Whilst bicycle culture may be slowly disappearing from larger Chinese cities, such as Shanghai, travelers in the picturesque city of Hangzhou are having the ride of their lives.
Here are three scenic, peaceful routes to set you in motion.
1. Broken Bridge and Su Causeway (断桥与苏堤)
Starting Point: Bike station at the entrance of Children’s Palace (the intersection of Huancheng West Road and Beishan Road)
Ending Point: Bike station at the south entrance of Su Causeway on Nanshan Road
Distance: 5.4 Kilometers
Setting off on Hangzhou's iconic, lake-traversing causeway, this route takes you across the famed Broken Bridge and onto the Solitary Hill where you can visit numerous museums, nature trails and the renowned Lou Wai Lou restaurant, which specializes in mouth-watering Hangzhou cuisine.
Next, ride towards the much longer and more serene Su Causeway which, flanked entirely with trees and a stone arch bridge or two, runs across the length of the West Lake.
Don't forget your phone or your camera as this area offers a multitude of photo opportunities.
2. Hidden West Lake (神秘西湖)
Starting Point: Bike station at the west entrance of “Viewing Fish at Flower Pond”
Ending Point: Bike station at the intersection of Huanglong Road (黄龙路) and Shuguang Road (曙光路)
Distance: 9.7 Kilometers
From the southern end of Yanggong Causeway you could easily cycle straight up this winding causeway enjoying plenty of idyllic lakeside scenery.
However to truly capture the mystic appeal of the West Lake's quietest and most forested corners then head west off the main road and get lost in and amongst hidden paths, imperial tombs and temples and manicured gardens fit for empresses.
After emerging back into civilization at Yanggong Causeway's northern end continue north onto Shuguang Road, taking note of the many cafés, bars and top-notch restaurants that you would like to sample later.
Find the bike station near Huanglong Sports Center and head back on foot to explore the wide range of Thai, French, Spanish, Mexican and Jiangnan flavors that are oozing from the many restaurants on Baishaquan Alley.
3. Temple of Soul's Retreat (灵隐寺)
Starting Point: Bike station of “Breeze-ruffled Lotus at Quyuan Garden” near the corner of Beishan Road and Yanggong Causeway
Ending Point: Bike station of Temple of Soul's Retreat (Lingyin Temple)
Distance: 3.6 Kilometers
From the West Lake's northwest corner ride west down Lingyin Road and towards Lingyin Temple, one of Hangzhou's (and China's) largest Buddhist temples, but not before taking a detour to the spectacular Hangzhou Botanical Garden.
Continuing west along Lingyin Road provides a minor uphill challenge but the effort is a small price to pay for reaching what is arguably the most beautiful and well-maintained Buddhist temple in China, famed for its impressive 20-meter, gold-plated Shakyamuni Buddha and five hundred statues of arhats featuring different expressions and postures.