Cycling around West Lake

June 24, 2011, WestLake in Hangzhou was formally added into the “World Heritage List” and it is China’s only legacy of lake cultural heritage. Meanwhile, the WestLake is a free attraction. WestLake carries a lot of stories and legends, and also a lot of dreams, which makes cycling West Lake romantic. Cycling along the Lake is relaxed and casual, all the way feeling the charm of WestLake, breathing the fragrance of nature, also exercising our body.1

For the convenience of tourists, there are many bike rental spots around the Lake. The best season for cycling are spring and fall, when the climate is mild, sunshine is comfortable. Be sure to check the bike brakes and locks before you rent them, or you can just try it to make sure they work well.2

Our ride starts from BeishanRoadBrokenBridge. The bridge is located in the eastern end of the White Causeway, the meeting place for White Lady and Xu Xian in beautiful fairy tale “White Snake tale”. It is said that the bridge had been built in the Tang Dynasty. In 1921 the bridge was rebuilt, 8.8 meters long, 8.6 meters wide. The bridge was rebuilt in 1941 again, and modified in 1950s. There are waterside and pavilion by the bridge.3

Riding over the bridge, here we are on the White Causeway, peaches and willows on sides, lake rippling underneath. White Causeway which formerly known as “white sand dike”, is the link between downtown area and the scenery. Starting from the “BrokenBridge” on the east, through JindaiBridge, ends at “Autumn moon over the Calm lake” scenery, length is about 1 km. During April and May, is the best time to enjoy the beauty of the White Causeway. There is a Lake boat ticket booth on opposite of ZhongshanPark. If you wanna get on board and enjoy on the lake, here is the place.

Only ten minutes ride on the White Causeway, it leads us to “Pinghuqiuyue” (Autumn Moon over the CalmLake), it’s one of Top Ten scenes of West Lake. Standing by the lake water, or climbing up to watch the Moon, this is a better way to feel the ambience and wash up our irritable mood.4

Turn left after XilingBridge, pass by Shangri-La Hotel, then turn another left, and we’ll see Su Causeway. Water flick on both sides by the weeping willow, cherry blossom in between. “Spring Dawn at Su Causeway” is the first of the Top Ten scenes of WestLake. It’s a north-south embankment throughout the WestLake; the total length is nearly three kilometers, at an average wide of 36 meters. Su Shi used to govern Hangzhou, during his administration, he dredged the lake, took mud and turnip to piled the dike. No motor vehicle is allowed on Su Causeway, but electric sightseeing vehicle is fine. There are many cycling tourists too. Riding all the way down along Su Causeway, after six bridges, here comes the Nanshan Road, south of the WestLake. This section of the ride takes about thirty minutes.5

Su Causeway connects to the southern tip of Nanshan Road. JingciTemple lies on the left side of Nanshan Road. The “Bell” as in “Evening Bell ringing at Nanping Hill” is here in JingciTemple. Around 16:00 each day, you can hear the sound of a large mallet strikes pendulum clock, strong, powerful. Once the bell strikes, the taste of the temple fully appears.6

Get back to our riding through a cross road, continue to take Nanshan Road. Bridge railing in front of us is the place that one of the West Lake “three strange” –“Long bridge not long”. Here is the “Butterfly Lovers” birthplace, where the “Eighteen farewell” taken place. “Butterfly Lovers” is considered as China’s Romeo and Juliet.7

Riding along Nanshan Road, pass by “Liulangwenying” (Orioles Singing in the Willow), and here we are, China Academy of Art. China Academy of Art is China’s first comprehensive national higher art institutions, the domestic discipline for Academy of Fine Arts, China’s only national key discipline art school. The only UNESCO recognized qualifications of Chinese art university.8

Hangzhou, people know it mostly from the legend. The WestLake is like a publicity card; perfectly express the charm of the city. Perhaps you won’t appreciate the southern gentle temperament until you personally experienced this hazy beauty.

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