~30kmph, keeping up with raging buses within a limited road shoulder space is quite a struggle actually. Not to mention, don’t even think about cycling on pedestrian walk ways. Nevertheless, the random cycling trip around CBD has brought me to a little surprise location.
As what i have mentioned, it’s rare to see cyclists around, what more public open space for creation and leisure activity. But! It was least expected to see a bicycle park here! Well, it’s the first of a kind for me. Considering spotting commuting cyclist is a rare occasion, what more a bicycle park itself. The online literature search for this park is somewhat rare, hence also a motivation to write about it with some illustrations. Unfortunately it was a wet season in Hong Kong thus the pictures below aren’t really nice due to water ponding images.
Are you getting the same impression as i did? I thought i have just entered a cycling school academy seriously! Indeed, the bicycle park seems to be designed with teaching beginners on cycling 101 in mind. From the directory plan above, you can clearly see a distinctive design of straight lanes, curve corners, round about… and even a bridge to mimic the gradient of slopes. I personally think that it is a well organized, cute park.
Truly the feel of cycling school academy sort of.. smooth surface finishing and boundaries that keeps risk of accidents to minimal.. Not a single pot hole is found here of course. As usual in Hong Kong, demarcated wording on the road is a norm, same to this bicycle park, which clearly spells out slow ahead, or lay by area.
More images below. It is interesting that the within the circular node, you can observe the increased in gradient as you cycle towards. Honestly i am unsure if there is other hidden usage of this, but it will be wise to say the designer has tried to maximize the space of the park to create the diversity of the cycling experience. It is also interesting to note that the steel columns of the elevated cycle way are padded with protection to minimize injuries.
As i have always believed, the beauty of a public space design should be enlighten with the allowance of different perspective view points. This bicycle park managed to do so, simply by having an elevated bridge over the park that gives users a different visual experience of the park. With well tidy arranged wooden planks and safety barrier, beginner cyclist can test their virgin uphill and downhill experience here.
It is also interesting to see the attempt to have the common area node here surrounded by water feature. However, not too sure what are the activity functions of this park like… could it be an annual or quarterly bicycle festival thing? I don’t know.. But it is just mind boggling to see Hong Kong giving such a generous space for a bicycle park really.
And on another vital point, night lighting! A public space suppose to function its purpose during at night as well, given that most working class people will be too busy to bring their spouse or children out for a ride during the day time. I personally adore the elevated cycleway LED lighting that is hidden under the safety barrier. Aside from that, simple flood lights did the job of illuminating the bicycle park sufficiently. It feels like a mini fun fair actually! Though i only spotted one family during the night around 9pm… is everyone too busy to even pick up cycling in Hong Kong? that i wonder.
It’s merely a simple bicycle park i will say, but it means a lot as a whole to see a dedicated bicycle park in such a busy town where public transport is already abundance. Do you think this might work in Malaysia? Well, perhaps for a beginner learning academy yes. But a bicycle leisure park such as Singapore’s East Coast Park will serve the purpose as cyclist gets on the 2 wheels hope to go for sight seeing anyways.
Click the picture below to be directed for more pictures of the bicycle park via my facebook album. Write your thoughts below on your opinions! Do you think this bicycle park served its purpose in encouraging more people to learn how to ride a bicycle?