3 weeks in Seoul
Sep 12, 2013

In praise of ... biking in Seoul

Mr. & Mrs. Crab share an common love for biking. When we lived in London, Mrs. Crab commutted to work daily by bike along Regent's Canal. And back in Arlington, Mr. Crab commutted daily to FSI (Foreign Service Institute), uphill both ways. So we were thrilled to learn that Seoul is a very cycle-friendly city. So we sent our bikes in UAB. 

One of the great pastimes and pleasures of living in Seoul is biking. There are hundreds of miles of bike trails in South Korea. You can even bike from Seoul to Busan on the southern tip of Korea in about 4 days, most of it along off-road, paved bike trails.

In Seoul, a 25-mile long bike trail runs along the north and south banks of the Han River. Compared to DC, the bike trails in Seoul have wide "Kramer Lanes!" Even better, there is a separate trail for joggers, walkers and mums with dogs & prams, so no worries about cyclists dodging pedestrians. The trial is lined with extra-curricular activities like outdoor gyms, picnic areas, restrooms, and buskers (street musicians) performing at the many outdoor amphitheaters along the trail. Parts of the north bank is covered by a freeway, shading riders from the blazing Seoul summer sun.

 The best bit about biking in Korea? Seven-11!  Along the north banks of the Han River, you'll see a handful of Seven-11 convenience stores. Unlike in America, Seven-11s in Asia are more like neighborhood bars & cafes. Many have outdoor table areas where you can enjoy cheap beer, coffee, ice cream, ramen noodles and other snacks.

First-time bikers will not feel out-of-place. Bikers in Korea come in all ages, shapes & sizes. You'll see everyone from cyclists in full professional kit, families in shorts & t-shirts and even folks carrying dogs in their baskets! Also, crime in Korea is extremely low, so no need to worry if your bike will still be there when you return.

We have one major pet peeve about biking in Korea: Korean bikers do not follow standard biking etiquette such as giving audible warnings when passing. In DC or London, you'll get an earful if you fail to ring your bell or yell "on your left" when passing. In Seoul, Lance Armstrong-wannabes have no qualms about flying past you within inches and cutting you off. But then there are other bikers who you can hear coming from afar because they are blaring music via speakers attached to their handlebars! 

A few more scenes of biking in Seoul: