Friday, October 28, 2011

Repost: Arirang News - Han River Bicycle Path to Extend to Busan

Repost: Han River Bicycle Path to Extend to Busan [Cycling in Korea]

Obsolete train tracks along the South Han River have been transformed into a new bicycle path. The 26.8-km path spans the western outskirts of Seoul to Yangpyong in Gyeonggi Province. The nostalgic landscape attracts lots of riders from around the country. What used to be a train tunnel is now filled with passing bicyclists.
A man rides a bicycle along the South Han River. /Courtesy of Ministry of Public Administration and SecurityA man rides a bicycle along the South Han River. /Courtesy of Ministry of Public Administration and Security
An obsolete train station has also been transformed into a resting place for visitors, where pedestrians can take a stroll around the old railways. The steel bridge of the North Han River has been renovated with a bicycle path too, giving riders the chance to watch the river. 

The bicycle path will extend down to Busan along the Nakdong River from November this year. The government is also working on other bicycle paths along two Yeongsan and Geum Rivers, with a view to completing them by next month as well. 

With the rapid increase in the number of bicycle riders in the nation, the government says it is planning to construct even more bicycle paths around the country.  [Credits: Arirang News]

Old Railway Line along South Han River Becomes Part of Cycling Trail(October 8, 2011)Section between Paldang Station of Namyangju and Yanggeun Bridge in Yangpyeong County transformed into cycling trailPresident Lee and Governor Kim cycle along the trail after the opening on October 8th
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Construction of the South Han River Cycling Trail began in February of 2011 as part of the Save the Han River Project, and was followed by its opening just seven months later on October 8th. President Lee Myung-bak and Governor Kim Moon-soo visited the newly opened trail for a bicycle ride. ⓒ 
Images from CheongwadaeFor the first time in Korea, an old unused railway line and bridge have been converted into a cycling trail along the South Han River in Gyeonggi Province. It is the first sector of a planned 702km cycling trail that will run across Korea.Gyeonggi Province celebrated the opening of the cycling trail with VIP guests President Lee Myung-bak, First Lady Kim Yoon-ok as well as Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo and Ministers Kwon Jae-jin, Maeng Hyung-kyu, and Kwon Do-youp of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Administration and Security, and Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, respectively. Two-thousand cyclists from various clubs assembled to witness the opening of the South Han River Cycling Trail.The South Han River Cycling Trail opened just seven months after its construction began in February as part of the Save the Han River Project, using disused railway tracks and a metal bridge. The trail covers a 26.8km-long stretch of old railway line between Paldang Station in Namyangju and Yanggeun Bridge in Yangpyeong County. The project cost KRW 16.2 billion in government funds, KRW 3.27 billion in provincial government funds, and KRW 4.43 billion from city and county offices, amounting to KRW 23.9 billion in total.Now the cycling trail that used to connect Seoul and Paldang Station has been extended to Yangpyeong, which is expected to stimulate the economies of Namyangju and Yangpyeong and also to boost the number of cyclists.The Gyeonggi Provincial Government explained that, once completed, the cycling trail will start at Incheon, run through Seoul and across the South Han River and Sobaek Mountain, follow the Nakdong River and end in Busan. It will be a pan-Korean cycling trail that spans a length of 702 kilometers.

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The South Han River Cycling Trail utilizes the out-of-service railway and bridge along the river to create a cycling trail. The trail begins at Paldang Station in Namyangju and ends at Yanggeun Bridge, spanning a 26.8km sector. Guests at the opening event take souvenir pictures before the track’s official opening. Images provided by Cheongwadae
The South Han River Cycling Trail’s greatest charms are the Historic Site of Dasan, Paldang Dam, and Dumulmeori, which exemplify the South Han River’s natural beauty. The old train stations, railway line, and metal bridges that dot the path are worth a romantic or nostalgic visit.
The North Han River Bridge was built in 1939 but destroyed during the Korean War, and was not rebuilt until 1952. Now it is decorated with lights that come on at night, and the tunnel’s interior is illuminated with sensor-controlled lighting to minimize electricity consumption.A local government official said, “We were able to cut costs by utilizing already existing structures. There are no steep hills along the trail so it is convenient for the whole family to visit. Not only does it connect Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, but the entire stretch is surrounded by beautiful scenery. I have no doubt it will become one of the finest cycling trails in the world.The opening ceremony’s theme was ‘Communication (placing roads + new encounters + development)’ featuring bicycle stunt performances, bicycle riding events, cycling group parades, and the South Han River Photography Exhibition.
The President, Governor Kim Moon-soo, and other VIP guests rode their bikes down 9 km of the newly opened track.
In his congratulatory speech, Governor Kim said, “The South Han River Cycling Trail is truly magnificent. Thanks to the Save the Han River Project, the South Han River and the North Han River have recovered their cleanliness, flooding has been prevented, and a nice public area along the river has been created. I am sure the local residents are delighted.” The governor persuaded the President to support Gyeonggi Province’s plan to rejuvenate 2,700 streams and rivers in the province. [Credits: gnews korea]

 Oh my! This is definitely big news for cyclists in Korea.

KOREA | World Bike Show 2011

With 20% of South Korea’s population, a sophisticated, health-conscious, consumer market and local government investment of KRW1.833 trillion (EUR1,140,000,000) into public transport infrastructure, Seoul city should seem a logical location for a bicycle exhibition. But why doesn’t anyone go?
"Attention, citizens of Seoul - the 2010 Seoul Bicycle Show is now open. Hello? Anyone there?"
In spite of this peninsula nation sitting comfortably within the top 20 global economies and enjoying the same per-capita GDP as Italy (four times greater than neighbouring China), cycling has failed to capture broad-scale public imagination. In some respects, this is understandable. Any new visitor to Seoul will immediately notice two things after leaving one of the city’s two airports: cars and more cars. There would be few places in the world that appear as unappealing to ride safely on a bicycle.
However, change is underway. 1,200km of new cycling paths, spreading from Incheon in the northwest (one hour drive from Seoul downtown) to Busan in the southeast, are in development under a government-funded initiative to enthuse more of South Korea’s nearly 50 million citizens into healthier lifestyles.
Contemporary working professionals are ditching the ubiquitous golf clubs and heading out on expensive hardtail mountain bikes along the cycling paths of the mighty Han River. Road bike uptake, previously representing less than 10% of the bicycle market, is also increasing noticeably.
Seoul’s über-trendy (and often English-speaking) youth, fibre-optically hard-wired into global trends, are also embracing cycling in growing numbers. The fringe sub-cultures – fixed-gear bikes being a great example – are especially popular with these brand-savvy neophytes.
The Seoul Bike Show, most recently held at the gleaming COEX center in fashionable Gangnam-gu, attempted to provide a platform for international brands to engage this growing consumer base. Backed by numerous local government departments and the Korea Bicycle Import Incorporated Association, the show had sufficient financial support to succeed.
Unfortunately, the timing was terrible. Scheduled in December – mid-winter, and many months after new model-year product had been launched – until 2009, the show’s metrics were disappointing. Even at a relatively low cost of USD2,000 for a 3x3m booth, only 200 brands (note: individual exhibitors often display several brands) exhibited. Over the exhibition’s three days, 26,000 visitors attended; 3,000 of these were industry-related.
Compared with the 42,000 visitors (also over three days) and 500 exhibitors at Expobici – one of two national shows in Italy, the other being EICA, held in July – the published numbers may not appear too bad. However, anyone attending the show in Seoul – myself included – would have serious doubts about the published numbers.
After skipping 2010, the organizers shifted the show to March in 2011, but even that didn’t engage the industry nor the public. So how will the 2011 Korea World Bicycle Show, scheduled for 21-23 October at the Korea International Exhibition Center (KINTEX) in Ilsan city, Seoul, last the distance?
Firstly, the numbers look promising. According to the show’s secretariat, 150 exhibitors and 43,000 visitors attended the inaugural event in 2010, with targeted growth of 40% for 2011.
Moreover, the support base is robust. Three bicycle industry associations (including the Korea Bicycle Manufacturers Association) and five government departments are backing the 2011 event. Green Growth Korea, part of a multi-national organization focused on environmentally-sustainable industrial and economic growth, is also a major supporter.
Most importantly, the timing is favourable. Whilst peak summer conditions have passed, early adopters will have the opportunity to see some new-season models for the first time at the show – rather than unglamorously shoehorned into one of Seoul’s typically over-full bike stores.
However, if World Bike fails to succeed in spite of these positive factors, it may fall into the heap – alongside Bike Asia in Singapore and other dumped national exhibitions – leaving China Bicycle Show in Shanghai as the exclusive regional event. The proof will be in the attendance figures – hopefully not manipulated – after the show’s conclusion next week.
More information:
20-23 October, 2011 | KINTEX, Seoul

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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!

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

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

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