Written by Queenie Lei, a fourth year Communications student with an intended minor in International Studies. She is fascinated with international affairs and is always trying to discover more about herself.
Now that we are transitioning from spring season into summer season, cycling is a popular summer activity as it allows for self-exploration and self-guided tours around downtown Vancouver! In addition to being eco-friendly, cycling generates social capital as it can allow me to de-clutter and de-stress myself as I spend time with friends and myself while I actively interacting with my surroundings.
As a kid, I was able to cycle with training wheels but I never learned how to bike without them. This summer, I my goal is to master biking without training wheels and ride along scenic areas such as Stanley Park seawall and Deer Lake. Since I really enjoy the landscape and skyline surrounding Downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park, I am looking forward to exploring the views from a bike!
When I was in Hong Kong for my academic exchange, I noticed that biking was not a popular activity among the locals and that they relied mostly on public transportation. Although both Vancouver and Hong Kong have parking fees and insurance fees, owning a car in Hong Kong is a lot more expensive than Vancouver because you also need to pay additional annual fees for maintenance and registration. According to the diagram provided by MoneyHero, it describes how a typical car owner in Hong Kong needs to pay $27,560 CAD (equivalent to 167,356 HKD) in addition to the purchase of a car. Hence, many local Hong Kongers prefer to take transit, as it is relatively cheap and affordable. Depending on the type of public transit, the fee for an adult can range from $4-$8. However, if you have a student or a senior Octopus card, you get to pay $1-$2 HKD for MTR. On a monthly basis, I paid roughly $100-$200 for my own transit. I do not feel that the fees in Hong Kong are expensive. However, if we are comparing it to what I am currently paying in Canada, the Upass it a much better deal (approximately $40/month). I also feel that the bus system in Vancouver is more efficient than the buses in Hong Kong as there is a longer waiting time for the buses.
I find that biking in Hong Kong can be dangerous, as vehicles are not required to yield to pedestrians and the Government of Hong Kong imposes certain safety measures such as the banning of cycling on expressways and other locations. You are only allowed to bike in areas where there are cycle-ways present; a majority of the roads in Hong Kong are one-way and unfit for safe cycling.
Overall, I think that while cycling on a daily basis may not be popular, recreational cycling in designated areas of Hong Kong during the summer would be amazing due to the splendid views of the mountains! Personally, I would not want to bike outside of recreational areas because it seems dangerous, especially since I haven’t really biked without training wheels before.
In Vancouver, on the other hand, cycling in designated areas and cycling on a daily basis are both popular activities for several reasons. The city has created bike lanes on major roads and in the downtown area, which makes exploring downtown Vancouver easier and safer. I also find that there is a general Vancouverite mindset to be eco-friendly and reduce our carbon footprint whereas in Hong Kong, people seem to be indifferent to environmental sustainability in their everyday lives. I’m really looking forward to biking through Vancouver this summer and I hope you are too!
Image from http://www.bccc.bc.ca
Happy biking from Embark! :D