The Sustainable Lantau Blueprint announced last year sets out the future direction of “Development in the North, Conservation for the South”. We will enhance the conservation elements in the predominant part of Lantau, in particular the southern part, and plan to optimise the use of the existing resources for leisure and recreational activities. This time, I have invited the Under Secretary for Development, Mr LIU Chun-san, to take you on a tour of south Lantau. There, the engineers of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) have provided details of the construction of a large-scale mountain bike training ground near Lai Chi Yuen Tsuen and the expansion of mountain bike trail networks in Mui Wo and Chi Ma Wan and shared with us a unique experience of cycling.
One of the largest training grounds in Asia
During weekends, many people like to go cycling with their friends. But are you cyclists interested in cycling on rugged hilly terrains, dirt roads or even gravel paths? Currently, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has set up 15 designated mountain bike trails in country parks for mountain biking activities, three of which are located in south Lantau.
The CEDD is implementing improvement and expansion works for the mountain bike trail networks in south Lantau in phases. Chief Engineer of the Sustainable Lantau Office (SLO), Ms LAU Yiu-yan, Joyce, said that the first phase of the works aims mainly to improve the existing sections from Pui O to Kau Ling Chung and Chi Ma Wan for safer and better riding experience through strengthened control of soil erosion. The works commenced at the end of 2015 and substantially completed in October 2017.
The second phase of the works focuses on the construction of a new mountain bike training ground of about 4.5 hectares near Lai Chi Yuen Tsuen, which will become one of the largest training grounds in the Asian region, and on the expansion of several trails at the Mui Wo and Chi Ma Wan sections to form a circular network. The works commenced in November 2017 for scheduled completion in mid-2019.
Providing trails of different riding difficulties
We found at the site that the construction of the training ground was nearing completion. Engineer of the SLO, Mr PANG Siu-tuen, Walter, said that the training ground provides trails of different riding difficulties for beginner, intermediate and advanced cyclists. Beginners can start with undulating trails, and then progress to a narrow skinny that allows only one bike to go through at a time. Different facilities cater for different levels of riders.
To add more fun to the trails, the training ground was specially built with trails of different technical features, including berms, jumps, rock garden, switchback turns and pump tracks. For that purpose, the CEDD had specially invited an expert rider to help with the design. On the day of the visit, the Singaporean trail specialist of the International Mountain Bicycling Association, Mr H.M. LIM, gave live demonstrations and explained that trails of different challenging levels and features are normally designed to suit the actual site conditions. During construction, the design team had tried a range of options while developing different trails.
Sustainable project design
The Engineer, Mr Walter PANG, said that as the mountain bike trails in south Lantau fall within the country park area, their designs are all in line with the sustainable construction principle. For instance, the alignment has been designed to follow the terrains to avoid tree felling as far as possible so as to retain the original look of the country park; natural materials that are locally available have been used in projects such as the rock garden in the training ground that were laid with rocks collected from construction sites; hand tools or small machines have been used to avoid causing environmental damage, etc. In addition, as the tiny Romer’s tree frogs, a species unique to Hong Kong, were found on the site during construction, the original gathering place for riders was redesigned and relocated somewhere far away from the tree frogs.
Furthermore, our colleagues have considered ways to extend the life cycle of the trails and reduce their need for maintenance. For instance, crossfall has been used as far as possible to drain away the surface runoff, and crushed stones have been placed at suitable locations to improve drainage performance, which will in turn prevent soil erosion and safeguard the users of mountain bike trails.
Promoting healthy living
The training ground is expected to open to the public next year. With its opening, the training ground will not only host training for beginners, but also provide mountain bike trails that meet the international standard for holding competition events, which can help nurture more local bikers and promote the development of mountain biking in Hong Kong.
I would like to extend my gratitude to the design team for their meticulous efforts in designing and implementing the project. I hope that the novice, expert and enthusiastic riders will all make good use of the new training ground and the existing mountain bike trails in south Lantau, and enjoy the fun of mountain biking while taking pleasure in the beautiful, natural scenery of the country park.
2 December, 2018Back