Pedaling though the best of China’s capital is an interesting and insider’s approach to see Beijing. Local middle-class residents own various kinds of cars or scooters overshadowing the bikes which once ruled the roads. But today, bikes are still favored by people who explore on just two wheels for leisure or exercises in their spare time.
As an international traveler, riding through the hutongs and streets in Beijing makes you have a better glimpse of Beijing with more close interaction with the locals – learning more about its urban residents and its culture. If you are planning Beijing bike tour, you may following the top 10 cycling trails in Beijing.
Trail 1: Ride along Beijing Central Axis
Start: Yongdingmen Tower Gate
End: Bell Tower
Distance: 7.8 km
Highlights: Yongdingmen Tower Gate, Temple of Heaven, Qianmen Pedestrian Street, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Jingshan Park, Drum and Bell Towers
Beijing Central Axis was a royal line. The emperors in ancient China believed that they were the center of the world, so all of their palaces should be built on the axis or alongside the center from south to north of Beijing. As the core of old Beijing city, the Central Axis of Beijing also show us the ingenious urban planning in the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, as well as China today.
Start with Yongdingmen Tower Gate, the former entrance gate to the ancient southern outer city of Beijing. Continue north along the imperial axis, go past by the the east entrance to Temple of Agriculture and the west entrance to Temple of Heaven. Cycle along the north-south Qianmen Avenue till the east-west Zhushikou Avenue and you go no further. On your left side is the Immaculate Conception Cathedral (South Church). Then you turn right along the side way of Zhushikou Avenue till you see a flyover. Go across the flyover, down to the east direction. So head east, soon you will spot the southern entrance to Qianmen East Road.
Cycle to the north along Qianmen East Road, soon you will ride along the east side of Tiananmen Square till Chang’an Avenue, turn right and then cycle north cross Chang’an Avenue to Nanchizi Road and Beichizi Road, paralleling the Forbidden City from south to north. Taking the picture of the northeast turret of the Forbidden City and go on with your bike trip going past Jingshan Park along its east road known as Jingshan East Road. Continue north along Dianmen Neidajie and Dinganmen Waidajie till the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower and end of your cycling trip.
Trail 2: Cycle though Beijing’s old North City
Start: Lama Temple
Distance: 5 km
Highlights: Lama Temple, Confucius Temple and Guozijian (Imperial College), Drum and Bell Towers, 800 year old Yandai Byway, Yinding Bridge; typical hutongs in the Shichahai area like Da Jinsi Hutong Tao.
Start with Lama Temple, then cycle west along Chengxian Street flanked by Confucius Temple and Guozijian (Imperial College) on its east side.
Ride along Chengxian Street till you go no further, and you come across the north-south Annei Dajie. You bike south along Annei Dajie till Jiaodao Kou Cross where you turn right (west) along Gulou East Street. Go past Drum Tower and visit Shichahai area ( Hutongs, Yinding Bridge and Yandai Byway and so on.
Trail 3: Pedal Through Beijing’s Old South City
Start: Liulichang Culture Street
End: Temple of Agriculture
Distance: 6 km
Highlights: Liulichang ancient culture street, old hutong areas in the south city, Temple of Heaven and Temple of Agriculture
Pedal with Liulichang Culture Street along the north-south Xinhua Dajie. Then turn northeast at the byway known as Wudao Jie Byway where two byways branch off – Yingtao Byway and Tieshu Byway. You bike along Tieshu Byway which is flanked by old hutong bungalow courtyards.
Cycle along the Tieshu Byway and Dazhalan West Road till you come across the north-south Meishi Jie. Head south along Meishi Jie, you will come across Zhushikou West Street, you turn left ( east ) and cross Zhushikou West Street and continue south along Tianqiao South Avenue. Continue south, go past the west gate to Temple of Heaven and the east gate to Temple of Agriculture. At the Yongdingmen Tower Gate, turn right (west ) and soon you will reach the south gate to Temple of Agriculture and end of your cycling trip.
Trail 4: Bike through Beijing’s Old West City
Start: Fuchengmen at the West Second Ring Road
End: Beihai Park
Distance: 10 km
Highlights: Fuchengmen Bridge – Former Residence of Lu Xun – White Dagoba -The Temple of Ancient Emperors – Guangji Temple – Beihai Park
Start with Fuchengmen Bridge, cycle along Funei Dajie, then turn north along the side way known as Funei Beijie (North Street), you will spot Lu Xun Old Residence, the first writer in China. Then retrace and cycle east along Fuchengmen Neidajie, soon you will see the White Dagoba Temple.
Continue east along Fuchengmen Neidajie, you will come across the south gate to the Temple of Ancient Emperors. Head east, you will spot Guangji Temple. Continue east, you will reach the south gate to Beihai Park and end of your biking trip.
Trail 5: Olympic Green Bike Routes
Start: Bell Tower
End: Olympic Sites ( Bird’s Nest and Water Cube )
Distance: 8 km
Highlights: Bell Tower – Jiugulou Outer Street – Gulou Outer Street – Beichen Road – Olympic Park
Start with Bell Tower and cycle north along Jiu Gulou Dajie. Then bike straight north and enter Gulou Dajie. Cycle along Gulou Dajie till you come across Anhua Bridge. From Anhua Birdge, the road north of Gulou Dajie is called Beichen Road. Continue north along Beichen Road, soon you will spot Beitucheng Roundabout, you still cycle north along Beichen Road. Head north, you will go past Beichen Bridge, then you officially enter the Olympic Sites ( Water Cube, Bird’s Nest and so on.
Trail 6: Chang’an Avenue Cycling Route
Start: Guomao (Dabeiyao)
Highlights: CBD – Silk Market, Beijing Railway Station, Wangfujing Street, Tiannamen Square, Zhongnanhai, Financial Street and Gongzhufen
It is a 14 km cycling routes straight from the east Guomao to the west Gongzhufen, the longest street in China. Actually Chang’an Avenue is much longer than the 24km section. For a big sense, it should be 45 km long starting from Tongzhou to Jingshan.
Chang’an Avenue is a major through route in Beijing running from east to west through the heart of Beijing. But you cannot find the actual name of Chang’an Avenue on maps since it is a general name of 10 roads and streets that encompass the whole Chang’an Avenue including Shijingshan Road, Fuxingmen Outer Street, Fuxingmen Inner Street, West Chang’an Avenue, East Chang’an Avenue, Jianguomen Inner Street, Jianguomen Outer Street, Jianguo Road and Jingtong Expressway. The Subway line 1 runs under the Chang’an Street.
Trail 7 : Cycle along the Side Way of the Second Ring Road (Loop)
Start: Jianguomen Bridge
End: Jianguomen Bridge
Highlights: the first non-traffic city express ring road in China with 29 bridges
Start with Jianguomen Bridge over the second ring road. Bike clockwise along the second ring road and so you first head south, go past the Old Observatory, the Ming Dynasty City Wall Relics Park. Continue south along the city moat. Then ride past the southern second ring road, the west second ring road and the north second ring road, going past parks, historical sites and modern buildings, with a clear picture of the current Beijing.
Trail 8: Top Beijing Markets Cycling Route
Start: Silk Market
End: Beijing Antique City
Highlights: Silk Market, Panjiayuan Flea Market and Beijing Ancient City
Start with Silk Market. There are 1,600 booths in the 5-storey building aimed at targeting the shopping groups including foreign tourists and local white-collar workers. Location: North of Dong Chang An Avenue, Jianguimenwai Street, Chaoyang District.
Cycle east along Chang’an Avenue, then turn south at Guoma Bridge along the side way of the third ring road. Continue south, go past Shuangjing Bridge and Jingsong Bridge. Head south, you will see the third bridge known as Panjiayuan Bridge, where you turn west along Panjiayuan Road, and soon you will spot the north gate to Panjiayuan Flea Market.
Then retrace along Panjiayuan Road to the east, then turn right (again south) along the side way of the third ring road. Soon you will spot Beijing Antique City.
Trail 9: Top Beijing Shopping Malls Bike
Start: The Malls at Oriental Plaza
End: Solana – Beijing Lifestyle Shopping Mall
Distance: 15 km
Highlights: The Malls at Oriental Plaza, COFCO Plaza Shopping Center, Scitech Plaza, The Place, Beijing Yintai Center, Shin Kong Place and Solana – Beijing Lifestyle Shopping Mall
Start with the Malls at Oriental Plaza at the south entry of Wangfujing Street. Cycle east along Chang’an Avenue, before ride under Jianguomen Bridge, you will see COFCO Plaza Shopping Center by the south roadside of Chang’an Avenue. Continue east, you will see Scitech Plaza after going through Jianguomen Bridge.
Head east and turn north along Dongdaqiao Road, you will soon spot The Place. Retrace along Donddaqiao Road to Chang’an Avenue. Continue east, go past Beijing Yintai Center. Cycle east past Gaomao Bridge and head east, soon you will see Shin Kong Place on your left side. Ride north along Xidawang Road and continue north along Jintai Road and Tianshuiyuan Road, till you go no further and you come across Chaoyang Park, just ride along the park on your left and soon you will get to Solana – Beijing Lifestyle Shopping Mall.
Trail 10: Beijing Religious Sites Cycle Route
Start: Beijing Diocese Xuanwumen Catholic Church
End: White Cloud Taoist Temple
Distance: 8 km
Highlights: Beijing Diocese Xuanwumen Catholic Church, Niujie Mosque, Fayuan Buddhist Temple and White Cloud Taoist Temple
Start with Beijing Diocese Xuanwumen Catholic Church, and ride along Xuanwai Dajie. Continue still north across Caishikou and head still north along Caishikou Dajie. Come across the east-west Nanheng Dongjie, you turn right, soon you will see Fayuan Temple.
Continue west along Nanheng Xi Jie, you will soon come across the north-south Niujie Street. Head north, you will spot the west entrance to Niujie Mosque. Continue to ride north along Niujie Street, soon you will see the east-west Guangnei Dajie, turn right (west) and cycle along Guangnei Dajie, till the second ring road. Ride north along the side way of the second ring road. Cycle west under the Tianningsi Bride, soon you will spot Baiyun Taoist Temple.
Tip: Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for Beijing guided tours:
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites
Any questions, just drop a line.