One of the best reasons to visit Guangzhou is to get a taste of the incredible pace of growth and development happening in China today. The city's development has surrounded and swallowed and layered itself on top of dozens of villages and towns in it's path. It all mixes together in a vibrant, crazy mix of old and new, rural and urban. Cycling along the new GD Greenway system gives you a glimpse of these extreme contrasts, all within the city limits. Incredible LED-encrusted buildings, bridges, and boats butt up against floating fishing villages, where villagers live in modest wooden boats.
The GD Greenway now includes more than 1,000 kilometers of pathways, all marked with English/Chinese green signposts. The most well-maintained sections are those that run through the Party Pier, Zhujiang New Town, and ErSha Island. Be on the lookout for amusing adventures where pathways pass beneath bridges too low to ride under or into a thicket of bushes. They always emerge on the other side, so don't give up—but be prepared to walk your bike through some seriously awkward terrain.
It's relatively easy to rent bikes with just a little effort. Bike share kiosks are located around the city and in multiple places along the GD Greenway, including near the Party Pier and Canton Fairgrounds. Rates top out at ¥30 every day with a ¥200 deposit—but can be hard to navigate unless you or a companion reads Chinese. Some stations may be staffed occasionally with employees that can help.