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Re: Riding bikes in Korea? Suicidal??
« Reply #40 on: September 08, 2011, 07:32:24 am »
I rode up three quarters or slightly more of an awesome hill leading to a temple yesterday.  The temple turned out to be on the top of the mountain and I got within 10 minutes or so according to an ajossi walking by before I ran out of time and had to stop.  I had ridden up what I now know is around the half way point of that hill.  The top part of the first half is around 10 -15% grade.  The top half is around 15% I estimate.  It was steep enough I had to consciously lean slightly over my handlebars to go up it.  It was fun, but I ran out of steam and time, so I'll try it again later.  I'm still more of a serious recreational cyclist, so i feel good that i went farther and steeper than I had before.  Descending was fun but I had to ride the disc brakes to keep my speed down for the hairpin turns and the less tight 140 degree corners.  It also did not have those "rumble strips," which are used here to remind drivers to keep their speed down, so it was a smooth ride down in that sense. 

  • teachermc
  • Super Waygook

    • 384

    • March 04, 2010, 11:47:41 am
    • Tongyeong, South Korea
Re: Riding bikes in Korea? Suicidal??
« Reply #41 on: September 08, 2011, 08:02:49 am »
I am in awe of some of the posters here riding or considering to ride in Seoul.  I think a lot of this decision has to do with your local area.  In the previous city I was in, there was no way I was hopping on a bike.  Every road was one lane with three cars trying to squeeze through.  However, one week here in Tongyeong made me envy all of the bike riders I saw.  Now, I ride along a coastal road to get to each of the three schools at which I teach.  One school is across the harbor on the mainland of Tongyeong, so I get to use an old undersea tunnel built by the Japanese to cross.  Another school is around on a rural side of the island, so I have to ride on a coastal bike-only path for 4km... :D

For those considering to ride but are maybe a little hesitant, I would go with your instinct.  If the area doesn't look very bike-friendly and their are no interesting bike paths within reach, I would suggest looking around and thinking about the next year.  Maybe you could move within your current city to find a better riding environment?  In my previous city, there were several other areas that would have been great for biking; it would have just required me to make a move a part of the following contract or looking for another job within that local area. 

Re: Riding bikes in Korea? Suicidal??
« Reply #42 on: September 08, 2011, 09:10:21 am »
wow some real overstated comments here.
90% of drivers are not drunk. dunno where that comes from.

and I ride my bike everyday to work, and never really found it any more dangerous than to other big cities.
Bikes are dangerous in the first place anyway.

Re: Riding bikes in Korea? Suicidal??
« Reply #43 on: March 31, 2012, 09:32:42 am »
Biking in Korea certainly can be an easy way to fulfill a death wish.  However, I think there are things you can do to help prolong your survival by a few days.

Buy a BRIGHT rear light or a series of lights. Don't give drivers a chance to tell themselves they didn't see you. A front light is also good. Make them flash. Remember that these are important investments.

Look around CONSTANTLY. Get lots of neck and eye exercise. Know that it will take time to learn to predict erratic behavior from drivers and pedestrians in this country, so you have to be hyper aware.

Use HAND SIGNALS. if you don't want to get run over, show the traffic what you're doing. Just hold out a hand when you're moving left or right (or when you want traffic to give you some room). Most drivers will appreciate it, but be aware that plenty will still be jerks and not give you a safe amount of space.

When you approach an intersection, do so cautiously. Korean car windows are often almost opaque, making making eye contact with drivers a pipe dream. WAVE YOUR HAND CRAZILY at them. This will (maybe) help then acknowledge your humanity and apply their brake so you don't go flying over their hood.

Korean pedestrians ZIGZAG WALK. This is a true fact. if you're riding on a sidewalk, use your voice or a bell to alert them. However, it might make them jump in front of you instead. Also, they see you, but they don't. Wrap your mind around that one.

The biggest tip of all for urban riding is always remember--everyone everywhere wants to kill you. Also, remember that everyone everywhere wants to steal your bike. Get a good lock and/or keep your beautiful bike inside your locked house. (RIP my stolen bike)

Some recommended reading for bike safety:
« Last Edit: March 31, 2012, 09:39:20 am by rainesbaines »

  • madison79
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1378

    • October 19, 2010, 01:26:04 pm
    • Interweb
Re: Riding bikes in Korea? Suicidal??
« Reply #44 on: March 31, 2012, 10:31:53 am »
Hand signals only work if the person knows or cares what you're trying to tell them.  :P
It's -ev to deal with some people.

  • UknowsI
  • Adventurer

    • 39

    • October 21, 2011, 02:05:18 pm
    • Daejeon
Re: Riding bikes in Korea? Suicidal??
« Reply #45 on: April 02, 2012, 11:17:34 am »
Biking in the streets is probably safe 99.9% of the time, but that means I'll experience that 0.1% every 3 years of biking on average. Personally I have made an effort to find out which areas have good bike paths and which does not, and try to pick destinations where I can use those paths. I don't like in Seoul, so I expect it to be quite a bit better here, and I'm able to do all relevant errands by bike, but there are certain areas I wouldn't go to because it would be as slow as walking if I was to use the sidewalk and too dangerous if I was going to bike in the road.