After months of the monotonous, traffic-filled bike lanes of Shanghai, it felt like it was time to finally get out and try to explore somewhere new. With just one day free, options are limited, but we found the perfect day trip, and it was shockingly hassle-free. You don’t even have to wake up that early.
We ended up making our way to Hangzhou for a perfect day of biking around tea terraces, with our own bikes for a total of about 100km (60km in Hangzhou, 20 km each way to Hongqiao). How? Simply bring your bike on the train.
Here are the basics:
-Bringing bicycles on the high-speed train network in China was absolutely no problem. You can pass through security checks wheeling the bike in (no disassembly required), no extra tickets or fees need to be paid, and no one yelled at us even once. I think this is generalizable for all high-speed trains, but please note so far I have only tried the Shanghai to Hangzhou and back trains. I DO NOT know yet the logistics of bringing bikes on the non-high speed trains.
-From the city center to the Hongqiao Station is already a bit of a trek. Plan on about 15-20km from “central” Puxi, and longer from Pudong. We’ve had success convincing Expo taxi drivers to put our bikes in the back, but it’s tricky. You can’t bring bikes on the subway.
-Make your way to the East entrance of the Hongqiao station (红桥火车站) at the ground level, between the airport and train station. This took us several attempts as most people arrive on the elevated highway or subway, so it’s a bit tricky for bikes. The east entrance can be found on Shenlan Lu.
-Take the elevator up from the entrance at ground level on Shenlan Lu, pass through security and make your way to buy tickets (you must go through security on the upper level first to get tickets). At least for your first trip, I wouldn’t recommend buying tickets in advance, because you don’t know how long it will take you to get to the station, and again, it is a bit tricky to find your way into the building at fist. Trains to Hangzhou leave every hour, so even on the weekends you won’t wait long (excluding Chinese holidays of course).
A world of day trips has now opened up to you, as there are more than a handfull of stops that are less than 2 hours (probably the max you want to train each way on a day trip). Here’s the whole map of future and planned rail lines, via Wikipedia.
We’ll cover where to bike in Hangzhou in subsequent posts. Stay tuned!