Cycling your way to a low-carbon life in a vibrant city
When the weather gets warmer, it will be time to go out and shed the weight gained during Chinese New Year holiday.
As a cycling lover, I find Shanghai perfect for this low-carbon sport. Since 2016, citywide greenways have grown by an average of 200 kilometers per year. In the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016 to 2020), the city completed construction of 1,093 kilometers of greenways.
By last September, 213 kilometers of greenways had been built, exceeding the target set at the beginning of last year. During the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), 1,000 kilometers of greenways will be built, including 500 kilometers of major paths.
Cycling on greenways is an ideal way to feel the vibes of the city, as one will pass along rivers and through forests teeming with life.
So what inspired me to take up cycling?
As a journalist, I have covered the UCI Women's World Tour on Chongming Island for six years in a row. Held from 2003, the world tour was established to accommodate the fast growth of women's cycling. It attracts more than 100 of the world's best female cyclists every year.
During the six years, I was amazed by the endurance, confidence and team spirit of the cyclists. Also, I was so attracted by the Chongming Island's natural beauty that I decided to ride along the same route as the champions did.
About a quarter of Chongming is covered with trees. Natural wetlands, fresh air and clean waterways have made the island a favorite getaway for those seeking a respite from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Three years ago, I bought myself a versatile road bike that cost me a month's salary. I usually take a ferry with my bike from Baoyang Road Port in Baoshan District to either Nanmen Port or Baozhen Port in Chongming.
There are lots of cycling groups in Shanghai, including the Specialized Riding Group and Trek Group, that organize regular citywide cycling events on weekdays for free. They also help organize rides in the Yangtze River Delta region on weekends. You can go to bike stores and join their WeChat groups.
I also enjoy going with my friends to explore the city. You can sip a cup of coffee at cafes on Jiashan Road after a morning ride or rest in the shade of tall sycamore trees. On some summer nights, nothing is cooler than having a bottle of beer by the side of a street.
I would recommend cycling routes such as those along Longteng Avenue and Miaojiang Road in Xuhui District. As for the Pudong New Area, you can try Century Park, a path from the Expo Culture Park to Qiantan Leisure Park, or a route from Nanmatou Road Wharf to Qichangzhan Wharf. The circle ride on Changxing Island in Chongming is also good.
From the Expo Culture Park to Qiantan Leisure Park, you'll find cycling tracks separated from walking tracks by creeks in mini wetland parks. It's fun to ride with clouds drifting in the sky and trees flanking your greenway. You become part of nature!
From Nanmatou Road Wharf to Qichangzhan Wharf in the Pudong New Area, you can enjoy the view of old and new buildings on both banks of the river and feel the heartbeat of Lujiazui.
"Thanks to the greenways, my wife and I have good places to go cycling and relax from our busy work," said David Shu, a local resident. "It enables us to feel the pulse of the city, as the greenways extend the city's architectural and cultural spaces."