Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Cycling Gangwon's coast: Sokcho to Gangneung

Today, I had the day off and so began what I hope to be several days of cycling and exploring. My goal this week is to get to the Kyoungsangbuk border. I also hope to off a sort of online travel guide at some point, open up a dedicated blogspot page for cycling information.

Today's trip, however, will offer little for intrepid cyclists. The weather threatened rain all day, and in fact rain was forecast for the afternoon. It didn't arrive until evening but the day was at best cloudy and frequently cool.

Most of the ride, I didn't dally for photos, but just got the distance in. Which is too bad, because Gangneung has a few interesting sights that I rode on by.

Anyway, here are a few photos from today plus a handful from previous trips to points along the way. You will notice that my clothing changes, the season changes and even my bike changes from shot to shot.

I know some good alternate routes for the route from Sokcho to Hajodae and may show them the next time I post a map. Most of my trip today was on Highway 7 and most of my pictures from today are of my misadventures resulting from leaving highway 7. There are a few good places to ride through villages to get off the highway but none are very long. That's too bad because the highway lacks a paved shoulder in quite a few places. I felt safe but only because the road was not particularly busy.

Heading south on highway 7 from Sokcho, I stayed on the highway until I reached Naksansa. From the temple, I was able to hug the coastline for about 10 km.

About 2 km from the temple, I crossed the Namdaechun (a river) and a few km after that, I passed Osanri Prehistoric site. Don't bother hunting for it. There is an english sign but it just says that items were found here and taken away. There's nothing to see.

nothing to see here Posted by Hello

Beyond that is a sign for a beach. It's a great beach but the road is a dead end.

deadend Posted by Hello

If you are feeling real tough and have something to prove, try playing on the meanest volleyball court. Look at those stones!

badass Volleyball court Posted by Hello

Eventually, the backroad reaches the highway. In the interests of helping my readers, I tried to stay on the back roads. Here, I cross some drying nets; they're everywhere along the coast. I saw tracks deforming the nets so I felt secure walkng over them.

walking over nets Posted by Hello

Here is the first place I had to walk. The trail was passable by mountain bike but not by road bike.

walking through soft sand Posted by Hello

Hajodae is a pleasant scenic site, one of the gwandong (8 special sites), my university is named for.

Hajodae Posted by Hello

From Hajodae, I stayed on the highway until Dongsan, where I was able to ride through the village for two or more km to Hyu-hyu-am. The villages were nice, but the road is not suitable for speed; expect a sightseeing trip not a race.

Hyu-hyu-am is a hermitage, or small temple based on strangely shaped rocks on the coast. It's a pretty and quite famous site here.

Hyu-hyu-am Posted by Hello

Hyu-hyu-am Posted by Hello

I then rode on the highway to the interchange with toll highway 50. I followed a new, multi-lane road to the beach and found about 200m of great road. Then...

walking 2 Posted by Hello

I walked my bike again and reached a paving stone road that went past the Gangwon office of the Sea Explorers of Korea, a Korean version of Sea Scouts. In the early summer, they have a festival weekend where you can play on their toys and boats

Sea explorers of Korea getting help from the old master (me). Posted by Hello

The paving stone road continued to Jumunjin and this...

walking 3 Posted by Hello

After Jumunjin, I stayed on the highway. I rode through Jumunjin and lost two screws on my bikerack. A kindly welder found some screws for me and I was again off.

There were some good sites between Jumunjin and Gangneung but the day was getting colder and darker. The trip from Sokcho to Kwandong University in Gangneung took three and a half hours and was 70km long.


skindleshanks said...

I'm looking to buy a bike (something sturdy and comfortable, not really for long distances, though.) Where's a good place in Sokcho to look, and what Korean bikes are worth looking at?

kwandongbrian said...

There is a shop next to D-mart, across from Chung-cho Lake Park, that I think is pretty good. E-mart has bikes, as well. I really don't know much about northern Sokcho; there may be other shops that way.

There are many good bike brands in Korea, especially in the basic mountain bike category. I don't have any brandnames for you, aluminum frames are popular and Shimano is a good name for the hardware on the bike. I had a good mountain bike with front shocks that I felt comfortable on for local trips. I didn't like it for trips over 15km, too slow and my back got sore.

My bike cost 180,000 won. My current road bike was much more, but is not as sturdy.
I hope that helps.