Traditional paintings and time-honored distilleries have long been the two things that Mianzhu is famous for. Back in 2008, the devastating Sichuan earthquake hit the city and severely impacted its industries.
Nine years on, with homes being rebuilt and business bouncing back, the city is searching for new ways to boost its development, by redefining itself as a host of Chinese Cycling League races.
The city of Mianzhu in Sichuan province has become a popular place for cyclists these days. From athletes to those who just want to meander around on a bike, riders are gathering in Mianzhu for the cycling races.
Since its launch in 2014, the Chinese Cycling league's races have grown into one of the largest public cycling events in China. With multi-day races added for the first time to the calendar, the Mianzhu tournament has attracted more than 150 professional riders and thousands of amateurs from across the nation.
Located in southwest China's Sichuan Basin, Mianzhu is a noted historic and cultural city with picturesque scenery. [Photo: Zhao Ying]
Infrastructure is essential to the success of the tournament. Local authorities have put significant efforts in building race tracks and greenways.
Main routes of the tournament run through urban areas and local villages. One of them passes through famous scenic spots such as the Rose Valley and the Jiulong Mountains.
Hu Hao, Champion of the tournament, says the winding and hilly roads have added to the challenge.
"It is a very comprehensive track, with lots of ups and downs. Notably, the uphill road to the finishing line is not common in China, which made the race more exciting."
The races have also ignited a passion for cycling, not only among local citizens, but also travelers. Bicycle tourism has moved from the margins to the mainstream. More and more people are embracing the green and healthy way of traveling.
Located in southwest China’s Sichuan Basin, Mianzhu is a noted historic and cultural city with picturesque scenery. [Photo: Zhao Ying]
Luo Tao, deputy mayor of Mianzhu, says the city is looking to boost its development through sports tourism.
"100 kilometers of greenways have been built in Mianzhu, with more being planned. An increasing number of local citizens, as well as tourists, are riding on the greenways. We hope the cycling races could help promote infrastructure construction, cultural inheritance and the tourism industry as a whole."
The three-day tournament in Mianzhu is the fifth stop of the Chinese Cycling league's races, which are now in their third season.
Aside from immediate economic benefits, authorities also hope the event will help to build a brandname for Mianzhu as the ideal destination for tourists who want to explore the unique landscape, historic sites and quaint villages on their bikes.