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Cycling in and around Beijing

Cycling in and around Beijing
By Jordan Snyder

TP 201902 beijing 02

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TP 201902 Beijing 01

As the weather in Beijing turns from winter into spring, the warmer weather brings several changes to the scenery within the city鈥檚 parks and green areas. The improvement in the weather also brings out lots of cyclists. There is a breed of cyclists now evident within Beijing, that use cycling as an opportunity for going on bicycling excursions across the city and further afield into the countryside that surrounds the Chinese capital city.

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Bicycle clubs in Beijing

Beijing has a number of bicycle clubs that are suitable for all levels of cyclist. It is a great way of meeting people with a similar interest and a very sociable activity, as well as being a great way to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. One of these cycling clubs is Qibiantianxia, which translates as 鈥淐ycling all over the World.鈥 It began in 2013 by Qian Yuzhu, and from a few cycling friends, it has grown to over 4000 members with cyclists originating not only from China, but from countries worldwide.

 

The winter cold keeps most cyclists off of their bikes, but once the spring weather arrives many club members will, if time allows them, make two or three trips by bicycle either to Beijing鈥檚 downtown areas or out into the city suburbs. For catching sights of the city, you can certainly see much more from two wheels than you can by sitting inside a car.

 

Mountainous areas surround Beijing, and the best places to visit by bike, are to the north and west of the city, outside the sixth ring road. Depending upon your level of fitness and ability, you can take about eight hours on each ride, the bicycle clubs recommend for each ride out of the city and into those mountainous areas.

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Once spring arrives then free events are organized for club members, with early season rides organized to be warm-up events to ease people back into a routine, with easy rides to the Tanzhe Temple in Mentougou district, or a little further afield to Miaofeng Mountain.

The best seasons for cycling in Beijing are during the springtime and autumn. The summer is generally regarded as too hot and humid, with the winter simply too cold with many icy days to make the activity an enjoyable one. Lots of cyclists will be feeling the effects of being confined indoors during the long Beijing winter, and are itching to get themselves back out on their bikes once spring and the warmer weather has arrived.


The changes in the seasons allow for cycling amidst the colors of spring with freshly bloomed flowers once the ice has melted away. The autumn colors of the trees allow for an abundance of color sights, that can only really be seen from the slower moving scenery, as observed from a bicycle.

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The top districts for cycling to in and around Beijing include Mentougou as briefly described earlier, Fangshen, Changping, Yanqing, Miyun, Pinggu and Huairou. Lots of cyclists will take photos en-route, particularly as they complete a challenging climb. Other options can include stopping for a well deserved picnic or even camping out and making your cycle trip more than a one day event.

 

The cycling events are graded for all levels of cyclists, from newbies to seasoned veterans of cycle touring. The day trips range from less than 100 kilometers and may include local scenic spots. For the more seasoned cyclists routes are taking you further afield and may include routes of up to about 300 kilometers.

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Yanqing District
Early season rides include routes through Yanqing, where you can leisurely cycle through the urban parks of this district, and even venture further out to tackle the more challenging mountainous countryside. Many of the early season rides become fully booked quickly after the rides are announced. They are very popular.

 

Baili鈥檚 landscape gallery features rides along paved, tree-lined paths, safely away from any traffic. Another popular route takes cyclists through the Guihe Ecological Corridor. This route of about 70km extends past Yanqing, it goes through Longqing Gorge, and then enters the 7km long Shixia Lane that takes you up to the Great Wall at Badaling. Among the top scenic spots on this route are the National Forest Park and Wild Animal World.

TP 201902 beijing 07Fangshan District
This more difficult ride is more suited to the more hardcore riders, with the Hongjing Road鈥檚 rising gradient over a distance of 20km. It is a popular route for experienced riders with a distance of over 100km from downtown Beijing. It is a route full of tortuous mountain roads and has several hairpin bends to encounter during the steeper sections of the ascent. It is a test of your stamina, whilst being a thrilling experience and a sense of achievement once you have conquered this climb.

 

Climbing Miaofeng Mountain
The 21km climb up the road to the top of this mountain is a route that can be achieved in about an hour by experienced riders. Those hoping to tackle this ride for the first time, and those with less experience, should expect to take about 2 hours to reach the top. There are plenty of challenging routes into the countryside and mountains around Beijing. Many of the weekend rides are arranged for the Saturday every weekend.

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Beijing鈥檚 Olympic Park
On Tuesday evenings the club holds cycling trips around the perimeter of the Olympic Park. This 6.3km circular route is a great way to help cyclists build up their stamina and compete in longer and more challenging rides at the weekends. Thursday night rides include routes from the North Third Ring Road to St. Joseph鈥檚 Church at Wangfujing. Normally, numbers are restricted to about 45 for these rides.

TP 201902 beijing 10Other Popular Routes to Pedal
Great Wall (Jianxiangqiao-Changping-Juyongguan-Badaling-Nankou-Yangfang-Summer Palace)
This route is mostly flat until you reach the section of Badaling to Nankou. Then the scenery changes to one of inclines and these become very steep as you progress towards Juyongguan.

 

Water Route (North Gate of Olympic Center-Lishuiqiao-Xiaotangshan-Silver Mountain-Jiudu River-Huanghuacheng-Sihai town)

On this scenic route cyclists will have the challenge of several smaller hills en-route from Xingshou to Silver Mountain, otherwise known as Yinshan. This is followed by an exciting 6km downhill route to the Jiudu River. The section leading up to Huanghuacheng is a mixture of level gradients with some steeper sections. From here to Sihai is the most difficult part of this route, with a 16km section on steep mountain roads. On reaching Sihai you can view the Silver Mountain Pagoda Forest and the reservoir at Huanghuacheng.

 

Ancient city (Hangtianqiao-Moshikou-Junzhuang-Xiaweidian-Dongfanghong Tunnel-Jinyukou-Zhaitang town-Yanhe ancient city)

Yanhe ancient city is 82km from Hangtianqiao and this is a challenging route for most cyclists with a 7km climb followed by a downhill of similar length after Zhaiteng. The reward for completing this route is the well preserved Ming Dynasty military outpost of Yanhe.

 

Roses in Bloom (Hangtianqiao-Moshikou-Junzhuang-Miaofeng Mountains).

This route is best ridden in the middle of May, when a 15-day temple fair is held in Miaofeng. The Roses are in full bloom by June. To reach your goal you will have to conquer a 21km uphill section along this route.

 

Cycling clubs/organizations in Beijing
Qibiantianxia
Bike Beijing
Serk cycling club
Beijing peloton cycling club
Beijing road cycling club
Big dirty cycling

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