September this year was finally the time for the biggest goal of 2016.
Having spent 10 months waking up before the sun is up on each weekend to cycle, to train.
3 months to get use to a Korean diet, as I figured that my body has to get nutrients from a very different culture. Korean diet is primarily veg and carb based. While my usual diet is very protein and carb based.
The whole route.
Goal setting, I set this goal in 2015 and planned for it.
Yes I set the goal a year earlier to do this. And planned for it.
The wife herself (one amazing woman, decided to come along and had some training), in actual fact is only 1/4 of mine.
So we flew to Seoul, luggage and all.
On Saturday we picked up our rented bikes. Do note that in Korea only the Mugunghwa allows full sized bikes onboard, and that only the 1820pm and later trains.
We were hit with this snag as we assumed that the KTX allows bikes. So on Sunday morning we rushed to Yongsan train station to purchase the Busan to Seoul Mugunghwa tickets. The counter staff was unaware, until we told him to check the system that the train allows bikes.
The Sunday afternoon was spent walking madly looking for the start point. We should have taken our bikes along. We walked like 3 hours to locate booth 1.
Notice the 633km on the other side, the end point.
Above shows the start point of the Cross Country 4 Rivers cycle-path.
Paldang station. Our start point.
You can take your bikes into the subway provided it is not rush hour and only the last and first cabin.
On Sunday, or was it Monday we loaded our bikes and went to the Paldang station to begin our adventure. We left the Seoul Ara Waterway for the last.
A typical signboard telling you to go ahead on the cycle-path. Keep to these and you be fine.
Then again, what is this? Yes, we came across many of these, thankfully we have a GPS of someone who did it before.
A bike rest point, which was supposed to be serving some coffee, but is since abandoned.
Our bike passports.
The road condition, not bad.
Typical Korean dam.
If I’m correct, that is Ipobo dam at the back.
Most days, we were just cycling along stretches of road.
And if you see the sun this way, it is time to find lodging.
This says the next stamp booth is 2.5km away.
We actually ended day 3 with more pedaling, boy were we not aware, the fun is ending after this part.
Somewhat iconic, after this sign, it was uphill all the way, literally.
Our local Korean energy bar, very good and effective.
Says Chungju dam is 8km ahead, a very boring 8km i must add.
Chungju Dam’s booth, so hard to find.
Pushing up Ilwarheong.
And we reached!
Look at this view.
And we reached!
This stretch is after the steep slope, we continue to push to the last booth of Saejae.
We made the mistake of pushing through after our set time of 5pm. Instead of looking for lodging, we continued to push. Big mistake. The last part of Saejae path is STEEP! In the rain, and in the dark, boy the vacation is getting very tough.
We literally motivated each other to push up the hill. And after reaching the top there was no lodging.
At 8pm, we were riding down the slope and saw this campsite. I was desperate and decided to give it a shot, even if they charged us 200,000WON a night, I would have accepted.
Lesson: never break the rule of time to find lodging. If you set it to 5pm, obey it. As the next lodging may be 1 hour away. And it may be raining heavily.
This is the inside of a camping tent. Rental at 90,000WON a night.
Cycling in the rain is not fun, especially when there is headwind all the time.
Nice view, sometimes we really gotta stop and admire it.
This is the top of Wuxing Temple… the slopes were VERTICAL!
We actually rode and pushed up Wuxing Temple’s hill, could have avoided it by skirting to the left of it. We were told only AFTER the attempt… 😀
After the vertical up and steep downhill ride, we arrived at this dam.
Crossing over to Busan
A coffee van in the middle of ermmm, no where…
This guy was a God-send. He appeared out of nowhere to guide us through the toughest part of the whole route. Not just because it was steep, but it was raining until we cant see the road.
And finally we arrived.
The journey was more of a learning about each other experience for me and my wife.
It was a tough vacation and she swore never to do this again… maybe 😀
I would strongly encourage avid cyclists to give it a shot. The adventure is worth the pain.