Cycling Cheondong (Seoul) to Yeoju-Si on Lifeday 25,446

Geoff Jones with bike

Checking in at a stamp station

This was my first complete day on the 4 Rivers bike route and was it amazing! in fact stunning the perfect bike path. Although the weather was less than perfect with an ethereal mist over the views.

I decided to try my luck at the local bread shop again, a lot warier than yesterday when one of the innocent lucking rolls was full of ham 🙁 I succeeded with the balls full of some sweet goo. I really need a veggie guide to the bread shop.

One of the art tunnels

The ride started along the river on a perfect path with racing teams bombing along and lots of folks on the outdoor apparatus. The path wends it way around with none of the right angle bends found in other countries. Always traffic free (some tiny sections in front of stations are on quiet roads). In fact, you could use the trains to skip sections 🙂

The Cafe Lounge was ideally placed and as I was told on The Camino a cafe passed is a cafe wasted 🙂 After coffee and cake I started on the old railway line section and felt sad about the deliberate act of vandalism in the UK that old lines were flogged of piecemeal, apparently deliberately so they could never bee used again.

A real cycling bridge

The next surprise where the “art tunnels”  totally stunning old railway tunnels converted into amazing lighting displays totally awesome. After the old railway line, I dropped down to the river again with an amazing boardwalk along the cliffs, full of folks walking. A short section went inland along a country road and up a Grade 4 hill whereI set new records for the slowest ride up 🙂

Later it was biking along the dams where I realised that one of my gloves had fallen out of my pocket 🙁 it was getting late so left it to its fate 🙁  This section has the amazing concrete bridges for bikes, apparently paid for by the water authorities! Such joined up thinking.

After just over 50 miles I decided to call it a day in Yeoju-Si eventually finding the I Love Feel motel not in the same class as previous nights, I was only offered a razer & toothbrush 🙂 plus I made the mistake about WiFi when paying, Im now typing this in the corridor at 2am

A totally fantastic day and just so great to see what a real first world country can do for cycling & personal fitness for the whole population, in fact, I kept thinking that it should be paid for from health budgets.

The Strava is here and photos here

 

Cycling Jeonkok to Cheondong (Seoul) on Lifeday 25,445

Warning elephant crossing

Monday 27th March 2017

What a foul weather day! I awoke to thick grey cloud and finished it in pouring icy rain 🙁

The going was also very varied from old broken roads which would compete with the worst in England to high-speed smooth very busy expressways with the cycle paths following a similar pattern.

Good use of mobility scooters

I stayed on the old road out of Jeonkok for as long as possible before hitting the incredibly busy 3 highway 🙁  after a few miles I turned off along the river by Anheungdong this road was unbearable and I was getting hungry I finally found an open bread shop in Dongducheon, a town that will never feature in any tourist brochure 🙁 Leaving on the 3 road again I finally spotted a cycle path alongside the river so down I went. Very grateful to leave the traffic behind at last. This track finished in Deokgyedong a far more upmarket place with a decent coffee shop 🙂 Then it was pounding down another busy road until just after Yangu station I spotted a bike path, pulling the bike across the verge and through a carpark. I zoomed down shortly meeting up with a magnificent path that took me all the way down to the main river 🙂

Four Rivers cycleway

I went through a small shower at the promised time of 2 pm but the 4 Rivers Path was on the other side of the main river so I had to do a huge U to find a bridge that cyclists could use. On the other side there were huge puddles 🙁 so I set off with a huge cloud following me. Near Bangi-Dong I checked the maps.me plugin (works offline) and discovered a nearby motel. I set it to find the route and set off. Too late the heavens opened, the iPhone7 is waterproof but the screen goes crazy with the rain drops 🙁 so I ended up all over the place, with much cursing, I was freezing.

I eventually found Hotel Murore a decent enough place the goodie bag is not as grand as the first night, obviously, folks here have shorter breaks. One disgusting feature is the heated toilet seat 🙁 I’ve unplugged it now.

Apart from the weather a good day although it has me thinking about the pros & cons of dedicated cycleways since down at the riverside you get to see so little of the city/country life.

Strava says I managed 55.6 miles  the day’s pics are here

 

 

Cycling Munsan to Jeongok on lifeday25,444

The End of the road

Well, Korean Love Hotels are not the best place for a good nights sleep 🙁

I was on the road at 9 am and headed up Highway 1 to the DMZ checkpoint where 1 finishes (at the moment), I tried to blag my way in but the guard soldiers and there superior weren’t having it.

A Whasookjeong apparently

A Whasookjeong apparently

I headed back, Last night I noticed a road went to a bend in the border river so I headed up on the 37, amazingly busy even today. I then came off at the first turning and was greeted by splendid river views and the hills in the DMZ. As a bonus I also visited a lovely, rebuilt, pagoda style platform ( whasookjeong) where Yi Sack meditated and wrote poetry, it still has a serene air to it even though Route 37 runs close to it.

hillside burials

I then followed the DMZ route which I found somewhere 🙂 amazing to see all the cemetries on the hillsides from the war plus all the tank traps on the road. No wonder the war was so long, the hilly terrain with deep valleys must have been hell to fight in.

I eventually got tired and and headed South to Jeongok to find a bed, no problem today as a motel had a huge 10-foot sign on its roof 🙂 The Mu Hotel is very pleasant and the goodie bag is far more conventional in its contents! The roof is ginormous with ultra-fast upload speeds.

A great day with the sort of hills I love, short & steep 🙂 The countryside is interesting. I find it astounding how rural and urban are so clearly separated like ancient & modern worlds.

Strava says I did 49.5 miles and 2300 feet of climbing (it felt a lot more)

The pics are here

S. Korea biking to Munsan on lifeday 25,443

Start of the 4 Rivers trail

After spending 24 hours in a windowless world yesterday (why does everyone shut the blinds on aeroplane) and OK 8 hours of which was stuck in Doha airport with no windows but it did have a 25 metre indoor pool if you remembered to put your costume in your carry on bag – I didn’t 🙁  I must also remember to carry a fine pen for filling in the 3 landing forms.

Arriving in Incheon airport I failed on both of my customary tasks when first arriving in a new country, both reflect rather badly on Korea. First job is to hit the ATM’s all my cards failed on all machines, I had revert to the expensive way of changing my £ notes 🙁 Next job was to get a SIM for my dongle or phone both failed miserably, all they want you to do is rent kit, tempting you with expensive unlimited data. Not much use when you aren’t returning to the airport! My worst experience of any country in the world. So much for hi-tech Korea!

I was picked up by Incheon Airport Best Guesthouse (using WeChat on the airport WiFi) so soon had my bike box in my room 10 floors up.

This morning I biked the  6 miles, all wrapped up, to Unseo station, on lovely cycle tracks, thinking I might spy some cash machines or phone stockists but to no avail, although I did procure a European plug to fit on my extension lead

The train was ultra smart, although it’s a steep climb up the 3 flights to the platform. 36 minutes later I arrived at Cheonga Int’l City Station and ready for the adventure.I rode around to the

Ara lock stamping box

I rode around to the Ara West Sea lock and bought a passport (nope the cash machines don’t work there either). There were loads of cyclists there today since it was a sunny Saturday. After stamping it at the first lock I was away 🙂 the cycle track is wide and really smooth, very easy to follow so no GPS required 🙂 Where the canal meets the river I left the 4 Rivers route to head north so I could visit the Dora Observatory. Alas, it wasn’t to be as the instructions Mark gave me (and no online maps) I somehow ended up in the wrong Paju 🙁 However, one good came out of this I found a huge supermarket with an array of ATM’s one of which finally behaved and released a pile of notes, but only with my Barclays account the others still failed to work. To celebrate I devoured two large scoops of very nutty ice cream.

Still the old ways

Once I realised my error, after chatting to a pair of MTB’ lads I decided to carry on North with the intention of starting The DMZ trail (interestingly I could see I was quite close by seeing the trail on the phone but with no maps). I was beginning to worry a bit when no hotels appeared and anyone I asked looked at me a bit weird 🙁 Eventually in Musan someone understood and pointed up at a huge building, The Royal Motel is up on the eighth floor and with the key you are given an interesting bag of goodies for those who are here for very short stays 😉

A lovely ride, although the cycle paths soon revert to the English variation with tree root bumps and disappearing.all the time once you leave the 4 rivers way.

Strava says 44.9 miles but there is an additional 6 to add at the start.

Pictures here