Ibike Korea People-to-People Program

 

Photo essay: Gumi to Daegu to Suncheon

Gumi to Daegu (40km, 25mi) to Suncheon (by bus, 200km) A multimodal day with a mix of rural and urban bicycling.
Points of Interest:  beautiful hills, rivers and valleys, Suncheon "Ecological Capital"

     
Suncheonman Bay reeds and wetland, Korea There is a choice of cities for starting a tour up the west coast.  If you end up in Suncheon one of its assets is a large wet land. The field of reeds is home to many plants that thrive in damp conditions, like the common reed and the starwort. Among all of the world’s wetlands, Suncheonman Bay is widely known for attracting the largest number of rare birds. Such internationally rare birds as theBicycle trail to Suncheonman Bay reed field / wetland, Korea hooded crane, white-napped crane, white stork, black-faced spoonbill, and the Eurasian  Oystercatcher, as well as birds designated as natural treasures, are spotted here. There are about 140 species of birds including the snipe, wild duck, shelduck, and wild goose.

For the bicyclist, at least the edges of the wetland are accessible from nice bicycle trail that runs from town to the wetland, mostly along the Suncheon river.

In contrast, over the hill, in Gwangyang, 20 km east (12 miles) is the largest steel mill in the world.

Suncheon hi-tech bike share program, Korea Suncheon hi-tech bike share program, KoreaEven if you arrive without a bicycle you will be in luck because Suncheon has a hi-tech bike share program.  The text instructions are in Hangul, but there might be enough universal illustration to facilitate a non-Hangul reader to check-out a bike.  I had a bike at the time so I didn't need to match my wits against the system.
Suncheon, itself, seems to be a relatively normal mid-size town.  It has a central market, short fashion street, a couple hotels, not a great variety of restaurants, and a lot small business selling goods from A to Z.  It is the self-proclaimed "Ecological Capital" of Korea.  One of its nicest features in a river running through the town.  On its banks are recreational facilities and trails for the community to enjoy.

As I was out taking the pulse of the town I came to a bike store selling "Seattle 26GS".  The 26 referred to the wheel size.  Using "Seattle" to market it was intriguing -- other than Seattle is suppose to be one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the USA, but the bar is not too high..

Intending to intersect with the Yeongsan River, we headed northwest across the southwest corner of the country.  Big highways have pulled most of the traffic off of most of the small roads for most of the journey.  The bicycling is consistently excellent so you have to remember not to take it for granted.  While it lasts, the country side is so beautiful with its mix of farms and forest, and the country roads are in such good condition, with generally low traffic volumes (unless there is a large construction site near by, which is transitive.)  With good regularity, there are interesting things along the way to keep it stimulating.
 

Gumi Yeongsan

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