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The Hong Kong Cycling Association (HKCA) provides year-round courses.

The All Future Cyclists’ Race is held every weekend at Yuen Wo Road playground.

The association provides bicycles and helmets for this course, which covers the very basics. There are five races each year.

There is also a useful Cycling Proficiency Scheme course at Tai Wai every weekend. There is no age restriction.

On Saturday, the course is from 2 pm to 6 pm, and on Sunday it is between 9 am and 12 pm.

Cyclists are taught ‘egg-shape’ turning and given a basic introduction to the construction of bicycles.

Enthusiasts are also taught how to choose a bike when they rent one, basic control while they are riding, V-shape turning and how to use gears – a frequently misunderstood aspect of the sport.

‘Many people go through this elementary course during the summer, before October. This is a useful course for cyclists who haven’t yet grasped the basics of cycling,’ said Walter Yue.

‘Upon completion of this course, they can go on to the intermediate course where road riding basics are taught – like how to read simple road signs.’ Students who want to take the pastime a step further can go on courses for track and road racers.

For those who want to take up track racing, their is an elementary course at the Hong Kong Sports Institute’s cycling ‘velodrome’.

The course is held three times a week, from 7 pm to 9 pm.

Cyclists are expected to take examinations. If they pass the course, they can take part in the Youth Cycling Scheme which is every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The venues are the institute’s velodrome at Bridepool’s Road or Pak Tam Chung in Sai Kung.

If track or road cycling do not appeal, bike enthusiasts can take courses in cycle-ball and artistic cycling.

Cycle-ball courses are at the South China Athletic Association in Causeway Bay, and are open to enthusiasts over 15 years old. Artistic cycling is open to anyone aged over seven. Cyclists meet for basic instruction at Causeway Bay every Saturday from 4-6 pm and Sunday from 9-11 am.

Artistic cycling courses are taken by Semuel Shing, an international official, while cycle ball – a combination of cycling and football – is taught by Nelson Chan. Road racing is taught by Hong Kong’s national coach Shen Jinkang.

Mountain biking is the latest craze, but there are as yet no courses.

‘One of the biggest problems we face is that there is lack of space for this sport. We currently have two venues for mounting biking – in Shui Mei Chuen and Wang Chau Industrial Estate,’ Yue said.

For more information, call the HKCA on 2573 3861 or fax 2834 3715.

 

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Amateur mountain biker Sin Tak-chiu, 32, is hoping to represent Hong Kong in next month’s Asian Mountain Bike Championships in Taiwan.

Mr Sin started cycling 16 years ago and switched to mountain biking almost eight years ago.

A member of the Hong Kong Cycling Association, he takes part in almost every local mountain cycling competition and has competed in Japan, Taiwan and the Netherlands.

But he says he has been forced to cut his training lately as the Government is cracking down on cyclists in country parks.

Mr Sin lives with his parents in Sheung Shui.

What’s on your mind? I’m hoping the Government will let us cycle in the country parks. More than 90 per cent of Hong Kong’s mountain roads are in country parks, so it’s hard to find anywhere else to train.

How do you train? I don’t have a coach because I’ve got more than 10 years’ experience riding BMX bicycles, so it’s not difficult for me to handle mountain cycling myself. Usually, I spend about six hours a week training with my friends. We ride from Repulse Bay to Shek O just for fitness training.

We now seldom go to the country parks as the increasing number of prosecutions has really scared us off.

Any tips for beginners? The first thing is to fit yourself out with safety equipment like helmets and pads. And it’s better to go cycling with experienced cyclists when you’re learning. It’s dangerous if there’s an accident on the mountain and no one’s around to help. A new mountain bike costs anything from $3,000 to more than $30,000, but learners don’t need to buy expensive ones.

What’s your goal for future competitions? I’m looking forward to getting a better result in the local competition two weeks away. Five bikers will be selected to enter the Asian Championship after the race. I’m hoping I’ll be one of them. I also want to introduce cycling to more people, because it’s safe and inexpensive. The exercise helps people lose weight. Mountain biking is even more enjoyable; you travel to the country and take pleasure in the environment.

 

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