Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Unicycling Hockey in Hong Kong

Last Friday night I finally met Martin Turner after weeks of email communication.  He invited me to watch his Unicycling Hockey Team during one of their regular Friday night practices at the King's Park YMCA in Kowloon.  They compete bi-annually with three other countries for the Eastern Hemisphere's Unicycling Hockey Championship.  If I remember correctly, those other countries are Korea, Singapore, and Australia.  Hopefully he'll read this and correct me if I'm wrong.  2011 happens to be the year for the next competition, which happens this late July in Singapore I think.  I did try to ride the unicycle a little bit while I was hanging out, but I didn't get any further on it than holding onto the wall while simply balancing on the pedals.  I couldn't bring myself to try even at least one full revolution of the cranks.  It's going to take a while for me to learn.  I did enjoy watching and learning about the sport though, and as you can see there is quite a lot of skill necessary to compete.  When they were done the team invited me along for their regular after practice meal at an outdoor restaurant on Temple Street.  We shared some good food and Tsing Tao beer (Chinese Budweiser) along with good conversation before heading home for bed.  

Martin also  helps head up the Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, which has been advocating for better bicycling facilities and more recognition of cycling as a viable means of transport.  Due in part to his work and leading example as a commuter over the years, cycling in Hong Kong is gaining respect and consideration.  It is because of this organization that I was able to take my bike on the ferry without any problems.

Good luck to the team in this year's competition, and here's a toast of Tsing Tao to the future of cycling in Hong Kong!

1 comment:

Martin said...

Hi Matteo
It was good to meet you after our long online communication.
To respond to your queries, yes we regularly play unicycle hockey (and other sports) against Korea, Singapore and Australia. At the last regional event the Philippines also put up a team, and at the next one (in Seoul this July) we'll be joined by Japan and New Zealand.

Thanks also for the good words about Hong Kong Cycling Alliance. We are making progress in our efforts to increase cycling's role here, but it's a long slog. But everyone agrees that there is more and more cycling here, so we are very hopeful about the future.