Font Size

Cpanel

2010 Year in Review

better late than never - here is a brief summary of our work from 2010 and quick view of what to expect in 2011

2010 copy

It’s been a very busy twelve months for volunteers at the HKMBA and mountain biking in Hong Kong, we saw the first successful Super-D race, the SF Classic take place, the completion of the HKMBA’s Hong Kong MTB strategy plan and our first ever gold for Hong Kong in cross-country racing at an Asian Games.

HKCA affiliation

At the beginning of the year, the long awaited official affiliation to the Hong Kong Cycling Association (HKCA),  HK’s  governing body for cycling  came through  which meant that we were able to talk directly to government departments in an official capacity. We wasted no time and finalized our research into how to best develop mountain biking in Hong Kong. By early  spring we were in a position to present to Mr Jonathon Mickinley, the secretary for sports at the Homes Affairs Bureau our “Hong Kong Mountain Bike Development Plan”

devplan_cover

[download ]
tms proposal cover [download]

and our Tai Mo San development plan. The first being an overview of the state of mountain biking at the moment and the way forward, the latter, call it a dream if you will, of how we see Tai Mo San as the Whistler of Asia. You can find both these proposals on this website.

South Lantau – only a pipe dream?

pipe newpipes path

The first news about South Lantau  Mountain Bike Trail Network Feasibility study came out in April  when members of HKMBA and other interested parties met with the Civil Engineering/Development Department (CEDD), Scott-Wilson (the contractor) and trail specialists from the USA to discuss the proposal prior to the  public forum.  There was much optimism heading into the meeting as the we a had heard news throughout the preceding months that the trail specialists had combed the hills of  South Lantau looking for sustainable routes and had found  approx. 40km of potential trails, including a DH venue with only a 10 minute shuttle back to the top.

The excitement of potentially having top class, sustainable trails in HK  soon faded  as we learned that the plan would be developed in three stages, with phases two and three only to be realized after proven success of phase one, which is to see the repair of the Chi Ma Wan peninsula trail  - work the AFCD should have been doing all along - and construction of a training ground near |Mui Wo in a formerly disturbed area.

But as December arrived news came in that even phase one could be in jeopardy. Budgetary constraints may limit the initial phase to only the training ground --- effectively killing the MTB network that was envisioned in the Lantau Devopment Concept Plan.  Behind closed doors, departments like the AFCD have effectively thrown road blocks up against any proposal, the latest being a twelve month (four season) step-by-step environmental assessment, something that is rarely done even for the largest of projects. If one was to be cynical you may think that certain government departments are actively trying to thwart the growth of mountain biking within  country parks.

Meanwhile the Water Services department continues to bulldoze and pour concrete at will only a stones throw away…

United we stand

HKMBA weren’t the only mountain biker group active this year - the locally run HKMTB.COM Club was also busy advocating for more trails to be opened. Together we met for discussions with the AFCD and presented a list of over 30 trails that we would like to see opened in Tai Lam CP alone. Disappointingly the AFCD outright  rejected at least ninety-five percent of these trails, citing objections such as “no named trails will be opened to mountain biking” or that “the trail is not suitable”. The remaining  5% that was not rejected were open to further study.  When pushed for clarification on how the AFCD develop their policies governing mountain biking the authorities have said that 'hiking is the most popular activity and for safety reasons named trails are not open for consideration'.

Spurred on by this rebuff the HKMTB and HKMBA have been in talks with the Honourable Albert Chan, hoping that he may champion our cause at the legislative council. Early signs that Mr Chan is willing to help are promising. He says that “Hong Kong people are selfish and do not like to share.” He suggests that the biking community ask for mountain bike specific trails to be built, regardless of cost – money seems no problem - citing safety issues  to avoid concerns like hiker biker conflict.

share1

Hiker-biker conflict and trail advocacy has been a major concern for HKMBA, and contrary to what Chan says, we believe that sharing is the only way forward . For the last two years we have been pushing a “Share the Trails” campaign, something that has been slow to take off with the AFCD simply refusing to discuss the matter. But finally we may have succeeded, through continued pressure, to convince the AFCD of  the need to improve park user education to reduce conflict. We have confirmation that the AFCD are working on a poster similar in theme  to ours.

 

SF Classic

hkmbabikefest2010

October 2010 was also the year that the HKMBA held its first official race. The SF Classic, a Super D race sponsored by SF Express and The Flying Ball Bicycle shop. After a lengthly approval process we managed, thanks to Michael Maddess of Action Asia Events, to get all the relevant permissions. Albeit with some conditions, the race must start at 7.30am and finish before 10am with a maximum of fifty competitors.

Despite these limitations the race was a huge success with Jor Jai making short work of the technically challenging TMS course in a blisteringly pace of 16.42mins to take the overall championship and winners purse of HK$12.000, Hong Kong’s largest purse for a cycling event.

 

What Happened to the Lamma Enduro??

November was supposed to see yet another edition of the Lamma Enduro, HK’s premier XC mountain bike event. Sadly, the Lamma (North) Rural Committee refused permission to hold this race on government land. Why? An elderly village chief from  Pak Kok decided that mountain biking is unsafe  and people should not participate in the activity. Despite all of the other neighbouring village heads supporting and encouraging  mountain biking and calls from the race organizers staff, this village chief is standing pat.

Asian Games Gold

cch in the lead

Jor Jai wasn’t the only one to take gold in October. It was also the time for Hong Kong’s cross-country elite to shine at the Asian Games held in Gaungzhou. Chan Chun Hing took gold in the 45.2km race finishing ahead of the Japanese favourate Kohei Yamamoto in a time of 2 hours 11 minutes and 33 seconds.

So as the year closes to and end things may be looking up for mountain biking in Hong Kong. The success of Hing will hopefully spur on the government to take a more rational view of our sport and how it should be developed and realize what a huge potential Hong Kong has to offer to the world of mountain biking.

 

2011 – Let’s make an impact

But what of 2011, what can we look forward too? Hopefully our plans will motivate the relevant government bodies into rationalizing a biking policy in Hong Kong, something that it sorely lacks. We hope to hold a repeat of the SF Classic (a.k.a, The TMS Classic) and possibly other races throughout the territory so that the sport can grow. AND if that is not enough to prove Hong Kong has what it takes sources have told us that after getting wind of what a great place Hong Kong is to ride, BIKE magazine from the USA is sending out its team to review our trails and biking scene.

AFCD officials  have contracted IMBA’s Trail Solutions team to study the mountain bike trail system in Tai Lam . This will commence mid-January 2011. We all know that Tai Lam is the most important area for MTB in HK and what fantastic  potential this park has. Let’s hope that IMBA can convince the AFCD  to make the necessary changes --- heaven knows - we have tried for over 12 years.

Speaking of growing. We now  have over 2,200 members who have registered in the past 30 months.  We aim to use our website, races, and social rides to bring people  together through their passion for mountain biking. Let us know what you think? We are also looking for people  committed to making change happen as part of the HKMBA team – please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We would like to thank all those who have supported the HKMBA in 2010 and look forward to seeing you on the trails.