Hitting the hundred

(110 Kms)

Thursday, 21 Sept, 2017

Seoul - Yeoju

We had done a reconnaissance yesterday to find the bike path, so we were confident we knew where we were going, when we left the house around 6:45am, not too far off our 6:30 aim. However, we managed to head up over a bridge that would take us to the wrong side of the river. It seems that a light purple on our Korean mapping app, Naver Maps means an underground route. That sorted, we finally found the Hangang River, which would keep us company for the next 40kms. There were a number of cyclists on the path, whilst pedestrians had their own dedicated lane.

Heading the wrong way up the bridge

Early morning commuter traffic

We made it to the river

We saw a very different side of Seoul as we travelled beneath, or beside, the motorways, one off which was built in the river. Otherwise, the river was deserted, and numerous weirs meant that it was not navigable for river traffic. Along the bike path were many outdoor gyms, as well as badminton and basketball courts.

Riding along the cycle path under the freeway

Many bridges across the river

Freeways built over the river

Jonno taking time out for a few pull downs

After some 30kms the towering apartment blocks began to dwindle in number and size, and the views became more rural. At one point there were a number of tents and tables being set up in readiness for some big event that involved swathes of fenced off flowers and important looking men striding purposefully along the corralled flower beds.

Wildflowers beside the cycle path

A flower sculpture

We had a brief stop for a drink and a snack, and watched as a young lady passed us, playing the harmonica. We headed on, through a little village, with a bakery right on the cycle path. We decided it was time for a coffee, and that our recent snack was just not enough. So we parked the bikes, only to find that the bakery wasn't due to open for another hour. However, they opened the doors specially for us. The coffee was excellent, and Jonno and Georgia enjoyed their enormous blueberry smoothies (that included rather a lot of added sugar).

Coffee, smoothies and cake for morning tea

Georgia's blueberry smoothie

We were now ready for our next leg, which involved a number of tunnels, some of which changed colour as we passed. A Korean cyclist was following us, and every time we entered a tunnel, his K-pop music would resonate, adding additional atmosphere.

Into one of the many tunnels

Tunnel Art

We stopped at Yangpyeong for lunch, with just almost 70kms complete. We found a street of restaurants just off the bike path, and settled for the one with the best photos of the meals on offer. A wise choice, as it turned out the owner spoke English, and the food was excellent, a Japanese/Korean fusion that was very tasty. Knowing that we still had over 30kms to go, we decided it would be a good idea to try a Korean Dunkin Donut (something I would never eat at home)

The ride out was beautiful, through a park and along the river. The leaves were just starting to change colour and the ride was flat and easy. Then the path stopped and we were on the road, with a 10% gradient for around 500metres. Down the other side we passed through a park full of statues of African animals - most odd.

The statue zoo

We passed the Ipoh-bo weir, which was most impressive, and crossed a dedicated cycleway/pedestrian bridge and then headed into Yeoju. We looked for the Ann Motel, which had been recommended through the Seoul to Busan and beyond facebook page, and were happy with our choice as the room was clean and could accommodate all of us for 70,000 won (about $77 AUD). Our total distance for the day before dinner was 104 kilometres

We broke to ton!

We used Naver maps to identify an area with lots of restaurants about three kilometres away and cycled there for dinner. In many of the restaurants people were eating out of wide, flat pans that sat on a burner in the centre of the table. We decided that this must be the local speciality and ordered the same. It came with a bowl filled with an icy broth with some kind of pickled white radish, which Jonno and Simon quite liked. The pan was filled with chicken, cabbage, slices of taro, and tubes of rice cake in a spicy sauce. It was delicious, and went down well wrapped in lettuce leaves, and accompanied by a cold beer.

The pickled white radish

Georgia is not too sure about this

The chicken dish cooking away

Dinner done, we picked up a few groceries for tomorrow, and headed back to the motel for a well-earned sleep.