Mountain biking in China may not be very popular, but the region’s landscape promises to give an exhilarating experience for any biker interested in exploring. Here are some of the things you should know before you hop on a plane for some mountain biking in China.
1. Type of bike
If you are a serious cyclist, you should choose one of the higher-end bikes. Their rental cost is usually priced at almost twice that of a standard bike or even more. You will also have to pay a substantial deposit upfront. There are cheaper bikes available. However, their low cost can come with issues like poor suspension and faulty gears that can prove to be very dangerous when you are riding full speed on a mountain. The cheapest ones are usually only used for short, fun rides around cities. Make sure to check the bike properly beforehand. Get the chain lubed and have the tires inflated.
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Lightweight clothes are recommended when biking in China. If you are visiting during summer, apply sunscreen on your face, arms, neck, knees, and feet. Wear a hat to cut down on the sunlight directly hitting your face. Eyewear is also recommended. During the rainy season, wear sandals and bike capes. As long as you cycle at a moderate speed, you should remain warm even if the weather is pretty cool. Though helmets are not mandatory in China, you should ideally wear one, especially if you plan on riding through some tough terrain. You may not be able to get a helmet from the bike rental store. So be sure to buy one when you land in China.
3. Essentials to carry
Take a few water bottles with you as you can get dehydrated pretty fast. Pack some extra clothes as well. Telecom and satellite services in remote regions may not be good, which can make your GPS pretty useless. So get a physical map of the area you wish to bike.
4. Popular biking regions
Yunnan province is a very happening place as far as mountain biking is concerned. The region borders Tibet in the north and is blessed with some awe-inspiring geography that will steal your heart. “The best time for riding is between October and April. It can be cold at night, but it’s dry and clear. May and June can be very humid, while July through to September is the rainy season and is best avoided. It also pays to avoid Chinese New Year (February) and Golden Week (October), as it can be very busy,” according to MtBiking. Beijing, Hong Kong, Chengdu, and Xi’an are other popular biking destinations. Some areas of the Great Wall may also be open for biking activities as shown in this video.
You shouldn’t just park your bike in some spot without proper security measures, as theft is a serious concern. If you lose the bike, you will not only have to give up your deposit, you may even be asked to cover the cost of the bike itself. The rental shops will usually provide locks. Don’t forget to secure your bike when parking.