November 22, 2017, 08:57:34 PM

Author Topic: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?  (Read 700 times)

Offline plan b

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Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« on: November 14, 2017, 12:33:35 PM »
Compared to other Asian countries, South Korea lags in terms of people biking. Obviously one can see cyclists out and about, but few compared to other Asian countries like Japan and China. In Japan and China, bicycles are also a way of commuting to work, which I don't see here often.

What are some reasons that Korea never developed a biking culture? We are sandwiched between 2 giants that have a biking culture, but it just ain't a big deal here. Hmm?

Online zola

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2017, 12:44:29 PM »
I think it's becuase Korea is still coming out of the developing country mindset where a bicycle is seen as a mode of transport for the old, poor and children. The vast majority of Korreans have the money to buy a car so the way they see it why would they bother buying some relic of a bygone age. This will change, if it hasnt already started to. I actually have noticed the local cycle track getting a lot busier with guys in all the gear and spandex etc.


It's the same reason why any buildings that that have some character and predate 1980 have to be bowled over to make way for another block of Stalinist apartment buildings. They are seen as old and tied to a time of poverty and ignorance.

NB: This is all made up in my mind and I've never actually asked a Korean directly why riding a bike isn't that common.

Offline AvecPommesFrites

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2017, 12:54:19 PM »
Most people probably thought they'd like to keep their life after looking at the state of people driving cars around like accidents waiting to happen. Ever ridden a bike on a road here? DON"T.
What makes salads so funny that people are always laughing and smiling when they are eating them?

Offline OnNut81

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2017, 01:11:36 PM »
Cycling as exercise or activity seems to have been steadily gaining popularity here.  The river paths are constantly used by bikers and there are mountain bike trails carved into the mountains near my home that even get their share of cyclists at night.  Cycle paths are connected throughout the entire country. You can even get a passport type booklet for cycling routes that has maps and along the routes are phone booth structures where you stop and get a particular stamp. When you complete certain routes you can take the booklet in and get stickers and even medals for completing some of the big ones.  So, as a mode of transportation to work it may not be so popular, but otherwise I'd say there is indeed a big biking culture here nowadays.

Online Aristocrat

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2017, 01:12:18 PM »
I think it's becuase Korea is still coming out of the developing country mindset where a bicycle is seen as a mode of transport for the old, poor and children. The vast majority of Korreans have the money to buy a car so the way they see it why would they bother buying some relic of a bygone age. This will change, if it hasnt already started to. I actually have noticed the local cycle track getting a lot busier with guys in all the gear and spandex etc.


It's the same reason why any buildings that that have some character and predate 1980 have to be bowled over to make way for another block of Stalinist apartment buildings. They are seen as old and tied to a time of poverty and ignorance.

NB: This is all made up in my mind and I've never actually asked a Korean directly why riding a bike isn't that common.

True, though some have realised that sporting a $8000 'Giant' racer, racing outfit and Oakleys just to cycle 2km along the walking path is another great way to flaunt your debt.


Offline plan b

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2017, 01:26:29 PM »
Most people probably thought they'd like to keep their life after looking at the state of people driving cars around like accidents waiting to happen. Ever ridden a bike on a road here? DON"T.

I agree with you. In addition helmets are absent on riders.
But in China, drivers are 10x worse, and biking is ingrained in the culture.

Offline AvecPommesFrites

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2017, 01:39:16 PM »
You've also got to remember that in this society sports are almost non existent for the working class. Most people probably don't wanna cycle home from a 12 hour shift at work.
What makes salads so funny that people are always laughing and smiling when they are eating them?

Online fdny

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2017, 02:18:54 PM »
I cycle a lot on the Seoul Bikeway and the ARA Bikeway.  Lots of people.  Lots of NICE bikes.

But, yes, Korea is still a 3rd world country in terms of living outside a very narrowly defined
set of margins.  I've cycled to work and for work in Korea for over fifteen years and when
I tell Koreans this I just get blank stares.  It just doesn't register.  I used to work in a
factory and would ride my bike there everyday.  Absolutely confounded stares.  Then a coworker
at the factory quit and went into the bike biz.  Then he traveled all around the world on his bike
and became quite well known in Korea.  That shut a lot of them up.  Now they don't react with
derision, but with "why is my life so fucked up and dull that I can't do that" kind of stare.

The younger generation are a completely different breed than the older soju swilling dog-eaters.
Biking and other things will take off here at an increasing pace.

Offline DMZabductee

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2017, 02:33:56 PM »
Ulsan's got a lotta bike-riders. Seems to be a lot more of them now than when I first arrived four years ago, too.

And it's not just the young folk, either. I see quite a few spandex-clad ajeoshi bike teams hitting the paths after work and on the weekends. Ulsan is of course a car town but I do also see a fair number of people actually using their bikes as transport to and from work.

Perhaps biking culture isn't as common here as some other places in Asia but it certainly exists.

Offline mrbarryobama

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2017, 03:00:07 PM »
I find biking more difficult than driving or walking, but more pleasant than running in some situations

Online denimdaze

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2017, 03:03:22 PM »
Where I am, there are bike lanes along the highway.  They'd be perfect for biking if people didn't park their cars in them.

Online fdny

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2017, 03:16:46 PM »
Also, this comment isn't confined to Korea, but I have noticed all my friends who drive
are fat.  The friends I know who ride a lot and commute using a bike have no weight
problem whatsoever.

Offline OttoSilver

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2017, 03:37:15 PM »
As a side note, Korea was at no point a 3rd World Country. It was, out of necessity, always an Allied (1st World) nation.

It was, however, a developing country not so long ago.  :police:

1st World = US and Allies, known as "The Allies"
2nd World = USSR and Allies, known as "The Communist Block"
3rd World = Those not allied with either side, consisting mostly of the poor countries in South America, Africa and Asia, hence the idea what 3rd World means poor and developing

Online gogators!

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2017, 03:59:57 PM »
Biking is really taking off here. The rental shops along the Han and the share bikes are increasingly popular. Go up to Bugaksan and most nights there are scores of riders doing the climb for training. People travel to Korea to do the 4 rivers and/or Seoul to Busan rides.

There are more and more organized rides--fondos--the Tour de France organizers have an event here and much more.

Of course a lot of it is about money, as mentioned above.


Online Mr.DeMartino

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2017, 07:55:41 AM »
I cycle a lot on the Seoul Bikeway and the ARA Bikeway.  Lots of people.  Lots of NICE bikes.

But, yes, Korea is still a 3rd world country in terms of living outside a very narrowly defined
set of margins.  I've cycled to work and for work in Korea for over fifteen years and when
I tell Koreans this I just get blank stares.  It just doesn't register.  I used to work in a
factory and would ride my bike there everyday.  Absolutely confounded stares.  Then a coworker
at the factory quit and went into the bike biz.  Then he traveled all around the world on his bike
and became quite well known in Korea.  That shut a lot of them up.  Now they don't react with
derision, but with "why is my life so fucked up and dull that I can't do that" kind of stare.

The younger generation are a completely different breed than the older soju swilling dog-eaters.
Biking and other things will take off here at an increasing pace.

Maybe they were giving u blank stares because they were thinking "Why is this guy making such a big deal about riding a bike to work?"

Offline Lurch

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2017, 08:14:51 AM »
Maybe they were giving u blank stares because they were thinking "Why is this guy making such a big deal about riding a bike to work?"

Ahh Mr.DeMartino... I get the same thing. And I never even talk about it voluntarily. My co-teacher asked me how I got to school. Said I biked, and her response was "Don't you have a car?" And proceeded to tell me how the VP had noticed that I took a bike and that they felt bad for me. Bikes are very commonly thought of as being for kids and poor people in Korea. Understandably so, as the majority of bikes I see on the road are old rusty beaters with super squeaky brakes being ridden by disheveled, smoking, garbage collecting ajossis.

Unless I'm near the cross-Korea trail, then it's nothing but spandex clad enthusiasts as far as the eye can see.

Online fdny

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2017, 01:13:01 PM »
Maybe they were giving u blank stares because they were thinking "Why is this guy making such a big deal about riding a bike to work?"

Huh?  Where did I say I was making a big deal?  For someone with over
3600 posts maybe you should learn to read as well as bang out inane replies on a
keyboard.

Online gogators!

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Re: Why doesn't Korea have a biking culture?
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2017, 06:51:31 PM »
Maybe they were giving u blank stares because they were thinking "Why is this guy making such a big deal about riding a bike to work?"

Huh?  Where did I say I was making a big deal?  For someone with over
3600 posts maybe you should learn to read as well as bang out inane replies on a
keyboard.
That's asking an awful lot.  ;D