- Start point: Modern House
- End point: New York Style Pizza
- Estimated time to complete: 3-4 hours
- Estimated distance covered: 15km
- Recommended ages: 12 and up
- Recommended time to go: Weekends, especially mornings
Despite the lavish villa compounds and well-manicured school grounds, the border of Chaoyang District and Shunyi District still has relatively untouched stretches of countryside. Some of the buildings are abandoned while others await destruction. The roads around this area are paved and good enough to ride on; some are wide enough for bike lanes while others require a little jostling for space with cars.
The route from Modern House next to the Crowne Plaza Airport Beijing to Hegezhuang and back stops at Pinotage Plaza, Equuleus International Riding Club, Art Base-1, The Orchard and Green T. House Living, the Scitech Mall for some window shopping, Houweigou, and New York Style Pizza. If you get tired at any point of the journey, you can always turn back.
It’s a good idea to pack a first aid kit, water, sun block, a basic bike repair kit, and sufficient cash. If you want to go to Equuleus, find out if the stables will be open to visitors at your estimated arrival time.
Starting off at villa compound Modern House (also known as Rainbow Garden), cycle west on Tianbei Lu (天北路) until you reach the intersection of Jingmi Lu (京密路). Cross the street and turn left. There is a designated bike lane on Jingmi Lu, but remain alert as some cars don’t keep to their lane.
You will pass a set of traffic lights, then a bridge while on Jingmi Lu. There will be a paved road immediately after the bridge on your right. Don’t turn here, but after the second set of traffic lights. When you see Beidong Flower Market on your right, turn right on Shunhuang Lu (顺黄路).
About 300m on the left, you’ll find Dalishi Oil Station. Before going too far, it’s a good idea to check your tire pressure. The meter read 100psi for my city bike, which was OK since most roads are paved. About 100m from the station on the right side of Shunhuang Lu, you’ll see Pinotage Plaza. This is a good place to go to the bathroom, as there will be no other stops until you reach Hegezhuang.
On the right side of the road, you’ll pass Cathay Courtyard, a conference center and a nice spot to take photos. On the left, there’s construction going on so beware of the trucks on the road. When you get to a Y-intersection, turn left on Xigou Lu (西沟路). This is a narrow road with loads of construction on the weekdays, but less on the weekends. There’s a section full of flora to the right, but it’s mostly marshland and not suitable for a picnic.
Cycle around 1.5km on Xigou Lu; you’ll reach a T-intersection. Turn right on to Shunbai Lu. This is the road that will take you all the way to Hegezhuang.
Equuleus is on the right of Shunbai Lu across from the Maquanying town gate, which will be on your left. You’ll recognize it by the sign saying “horse passing” about 50m before. If this isn’t of interest, cycle onwards until you reach the intersection of Maquanying Xilu (马泉营西路) and Shunbai Lu.
The Orchard will be the first restaurant on your left, about 700m past the intersection. Though the favorite of many families, it’s not the only dining option. Around 200m from The Orchard’s main gate, you’ll find a new three-story building that houses Summer Lotus Japanese restaurant and Aux Delices coffee shop. On the third floor, there’s an art gallery; if you’re in the mood to shop for RMB 40,000 pieces of art then you’re in the right place.
If none of these restaurants strike your fancy, cycle 1km west to the Art Base-1 intersection and turn right. Cycle until you see the sign for Green T. House Living and 318 Art Houses. Continue on the narrow, paved road until you reach a gravel road. You’ll find the entrance to Green T. House Living here.
At Art Base-1, you can view an art exhibition at Found Museum near Green T. House Living. The other option is Red Brick Contemporary Museum just opposite The Orchard. Both are open from Tuesday to Sunday. You can pick up some pastries at Helen Sun, which is on the same lane as the Red Brick Museum.
Cycle west towards Maquanying Xilu to reach Beijing Scitech Premium Outlet Mall, which will be on your left. Lock up at one of the numerous bike stands and head to the shops. Though most of them sell designer clothes from brands like Ralph Lauren and Coach, you can also find a decent selection of outdoor and sports brands like North Face, Nike, and Adidas. You can also stop for some food or a coffee at Starbucks. This is also a good time to use the restroom.
Afterwards, head east from the bus stop in the mall on Maquanying Xilu, cycle to the intersection, and turn right on Shunbai Lu if you wish to go back using the same route.
For an alternative path, cycle towards Xiangjiang Beilu (香江北路) using the side entrance of the Scitech Mall. You’ll pass the Beijing Riviera compound on your left. In about 500m, there’s a service road that will lead you to Shunbai Lu.
You’ll soon see Cathy View Plaza. Pick up water and refreshments from DD’s Market or pastries from Le Baker if you didn’t get any at Helen Sun.
After stocking up on refreshments, head east on Xiangjiang Zhonglu (香江中路) until you see Grand Hills. Go through the tunnel next to the compound. Turn left at the end of the tunnel on Kangying Nanlu (康营南路). On the left side of the road, you’ll see numerous high-rise buildings and an open-air market. Continue cycling until you reach the intersection of Kangying Donglu (康营东路) and turn right.
After 300m, you’ll see a gas station on the right called Houweigou. There’s a roundabout with three exits; take the Dongwei Lu (东苇路)
exit, go through the underpass tunnel, and turn left at the intersection to get on to Capital Airport Expressway service road. Head east towards the airport.
After 200m, dismount and head down a slight hill to a picnic site in the Houweigou area. This spot is popular for wedding photos. After relaxing here, continue cycling east by getting on the cobbled path by the road.
After you pass a bridge, turn east on to Baisi Lu (白泗路). After 400m, you’ll get to a Y-intersection near Dulwich College Beijing (DCB); turn left on Yuyang Lu (榆阳路).
Pass DCB, Merlin Champagne Villas, and Chateau Regalia Golf Club until you reach a T-intersection. Turn right on Huayuan Sijie (花园四街). Cycle east until you get to Wenyu Plaza to grab dinner at New York Style Pizza. Congratulations! You’ve just explored Shunyi.
Mon-Fri 11.30am-2pm and 5.30-9pm, Sat-Sun 11am-10pm. Inside Chuangyi Yuan, 3A Shunhuang Lu Sunhe Township, Shunyi District (8459 5868) 顺义区孙河顺黄路甲3号创意园内近北东花卉市
Beijing Equuleus International Riding Club 天星调良国际马术俱乐部
Tue-Sun 8am-noon and 2-6pm. 91 Shunbai Lu, Sunhe Town (north of and parallel to Xiang Jiang Beilu), Chaoyang District (6432 4947) 朝阳区孙河镇顺白路91号香江北路北
The Orchard 果园西餐厅
Tue-Sun noon-2.30pm (lunch), 6-9pm (dinner). Hegezhuang Village, Cuigezhuang Town, Chaoyang District (6433 6270) 朝阳区崔各庄乡何各庄村
Art Base 1 一号地国际艺术区
Daily 10am-7pm. Hegezhuang Village, Cuigezhuang Town, Chaoyang District (6433 6920) 顺义区崔各庄镇和各庄村
Green T. House Living 紫云轩茶事
Daily 11.30am-11.30pm. 318 Hegezhuang Village, Cuigezhuang, Chaoyang District (8456 4922 ext 8, 136 0113 7132) 朝阳区崔各庄乡合各庄村318号
Red Brick Contemporary Art Museum 红砖当代美术馆
Tue-Sun 10am-5.30pm. Hegezhuang Village, Cuigezhuang Town, Chaoyang District (134 2645 1523) 朝阳区崔各庄乡何各庄村
Beijing Scitech Premium Outlet Mall 北京赛特奥莱
Daily10am-10pm. 28 Xiangjiang Beilu, Chaoyang District (8435 7880) 朝阳区香江北路28号
Cathay View Plaza, 2A Xiangjiang Beilu, Chaoyang District (8430 8602, 182 0100 5999) 朝阳区香江北路甲2号观唐广场内
Tue-Sun 9am-5.30pm. Art Base-1, Hegezhuang Village, Cuigezhuang Township, Chaoyang District (6433 7617) 朝阳区崔各庄乡何各庄村1号地艺术区
Summer Lotus Japanese Cuisine 夏莲朵和式料理
Daily 10am-2pm and 5-9pm. Bldg 5, Hegezhuang, Shunbai Lu, Chaoyang District (5350 9898) 朝阳区何各庄5号顺白路何各庄果园西餐厅西侧20米红砖当代美术馆斜对面
Daily 8am-8pm. 2 Hegezhuang Guangchang, Hegezhuang, Shunbai lu, Chaoyang District (5130 1900) www.helensun.com.cn 朝阳区顺白路何各庄壹号地艺术区曹继桐烘焙艺术馆