Adventure on 2 wheels across South Korea

Posted in 4 rivers, Blogroll, busan, Seoul, Tourism on Monday, September 19, 2016 by Colin Quek

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.

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The whole route.

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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.

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Start point.

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Notice the 633km on the other side, the end point.

Above shows the start point of the Cross Country 4 Rivers cycle-path.

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Paldang station. Our start point.

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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.

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A typical signboard telling you to go ahead on the cycle-path. Keep to these and you be fine.

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Then again, what is this? Yes, we came across many of these, thankfully we have a GPS of someone who did it before.

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A bike rest point, which was supposed to be serving some coffee, but is since abandoned.

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Our bike passports.

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The road condition, not bad.

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Typical Korean dam.

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If I’m correct, that is Ipobo dam at the back.

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Most days, we were just cycling along stretches of road.

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And if you see the sun this way, it is time to find lodging.

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This says the next stamp booth is 2.5km away.

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We actually ended day 3 with more pedaling, boy were we not aware, the fun is ending after this part.

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Somewhat iconic, after this sign, it was uphill all the way, literally.

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Our local Korean energy bar, very good and effective.

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Says Chungju dam is 8km ahead, a very boring 8km i must add.

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Korean golf

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Chungju Dam’s booth, so hard to find.

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Pushing up Ilwarheong.

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And we reached!

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Look at this view.

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And we reached!

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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.

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This is the inside of a camping tent. Rental at 90,000WON a night.

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Cycling in the rain is not fun, especially when there is headwind all the time.

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Another dam.

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Nice view, sometimes we really gotta stop and admire it.

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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…😀

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After the vertical up and steep downhill ride, we arrived at this dam.

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Crossing over to Busan

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A coffee van in the middle of ermmm, no where…

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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.

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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.

Korea 2015

Posted in Blogroll, Places, Tourism, Travel on Sunday, December 6, 2015 by Colin Quek

A mosaic of photos from our recent trip to Korea.

(mouse over the photos to read a short description, I’ve described most of the photos.

For My Mum.

Posted in Blogroll on Sunday, May 3, 2015 by Colin Quek

It is Mother’s Day soon. Not sure how to express myself to her, but this song, written by a Chinese singer, says it all.
Now that I have my own kid, I realise the love, the sacrifices, the life my mother poured into my life.

《当你老了》(中国好歌曲现场版歌词)
当你老了 头发白了
睡意昏沉
当你老了 走不动了
炉火旁打盹 回忆青春
多少人曾爱你青春欢畅的时辰
爱慕你的美丽 假意或真心
只有一个人还爱你虔诚的灵魂
爱你苍老的脸上的皱纹
当你老了 眼眉低垂
灯火昏黄不定
风吹过来 你的消息
这就是我心里的歌
多少人曾爱你青春欢畅的时辰
爱慕你的美丽 假意或真心
只有一个人还爱你虔诚的灵魂
爱你苍老的脸上的皱纹
当我老了 我真希望
这首歌是唱给你的

You can hear the singing at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ivO3srqZeM

To a great leader. Lee Kuan Yew

Posted in Blogroll on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 by Colin Quek

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One of my favorites from one of my favorite leader.

“Our forefathers came here because they were looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Some found that pot of gold, many didn’t. They sweated their guts out and built this city out of mudflats. We’ve inherited it, we have added to it. And I say it is worth defending it.”

– Lee Kuan Yew

Before and After

Posted in Blogroll on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 by Colin Quek

PS: the photos in this post are of various quality. Reason being that I didn’t get into this health path to slim down. It was to resolve a liver issue.

I was clearing out the photos in my phone (yes, I have been using the same phone coming to 2 years), and realised I have impromptu shots of myself after gym. Couple these with some old shots and we get:

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Yeah my wedding pants.

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2013 – roughly when I started to change my diet. This seems to be mid 2013.

2013_end

End 2013.

2014_Apr

2014 Apr.

2014_Nov

2014 Nov.

I’m quite surprised at the transformation. But it was a 2 years journey. Of course I am not saying I have arrived. And going by my current goal of just sticking to my exercise regime, a totally fixed diet, I just want to see what 2015 will bring.

I do hope this time I will remember to take some better shots.

Till next time. To better health and enduring fitness.

Solving my Liver Issue.

Posted in Blogroll on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 by Colin Quek

Many times we trim down to look good, especially in a world where external appearances matter alot. But there are the few others who decided to do so because of health reasons.

LiverProfile

Most importantly, my liver profile.

In 2009, as my health report arrived, the doctor pointed me to an area of concern with regards to my liver profile. The readings are “off the charts”, in his own words. In fact he ordered another reading a month later, just to make sure.

The second reading didn’t fare too well either. This is when the doc said that I either reduce the readings or face serious liver issues in the later years.

*the stated readings, when they are high, it mean there is some damage going on in the liver. Anything 40 and below is considered normal. With readings as high as 120, you can see why my doctor is worried.

I stopped alcohol for a full year, did my screening again in 2011 and still the same result. Looking at the same chart, we can see that in 2012, things got worse. Not to say that alcohol consumption will not damage the liver, but in my case, even stopping a full 2 years didn’t help. I even cut out drinking soda drinks.

So what is an overweight man with an oncoming liver problem to do? This overweight man decided to hit the weights, pound it out in the gym. (I have a prolapsed disc, so only controlled, slow movements like lifting weights are suitable).

This started in 09/2012. And oddly enough, my following health report showed a drop in the liver readings. The good news is also that now my insurer is willing to cover liver related issues. And finally, the latest reading, all my liver readings are normal.

Till today, I’m clueless as to how and why lifting weights can positively impact the liver, but somehow it worked in my case.And the by-product of all these?

Bodyfat

Bodyfat %

Take a look at the above chart. As you can see my bodyfat % dropped (25% to now 12.5%). Too shy to put in my waistline, but be sure that I have had to change my wardrobe twice in the past year.

What have I learned?

  1. Eating properly – nuff said. But I do get to eat alot more now. How’s that for starters? Eat more pratas and lose weight.
  2. Exercise regularly – when even my video gaming life suffer because of gym. This is serious.And this is the crucial part, compared to working out just to fit into a size S, once hitting that size, then what? But when we workout as part of our lives, we have the tendency to continue with it, because, it is something we do as we live.
  3. There is always room to “push 1 more rep”, “don’t start counting rep until it start hurting” – pushing iron is 30% muscular, but really 70% mental.
  4. Due to the earlier attempts to get the liver readings down, I’ve gotten into the habit of not drinking too much. And of course during that time, I’ve stopped drinking soda drinks. Saves $$$.

Yes of course I do go for other kind of food/drinks (i.e. burgers, soda, lattes and the whatever-stuff-w-sugar-in-them) occasionally. But those are times when I have to conciously make myself consume them.

And to answer the usual question – I use the following slimming products:

  • 6kg
  • 8kg
  • 10kg
  • 12kg
  • 22kg, blah blah…
  • Skip rope
  • Threadmill
  • Lotsa carb, protein, animal fats.

Warning, the above slimming products tend to come with a rusty smell and they induce serious sweating.

And will I continue my journey? Why not? I have a family now, my kids are going to look at the way I live my life and model after it. I also have my personal goals as to the bulk and bodyfat I want to achieve, just to see how “how many more reps I can push“.

Thanks.

South Korea 2014

Posted in Blogroll on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 by Colin Quek

June of 2014, the Mrs and I again went to Korea. For the food, the sights, the people and the hiking.

This time around, we decided to explore the other areas such as Gwangju, Jeju.

To say, we especially love it in Gwangju. The place is steep in local history and the people are very warm. Seems like time slows down a bit over there. Hence people enjoy lives better.

This time, I’ve decided to to post my photos in reverse order.

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 Tried the coffee in this nice little place. Must say that Korean coffee more aromatic than those we have in South East Asia. Though not as strong in terms of caffeine.

 
 
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Clearly, one cannot visit Seoul without a trip to Dongdaemun. And needless to say the shopping is fabulous.

 
 
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 My Dune paperback up for book exchange, amongst all the others. This was in Pedro’s House in Gwangju.

 
 

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 Gwangju freedom memorials.

 
 
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Traditional Korean hotpot. This establishment is 37 yrs old. And it is still running strong. A must try.

 
 
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That’s my Korean host on the far right. Pedro Kim. The other 2 are also Singaporeans. This was taken during the World Cup 2014 match. Not too sure which team South Korea was squaring off though.

 
 

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 Hike up Mudengsan. Mountain of no Equal.

 
 
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Korean cooking like a pro.

 
 


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Yeah the wife is also crazy over Innisfree products. This a green tea plantation.

 
 
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Finally got her hands on the famous Lee Min Ho soft toy….

 
 
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Drove up some hill in the wee hours of the morning, the cold, the lack of sleep, but this is worth it. Jeju.

 
 
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Our new friend in Jeju.

What happened was we were lost, and dropped by outside a bank to ask for directions. This gentleman not only lead us in his car to our destination, he even dropped by after our dinner to show us around Jeju island.

 
 
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Authentic Korean food in Jeju.

 
 
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Yeah another hike in Jeju.

 
 
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Especially like this very colorful sunset in Busan.

 
 
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