Thursday, January 26, 2012

Daegwallyeong Journey Up :: Micro Adventures in South Korea :: Explore! // Microadventures by Brian Peric

Micro Adventures are all about local missions to great areas within your bike's or leg's ability to adventure to! For a few friends I know here, it's usually surfing, SUP paddle boarding, climbing, hiking or just cycling for their best daily 'micro' outdoor adventures. The adventure begins when friends motivate us beyond our cold-weather barriers! Here's my friend Chris and I while out cycling in Gangwon-do, South Korea...
I learned the art of MTB touring in 2007 (minimalist, a Tupperwear box strapped to a MTB rear rack and go!).  A few years later, in summer of 2010, I experimented with more minimalist camping equipment. Using a Tesco ($10) sleeping bag, foam pad (cutout from the children's play pads $5), and a basic tent (dual pole, $15) I realized some backyard adventures could be had with little expense as far as equipment was concerned. As well, I still use foam/foil piping insulation wrap on the bicycle frame crossbar to protect from paint chips and sweat, and to act as a platform for the tent strapped with bungee cords to the frame when going for the light-weight micro adventures.  It's so simple, try wrapping the bungee from seat post and weave around the handlebar stem, it works great!  If you are ready to equip your mountain bike for longer touring or expeditions, here's a few more ideas that I can share here.

Finally, in preparation for my first long-endurance MTB tour expedition (HimalayasX2011) I switched to front and rear racks, both simple aluminum products (U-bolt front racks $20secured with PVC zipper ties!, the aluminum rear rack was a sponsor-donated $50 a Topeak Supertourist DX Disc, compatible with disc brakes). Panniers done simple/waterproof, Ortlieb Rollerback Classics & Ultimate 5 handlebar bag (more than change out of your pocket, but durable and long-lasting, worth the initial and in the long term investment! Pack your gear in these and go! Micro adventures are yours!

Ice, stones and bikes! Chris rides a beautiful carbon-frame Scott Scale 30 (Shimano SLX/XT group), and I have the old reliable all-aluminum Blackcat (Shimano SLX/LX group), tires on both bikes are Schwalbe Marathon, Chris's Scott Scale 30 now has Schwalbe Marathon 26x1.75 (70psi tires fully pumped, recommended for all MTB types with or without panniers) and mine are Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tour 26x2.0 (70psi fully pumped, 1100g per tire, expedition quality-recommended for carrying 40kg of equipment plus a 70-100kg+ rider, tested on the Himalayas of Western China without any punctures, reliability!).
Logging trucks from the 1950's still driven throughout Gangneung area where the minimal pine forests are systematically logged. Imagine miniature forested areas around here, limited biodiversity because of this activity, there are the occasional deer and recently in 2011, I spotted a rare mountain lion (Cougar) near Jeongseon, Gangwon Province, Korea. The birdsong, ground squirrels, and other species of wildlife are not to be seen along these rural routes, but can be discovered deeper in the mountains while travel is on foot.
 Namdae-cheon River west of Gangneung. This small tributary of the coastal mountains flows directly to the East Sea, where fresh water meets the inner passage of the Pacific Ocean between Japan and Korea. 
Daewallyeong (Hwy 35 to Hwy 456 in Gangneung, Gangwon-do, South Korea) is the route to 983 meters or 1000 meters, if you venture past the Sheep farm (children park) and take the bike to the top!
 The mini geyser streams year-round, it's iced over right now, outdoor temperatures range from -0 to -20 C
 The Daegwallyeong -Ride to the top! A Micro Adventure in Korea
 Temperatures hovering between 0 to -10 Celsius, climbing 1000 meters, changes the outer layering quite a bit. I always wear Pearl Izumi Lobster claw (Barrier) gloves, but tested out a Sugoi merino wool jersey.
 Chris out with his Scott Scale 30 MTB, an amazing hardtail now wrapped with Schwalbe Marathons!
 With a Micro Adventure, all you really need is creativity to enjoy the winter weather conditions. Layers help!
 I packed all my panniers with the equipment for an S24O (Sub 24-hour Overnight). 50kg of bike and panniers carrying everything from the tent to cook stove, notebook computer...definitely heats you up!
 Hwy 456 is also known as Daegwallyeong in South Korea which eventually links to Hwy 5 (going to Seoul)
 Once we reached above 800 meters, it was a winter wonderland
 My friend Chris kindly paced with me, we have different MTBs, but its still wild trying keep up!
 Cycling in winter, the conditions are great with high visibility due to onshore winds and lower atmospheric humidity along the mountains of northeastern Korea. This is the first experience cycling in -5 to -10 Celsius with only the Merino wool short sleeve jersey.

 I've gained a lot of momentum cycling with Chris these days. I would like to thank him in this blog update!
 It's just an awesome feeling riding up into the mountains. Very hard work, but the efforts give you more joy!
 These locations are only few hours apart, from the winter coastal conditions to the mountains.
 Get naturally high - Go cycling in winter!
 About 950 meters up there is parking for bikes, hot chocolate and a piping hot wood stove to warm up
 Several observation decks that overlook the ocean and the city of Gangneung, Korea 
 You'll find a heated mushroom toilet about 800 meters above sea level.
 This training is to prepare for a 32,000km multi-staged expedition
 Getting higher with mountain cycling
Navigation maps aren't necessary here, but for cross-county cycling it definitely helps. Maps of Korea are free at the tourist welcome center located on the north shore of Gyeong-po Lake in Gangneung City.

 We stopped in for lunch at the Wind Hill Cafe. I like the cast iron wood stove, heats and dries all the cycling gear in minutes. This is a great place to prepare for the ride to Jinbu (25km) and turn south towards Taebaek on Hwy 35, which snakes it's way through the eastern mountains across Korea. Great area to explore!
 Micro Adventurers in South Korea
[Later in the day...]
Chris returned to Gangneung and I continued towards Jinbu in the Pyeongchang-gun area, this is the view back to the coast towards Daegwallyeong, on Hwy 456
 This is MTB bicycle touring with a 50-60kg bike and load. I have notebook computer, digital cameras, video camera, electronic chargers, USB power-charger, tent, -20 sleeping bag, Theramarest, stove, pots, water, pasta, tomato sauce for a few days, spare chain, Topeak Alien II bicycle multi-tool, spare tube/patches, pump, clothing layers, everything I will need for an overnight survival mission.
 & now a thermostat and hydrometer  (:
 Full barrier for -20 Celsius and above, I haven't seen cycling weather colder yet!
 Odometer/speedometer, bike alarm (green), horn (red), mirror, map case & Ortlieb Ultimate handlebar bag
Micro Adventures start with YOU, go for it without regrets!

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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.

Thanks for visiting my Journal from Asia

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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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