Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Expat Cyclist Plans Mammoth Journey -Korean Times, Wednesday July 15, 2009

Brian Perich heads out onto the open road in a recent cycling trip in Korea. The 36-year-old Canadian, who organizes the informal local cycling club Cycling International, is planning a mammoth journey from the Canadian Arctic to South America in aid of two North American charities.
/ Courtesy of Brian Perich

By Bryan Kay
Staff Reporter

Canadian Lays Groundwork to Recruit for Trans-American Charity Effort From Alaska

When Brian Perich arrived back in Korea late in 2006, it was perhaps only a matter of time before he bought a mountain bike and started to pound the tarmac snaking around the country.

Indeed, it wasn't long before the 36-year-old Canadian, who lives in Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, picked up a bargain basement set of spoked wheels to help quench his thirst for the open road.

The founder of Cycling International, an informal group of Korean and expat cyclists set up in February 2007, has a goal of seismic proportions: to bike from the Canadian Arctic, as far south as he can possibly go ― and he wants fellow enthusiasts to join him for the ride.

Perich, originally from Windsor, Ontario, can trace his love for cycling back to the 1980s when he was part of several road-racing clubs [Caboto & Maple Leaf Cycling Clubs, Windsor, Ontario]*.

``(Back then) I was not really into it. But it must have been about 1990, though, when I came across touring," he explained. ``So, I took a few friends, we got up early, and in 10 hours we did 240 kilometers. And we cycled back.
'' [Grand Bend, Ontario]

There began a love story that has spiraled 19 years ― taking in Canada, the United States and Korea ― involved a flirtation with motor-biking thousands of kilometers, and now has the English teacher aiming to head for Anchorage, Alaska, in 2012 to embark upon his mammoth journey across the Americas.

The grand plan has the dual aims of raising cash for charity and as an outlet for his energies. And Perich hopes to encourage others to join him on the trip ― or at the very least join one of Korea's cycling groups.

``I started out around Ansan, then Suwon, then toward Pyeongtaek,'' he said. ``From there I started to go out to the east coast… and eventually all the way down to Busan.

``Over the course of the last two years, I have been meeting random people. That's what brought about Cycling International, through a Facebook group. It is just about trying to get like-minded people together.''

But the ultimate goal is his trans-Americas mission, which he has dubbed ``One Cycle, One Man (+Riders), One Charity, Global Bike from the Arctic.''

``What this is ultimately about is training and preparing for the ride to the Arctic all the way down, perhaps all the way to the bottom of South America,'' Perich continued. ``I want to get people inspired. I've already got a company ready to give me a discount for a bike.''

The charities he has earmarked as the beneficiaries of his fund-raising effort ― the Canadian and American branches of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation ― are to act as a guiding network for the arduous journey.

The non-profit organization Get Your Guts in Gear would be the spur, helping organize presentations at key locations [several US locations, 200 miles rides]* on his route, where he says he could stage motivational presentations that could lead to donations to the cause.

``The cycling is more a means of survival for me here. The teaching thing is done for me. I want to pour myself into this. After motorcycling for so many years and with the emphasis on the environment and being green, this seems like the right thing,'' said Perich.

``There are so many people who have accumulated thousands of kilometers doing things like this, and there are more organized cycling groups here in Korea worth looking into.''

Anyone interested in finding out more about cycling groups in Korea or Perich's Arctic mission can contact him at 010-2657-5126 or email tesol2000@gmail.com.
Source: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/special/2009/07/177_48460.html

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About the Korean-World Author

Brian Perich was an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) lecturer for a decade, father, and adventure cyclist based in South Korea.

Previously, Brian has led Canoe adventures in Quetico Provincial Park, Atikokan, Ontario, Canada (1993/1999); led Grand American camping adventures (2000); lived at Paramahansa Yogananda's SRF Ashram for 5 months (see the film "AWAKE"), formerly worked in titanium welding at Agilent Technologies, formerly worked in Winery industry in Marin County with Kendall Jackson in California; Surfing and Meditation continued for several years in California, British Columbia, South Korea, Yoga training in California 1999-2000.

Between 1994-1998 - Brian completed his own adventures with motorcycles. His motorcycling marathons took him across the United States and central/western Canada, while traveling solo over an astounding 24,000km in 60 days! Brian endured 900 mile/1300km average days in the motorcycle saddle and apparently loved every minute of those adventures.

Today, he has given up motorcycle adventures altogether, but finds an outlet for his enthusiasm in outdoor recreation while bicycle touring and micro-blogging about those experiences on his mountain bikes.

While employed as an English teacher in South Korea, Brian has became an advocate for bicycle touring on his mountain bikes. The Korean-World blog originated from those small adventures in Korea, now expanded to cover his recent trek down the TransMongolian highway to the Gobi Desert, cycling 900km east through the Khentii grasslands and in 2012 crossing Mongolia in 45 days, 2500 kilometers 1553 miles. HimalayasX expedition Brian previously cycled across western China, the Taklamakan Desert, the northern Himalayas of East Turkestan Xinjiang/Uyghur Autonomous Region, the corrugated back roads and mountains of Kham Tibet. Brian successfully completed his 2011 mountain bike expedition with 3200 kilometers / 1988 miles unsupported, on/off road MTB adventure cycling.
Brian has completed his second mountain bike journey, MongoliaX expedition - Crossing Mongolia 2012, an unsupported mountain bike MTB expedition across 2500km of Outer Mongolia from Ulanbaatar to Altai Taven-Bogd National Park bordering China, Russia and Mongolia.

In 2013, as a sequel to a trilogy of cycle tours, Brian enjoyed a more leisure bicycle tour onboard his Koga-Miyata World Traveller seeing the northern tier of the United States and western Canada covering 3400 kilometers / 2000 miles in 30 days. This North American cycle tour was called Totherocktour. Enjoying the adventure of bicycle travel and every great conversation started while traveling on the road - has refueled his inspirations to cycle around the Earth. In 2013, while he cycled solo from the Great Lake State of Michigan, United States to Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. He weaved through local communities and reconnected with friends, family and community after spending almost a decade in Asia.

Brian is now supporting several non-profit foundations through expeditions: IDEAS Foundation of Canada IDEAS is the acronym for Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society which supports the IBD community, those suffering from IBD-inflammatory bowel disease, also known as Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis.

The second non-profit foundation is ETE.ORG - Education Through Expeditions, UK which supports educational outreach programs inside schools around the world. ETE connects explorers with students in the classroom, through an interactive online program in development (Beta).

Brian is researching support for a 18000 kilometer bicycle expedition across the Americas: North, Central and South America - ONE -Arctic to Argentina
Please contact him if you are interested in helping out.

Twitter: Cycleagain
Location: Gangneung, Gangwon-do, South Korea or southern Ontario, Canada.

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Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

Brian's friends have also been...Cycling in Korea!

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Cycling in Korea, Warning: always wear a helmet! (I gave mine to my friend)

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