Lonely Planet Writer

China's incredible eight-kilometre 'bike lane in the sky' opens in Xiamen

This incredible bicycle bridge could become the two-wheeled equivalent to New York’s famous High Line park. The eight-kilometre cycling path snakes dramatically above the urban landscape of the Chinese island city of Xiamen. Suspended five metres above the road, it has officially just become the world’s longest elevated bike skyway.

View of China's first elevated bicycle track constructed above the ground in Xiamen city, southeast China's Fujian province, 24 January 2017.
View of China’s first elevated bicycle track constructed above the ground in Xiamen city, southeast China’s Fujian province, 24 January 2017. Image by imaginechina

The Danish architecture firm Dissing + Weitling that built it explained how the world’s pedal power revolution had reached China. They said: “Bicycles are returning in popularity among China’s urbanites, mostly due to the omnipresent traffic jams, although many are also appreciative of [their] health and environmental benefits.

Cyclists ride on China's first elevated bicycle track constructed above the ground in Xiamen city, southeast China's Fujian province, 23 January 2017.
Cyclists ride on China’s first elevated bicycle track constructed above the ground in Xiamen city, southeast China’s Fujian province, 23 January 2017.

“China’s first ‘bike lane in the sky’ covers Xiamen’s five major residential areas and three business centres. It provides the city’s commuters with easy access to public transportation … shopping malls and public buildings along the 7.6-kilometre route.”

add to cart download Cyclists ride on China's first elevated bicycle track constructed above the ground in Xiamen city, southeast China's Fujian province, 23 January 2017.
add to cart download
Cyclists ride on China’s first elevated bicycle track constructed above the ground in Xiamen city, southeast China’s Fujian province, 23 January 2017. Image by imaginechina

Dissing + Weitling were also behind Copenhagen’s famous Bicycle Snake which wriggles its way across the city’s harbour. That bridge set a new standard for keeping pedestrians, cars, and cyclists happily separated and has started a trend among bicycle-friendly cities around the world.

The new elevated path in Xiamen is the most ambitious project yet, 4.8 metres across – and easily wide enough to let several bikes travel side by side. The island city may not be that well-known outside of China but has long been incredibly popular for local travellers.

Up until now, it has been best-known for its South Putuo Buddhist Temple and the island of Gulang Yu, famous for its colonial architecture, beaches, and winding lanes. With its new skypath however, it can add another attraction to that list.

For a virtual tour of the cycling bridge, this video from architecture website Dezeen gives you a bird’s eye view of the path.

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