kaiping dash

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Day 1

You'll check into the comfortable hotel in Zhuhai, which is only a few minutes walk from the Zhuhai ferry pier. It's also simple to get there from Macau. If flying in from overseas, no problem! Please see the advice below.


Day 2



After an early breakfast, you'll head through the manageable bustle of Zhuhai's sprawl for the first 30km - there are always side roads and pavements in order to avoid the main flow of traffic. You soon move into Guangdong's lesser-discovered hinterland.


You'll pass rice fields with busy workers and small lazy villages which seem to have been forgotten by time. We noticed a kingfisher in one of the small canals, streaking bright blue across the air. There is a tiny and characterful car ferries to take you the short way across the wider rivers of the Pearl River Delta. These afford excellent views, are very convenient and really add spice to the ride! Towards the afternoon, you'll see the first of the famous diaolou watchtowers appear.


You'll skirt the city of Kaiping, heading once more into the counrtyside. The sight of Chikanzhen's uniquely old buildings - the whole city seems an anachronism in this New China -  is very exciting, and lends a highly appropriate majesty to the celebrations on victorious completion!


Elevation:+ 1138 / - 1196 

Don't be alarmed! The scale of the elevation profile above ranges from -129 - 107m - this is a really flat ride. To view a larger size, right click on the image and select "Open Image In New Tab."

Day 3

Waking up in Chikanzhen is an absolute joy. The day is yours to do as you will: a suggestion of ours would be to hire a mountain bike from the guesthouse and head into the countryside once more to more closely tour the clusters of the famous watchtowers from back roads. There are several routes you might choose, and the guesthouse owners will also lead a guided expedition (pay them directly approx RMB100). 


If you are heading back to Hong Kong today, for a charge of US$38, there will be transportation for yourself and your bicycle in the early afternoon to return to Zhuhai port, where you can take a return ferry to either Sheung Wan or Tsim Sha Tsui.


How much does it cost to participate?


Pricing information is available on the >Pricing page. There are extra charges should you want to guarantee your own room, arrange transfers, or hire GPS units.


What is the date for the next edition?


The >Event Calendar page has the dates for all our scheduled rides. Note that you will need to arrive in Zhuhai the day before the ride to allow for the early start (hotel accommodation included) and you will check out on the day AFTER the ride (again, accommodation included).


What is the accommodation like?

The accommodation in Zhuhai will be a comfortable 3/4* hotel (likely to be Downtown Hotel) and the accommodation in Chikanzhen is a comfortable, clean local guesthouse. The amenities are fairly basic but the rooms and bathrooms are clean, with flat screen tv and it is housed in a magnificent old building (pictured) with a stunning view over the canal (pictured above). In Chikanzhen, there are 2, 3, 4-bed rooms. The 2-bed rooms will go on a first come basis and it is not possible to reserve a single room; if travelling alone you will be paired with (an)other rider(s) of the same gender. 


What is the terrain and road condition like?

The terrain is largely flat, and the road condition is generally good. Occasionally there may be the odd stretch of roadworks which may affect the quality of the surface.


Approx the first 30km leads through Zhuhai. We avoid the worst traffic by starting early, and by selection of obscure local roads however depending on how accustomed you are to urban cycling some may find sections of this part3 to be busy. Please note that during this section through Zhuhai, there are bicycle paths, side roads and pavements which allow you to avoid the traffic. We recommend that you make use of these, even if it means that your initial progression will be slower.  


What type of bike should I bring?

We recommend hybrid bikes but road bikes would equally be suitable for this challenge, with strong tyres. A mountain bike would suffice, although you would probably be struggling to keep up. If you need to hire a bike, we can recommend some useful and convenient options.


Where does the challenge start?

The challenge starts at a hotel close to the Zhuhai Ferry terminal and the Gongbei Border area with Macau. There are ferries from Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and even Shenzhen.


How much luggage can I bring?

As usual on Mad Dog Challenges, you can bring one modest-sized bag which should be a backpack. This makes it much easier for you to manoeuvre yourself, your baggage and your bike on ferries and across chackpoints at the start and finish. It's only 2 nights away, you don't need to bring much! 


How do I get to the start?

There are regular ferries from Hong Kong (Sheung Wan, Tsim Sha Tsui, and HK International Airport) to Zhuhai. You can just wheel your bicycle onto these ferries, although there is a HK$65 supplement which you must pay before boarding. The hotel is a short and extremely easy 10 minute stroll from the ferry. If you require a pick up from the ferry there is a RMB300 charge, although this is per vehicle, which you can split. This requires a week's notice. It is recommended to walk.


It is also possible to take your bicycle on the Turbojet ferries to Macau. It's possible fit a bicycle into a large-style Macau taxi to get to the Chinese border. There is no need to box your bike if you are travelling on the a ferry to Zhuhai or a Turbojet ferry to Macau. Please be careful not to take a ferry to the Cotai ferry terminal in Macau. Please note, that it is FAR EASIER to arrive into Zhuhai, if possible.


Please note that if you are arriving from overseas, you can take a ferry to Zhuhai (preferred, last ferry 8pm) or a ferry to Macau direct from Hong Kong Airport (last ferry 9.30pm).


If travelling through Macau, please note that the border with China closes at midnight, therefore if your ferry leaves Hong Kong after 10pm, you will struggle to get there in time. It does not re-open until 7am. 


If you want a van to transport your bicycle around HK, Macau or China please contact us - we will need a week's notice.


What are my options if I want to fly in from Overseas?

1) Landing in Macau airport is the most convenient routing.

2) To Hong Kong there are obviously many options, and the ferry is very convenient (no need to pass HK immigration) although it should be remembered, as above, that the last ferry to the Macau/Zhuhai area leaves at 9.30pm.

3) Guangzhou Airport has many international flights, however this is approx 3 hours away from the start, by coach.

3)  Zhuhai International Airport has services to other parts of China and is convenient. A connecting flight, landing in Zhuhai could be a convenient option.


How do I get back?

You have the option of taking a transfer for you and your bike on Sunday to the Zhuhai Ferry pier for US$38. From here you can take a ferry to Hong Kong. There are also limited spaces to head straight back after finishing your cycling, but this misses out on all the fun! These lifts need to be booked when you register for the challenge.  


On Sunday there is time (if you don't lie in bed all morning) to head out and explore the diaolou watchtowers. You have the option of taking the aforementioned lift in the morning at 11am in order to meet the 3pm ferry to Hong Kong or in the afternoon at 3pm in order to meet the 7pm ferry to Hong Kong. If there is a large group we will be able to offer both times, however for small groups, it will be necessary to take the most popular time. We will advise you of which time the lift will be returning, so that you are able to book your return ferry time.


It's equally possible to travel back to Zhuhai immediately after the challenge, also for US$38. This will use one of the support vehicles, and will therefore require you to wait at the end until the vehicle is no longer required for support purposes. If you are able to leave by 6pm you will be able to make the last ferry from Zhuhai to HK, at 9.30pm however if you leave later than this, you will need to travel through Macau. To get from the Gongbei border to the Macau ferry pier, a bicycle will fit into a larger-style Macau taxi, or it is possible to walk along a footpath (approx 1 hour).


If you're planning to linger a little longer, a vehicle from Chikanzhen to Kaiping can be arranged, from where you can either take a coach to Hong Kong (the bike fits into the luggage compartment, we know by experience.) If you're travelling extremely light, you might be able cycle to Kaiping from Chikanzhen with your backpack on your shoulders - it's only 10km.


Alternatively, we can help you to arrange a cross-border van service which can take you direct from Chikanzhen to your home in Hong Kong. The charge is approx HK$3,600; one van takes three people and three bikes.


If you require other transfer services, we may be able to assist you to arrange this if you contact us at least one week in advance.


Do I need to get a visa in advance for China?

YES, everyone needs a visa for China, unless of course you're a Chinese citizen. These can be easily obtained in Wan Chai.


Do I need insurance?

Yes, although this is a short trip, the usual Mad Dogs terms and conditions apply.


Is this, basically, a one-day Mad Dog Challenge?



Main exclusions - please read carefully

• ALL flights, ferries and transfers (unless otherwise arranged). During the challenge, the boatmen do not typically charge for bicycles or pedestrians but it would be wise to have a couple of RMB to hand, just in case. This is not included. As mentioned above, a convenient transfer from Chikanzhen to Zhuhai Ferry Terminal is available if booked in advance.

• Meals on Day 1 (including breakfast) and on Day 3 is not included. These are the days when you will not be taking part in the Kaiping Dash. In addition, dinner is not included on any day however there will be a group outing to a local restaurant.

• Insurance must be purchased, and you must provide proof of this.

• Mad Dogs provides water and certain refreshments at breakfast, at the checkpoint, and on an ad hoc basis beween these two. At other times, you will need to purchase water if needed from the many shops which line the way. If you're in trouble you can always call on the vehicle.




"Fantastic ride, once out of the city, getting you off the major roads and through picturesque villages. Simple and easy logistics to do this challenge... no planes involved and in less than 48 hours you have a great "I've achieved something" feeling!" Fiona Waters, Hong Kong


"The Kaiping Dash was wonderful!  Such good fun cycling through China.  The support was excellent and took any worry out of the experience.  Definitely recommended." Paul Drew, Hong Kong


"It was a great days' cycling, well organised and chaperoned. I really enjoyed cycling through some great countryside with a very picturesque finish." Anthony Arthur, Hong Kong


"A real adventure! A good balance of orienteering and being directed through a nice mix of town and countryside. Flat and fast!" Annabel Arthur, Hong Kong