Riding a bike in Beijing is dangerous. Now that you have been warned, it is also the greatest way to explore, experience and fall in love with the city. And you do not have to be a Tour de France bike buff to enjoy yourself. With the city being as vibrant and the architecture as rich and colourful as it is every bike ride will be different – differently amazing.
Katie Melua thinks that there are nine million bicycles in Beijing
Tour 1 North Beijing
Start somewhere in the vicinity of the Olympic village and head south towards the 2nd ring road. If you see the Drum and Bell Towers on the horizon you are heading in the right direction. If not, you may be going the wrong way or you cannot see far due to the smog. Anyhow, turn right on the northern 2nd ring towards the inner city lakes. Cycle along them to get to Houhai. Turn south towards Jingshan Hill and the Forbidden City. Now you have a choice to make. If you turn left at Jingshan you will get to Wangfujing. If you turn right you will get to Xidan. They are both shopping districts with Xidan featuring more Chinese and Wangfujing more tourists. If you are still up for it you can now do Tour 2.
The old school Forever bike
Tour 2 South Beijing
This tour takes you through the Legation Quarter and is inspired by the happenings in the book “Midnight in Peking” by Paul French. Start off somewhere close to the Beijing main railway station. Cut through the hutongs right east of it and find your way to the south of the station. From there cycle west until you get to the Tongren Hospital. Turn right and explore the hutongs right of the street. Go back and enter the Legation Quarters from the east. Think back 100 years and how the streets must have been teeming with foreigners, foreign architecture and lifestyle. Not to say it was good or bad, but at least it was interesting. Carry on going until you hit Tiananmen Square. From there you can explore the Qianmen and Dazhalan areas.
The landmark Tongren Hospital south of Wangfujing