Bicycles have long been the quickest way to navigate the traffic-choked streets of Seoul. But far from a last resort, cycling has become a national pastime throughout South Korea. Since 2010, the country has built more than 1,610 kilometres of paved cycling routes and plans to create a network of paths along its four main rivers.
Pedal-pushers can take in a varied landscape—roughly 70 per cent of this nation consists of forest, rivers, lakes, and mountains— as well as experience some of the world’s most advanced cycling infrastructure. Bike-only highways tunnel through mountains and over rivers; bike-repair shops, restrooms, and picnic sites line the paths.
On a 60-kilometre stretch of the Nakdong River Bike Path, cyclists pass the Sangju Bicycle Museum, a Confucian school founded in 1606, and Gyeongcheondae Terrace, a rock cliff prized for its view of the Nakdong. Finally, at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Andong Hahoe Folk Village, weary riders can recover in a minbak (fire-heated inn).
Appeared in the January 2015 issue as “Seoul Searching”.