Bikes can be rented from the shop (in photograph) at the eastern 'corner' of Houhai..just 100 metres round from the Silver Ingot Bridge.
Cost varies enormously, depending on the type of bike, but expect to pay upwards of RMB50 for one hour with RMB200 as a deposit.
Tandems and three-seaters are also available.
Equipment: Use a bike helmet! Be extremely careful if you go out beyond the alleyways around the Houhai area.
Not exactly what the Olympics had in mind, but a lot of fun anyway: machine guns, anti-tank missiles, and an amusing assortment of military pistols and sniper's rifles.
It's fun to watch other foreign tourists get a kick out of shooting, especially the young Japanese women.
Pay by the bullet or other projectile.
Technical staff from China's army will ensure you have the weapon pointed in the right direction.
Equipment: Bring your passport for identification. You might want to bring your own earplugs as well. No license required.
During the very cold winters in Beijing the small channels, lakes and rivers are covered with a thick layer of ice. Then people use the ice for skating and other activities. Only the dust and sand brought by the cold winds from Gobi Desert can stop this fun.
Living mostly in hot countries where ice is simply something to cool drinks down, I was eager to go ice skating in Beijing. There are a handful of indoor ice rinks around the city, and in the winter the lakes freeze over and many people take to the ice and go skating. You can hire skates or bring your own, and if you're not too confident then the outdoor lake rinks offer a sit-down sledge-like version with sticks to push yourself along.
So, anyway, off I went to the ice rink in the main shopping centre at Xidan (there's another in the World Trade Centre). They gave me the biggest pair of skates they had in the building (about UK size 9!) - I tried desperately to cram my feet into them but gave up and went to the pub instead. If you've got big feet, bring your own skates.
China has never had a big impact on international team sports. Most global sports in which it has excelled are individual efforts - table tennis, gymnastics etc. But now two major team sports are really taking off in China - football and basketball. At the moment football is by far the biggest, but with the enormous Yao Ming a rising star in the NBA, basketball (particularly his team the Houston Rockets) is becoming increasingly popular. Football attracts huge crowds and the women's national team is one of the best in the world. David Beckham is of course a huge star, but probably the biggest club team in China is Everton - millions of people watch their matches because of their Chinese player Li Tie.
If you want to play squash in Beijing it is possible to head over to the Radisson SAS hotel. Here they have 2 squash courts and it is also "home" of the Beijing squash ladder. I played a couple of guys while I was there and it was great to get some exercise while being on vacation :-)
Kite are a favourite sport of the Chinese people! You can see it mainly in autumn on Tian An Men Square.
Equipment: Near Tian An Men Square are some shops, which provide you with small and big kites and all the professional stuff you need for letting them fly!
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