Week 3 - A River Ride

Cherry Blossoms on the way to work
Unfortunately, I was sick for a week, and last week was busy doing other things, so I missed a couple weeks worth of stories. The cherry blossoms have come and gone, and it's Spring in Korea! Yeah! Boo.

Yeah - it's getting warmer, and the sunlight is out longer.
Boo - it's getting warmer, and Spring is only a fleeting joke. Summer is long, hot and humid, and then the rains arrive. After the two weeks or so of rain, it becomes hotter and more humid, if one can believe in such things.

Still, Spring, Summer and Autumn mean warmth and bike rides! Yeah!

So today, in honor of it being comfortably warm (almost 70 F), I decided to put my new bike to a test - not to mention my own body.

Four Rivers

Korea has four main rivers in the country. The Han River goes through Seoul and divides the city into north and south. The only other one I'm familiar with is the Yeongsonggang which was near Gwangju.

For the past several years, the government and others have pushed to clean up the four rivers, making them accessible for the inhabitants. It's ambitious to say the least, but they have done a beautiful job, if my experience is any indication of what the other two rivers look like.
Little Bike Path and Creek

Han River

The one beautiful thing about my current location is the ease in getting to the Han. Here, I just bike two minutes to this ramp which takes me down to the walkway beside the creek. The creek flows down to the Han so after ten minutes or so, I'm along the main river in the northern part of South Korea.

They have turned the river into a beautiful area where people can relax, fly drones and enjoy the riverside. There are baseball fields, basketball courts, a skateboard park and a place where BMX can practice stunts.
Korea and its coffee - at a rest stop

All of this is within an easy forty-five minute bike ride. There are dozens of bridges crossing the Han, so one can find plenty of spaces to sit and relax. Most of the bridges have some sort of rest area with seating areas and the ubiquitous exercise equipment. Not all, but most.

It is Korea, and next to soju, coffee is the national beverage. Some of the larger bridges have an entire rest area built up around it. At the first major area near me was an Angel-in-Us coffee shop. The locals pronounce it as Angelina's so it confuses travelers.

Air quality is bad in Seoul. The officials (and most of the people) blame China, but between the concentration of cars, coal plants and general pollution, much of Seoul pollution is self-imposed. It's been harder to adjust to it after living in Gwangju. While it was bad there, I haven't experienced truly bad air until arriving here. I'm thinking of investing in masks like the locals.
A view of the Han River

To give you and idea of the air, I took a photo towards the middle of my journey. I live on the southern side of the Han River, so this is looking north and west. On clear days, you can see mountains in the distance.

Still, despite the weather, biking along the Han is an enjoyable trip. It'll become my new Saturday event, I think My goal is to get into better shape, even as I enjoy the beautiful landscape.

As a side note, since most who read this blog realize I live in Seoul, I'm doing all right. I'm safe. The Koreans I know are not worried about current events, and I'm taking the necessary steps to keep myself protected and informed.

I hope many of you take up biking as well.


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