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Day Ten – Cheongju City to Yongin City
7�� 31st, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Korea
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Today’s Distance / 今日の走行距離:91.07km
Time on bike / 走行時間:5h 16m
Average speed / 平均速度:17.2km/h
Total distance to date / 現在までの積算距離:518.5km
Money used / 予算使用:40,000KRW (NZ$67, US$41)

I’ve worked it out. The answer to it all lies in one thing.


And other sweet things like Gatorade and more icecreams. You see, I never was one to eat snacks between meals. While in Japan, even if I was given cake or other snacks, they would end up going off in my fridge. I never got around to eating them. Now I realise the truth in my mentor David’s words that sweet things are good (David was a fellow workmate who worked wonders in trying to fatten me up before leaving on the adventure).

I find now that if I have two or three sweet icecreams between my main meals, my body is much happier. Mentally it is much better also. It also takes time to eat an icecream. This gives me a chance to sit down in the shade and cool off for a few minutes before carrying on. Getting on the road by 6:30am each day makes a huge difference also.

I am of course talking about distance. I guess my body is getting used to the weight of the bike over the past ten days, but I am getting some much more reasonable distances under my belt.

Along with distance is time. I can stay on the road for longer. This does however lead to other problems such as ‘ashphalt syndrome’. This is a term that I have coined, however I believe that with the proper research it will soon be proven to be a true and proper phenomenom. That is, when one is subjected to long hours on a strange contraption that allows you to lie back and relax while pedalling, one becomes quite stark raving mad. I offer the following evidence to back up my theory:

  • Songs sung today in a very loud voice (about half an hour per song)
    - I Will Survive
    - It’s a Long Way to Tipareri
    - There’s a Hole in Me Bucket (note the ‘me’ rather than ‘my’)
  • Accent immitations attempted (also in a very loud voice)
    - Most of the characters from the movies Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. My favourite was Hatchet Harry’s henchman along with the bad guy with the pigs out of Snatch.
    - Much time was spent perfecting my Scottish accent, with particular emphasis on the ‘r’ sound.

Perhaps this also has something to do with the number of icecreams I consumed today. It may however be just due to the joy I felt after not dying in the freakiest tunnel known to man:

Want a heart stopping thrill ride? / バンジージャンプより怖い

 Oh man that was a thriller.

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Day Nine – Songju City to Cheongju City (English Summary)
7�� 30th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Korea
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Today’s Distance / 今日の走行距離:93.45km
Time on bike / 走行時間:5h 55m
Average speed / 平均速度:15.7km/h
Total distance to date / 現在までの積算距離:427.4km
Money used / 予算使用:44,000KRW (5,300JPY)

English summary:Two things I learned about Korea today – Korea is hot. And Korea is hilly. Crossed three passes today and wrang my shirt out at the top of each. I mean really. Lots of sweat. Gatorade was the hero of the day. Drank four litres of the stuff. Along with about the same amount of water. Height of the highest pass was only 380m, but I felt each metre of it.



Lock me up officer / 逮捕してください


Korean mountains / 韓国の山


Cruisin' / ゆっくりと


Peppers / トウガラシ

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Day Eight – Day off in Seongju City
7�� 29th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Korea
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Today’s Distance / 今日の走行距離:11.10km
Time on bike / 走行時間:40m
Average speed / 平均速度:16.6km/h
Total distance to date / 現在までの積算距離:334.0km
Money used / 予算使用:8,000KRW (NZ$13, US$8.40)

I liked this town so much that I decided to take a day off here. The main event was the local Bicycle Museum. It is about 5km out of town, but they have a cycle path running from town right to the front gate of the museum. Did I mention that this town is friendly to cyclists? It is very friendly to cyclists. Pity that that fact has made no impression on the use of cycles. In total I have seen two cyclists in this city…

Anyway, there were many weird and wonderful cycles at the museum. There were also ones you could take for rides in the car park. Most were in disrepair. But that did not deter the many children visiting today to drag their parents over to the tandems and order them to take them for a ride. It just reminds me how much joy such a simple machine as a bicycle brings. By the way, when was the last time you rode double with someone? You know, your friend pedals while you hold on for dear life, sitting on the rickety carrier. I have decided that even grown-ups need to ride double sometimes…the kids were loving it. For all the bike photos, check out my flickr.com account.

Green Machine / グリーンマシン

Other than that, due to the rain I have just been hanging out in my motel room doing some handwashing of clothes. Tomorrow will be another early start with a big climb over the alps to start the day.

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Day Seven – Taegu City to Seongju City (English Summary)
7�� 28th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Korea
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Today’s Distance / 今日の走行距離:98.70km
Time on bike / 走行時間:5h 55m
Average speed / 平均速度:16.6km/h
Total distance to date / 現在までの積算距離:322.9km
Money used / 予算使用:67,000KRW

English summary: Left the motel at 6:30am to beat the heat of the day, and it payed off with me being able to do almost 100km on a smooth highway with hardly any traffic. Staying in a small town called Seongju, very friendly, has bicycle lanes and a bicycle museum. And has a strangely large amount of fried chicken restaurants. Staying here two nights.



Lunch (see sunglasses for scale) / 昼ご飯(とても大きなお盤でございます)


Dinner - Bibinba / よるご飯(石焼きビビンバ)

Fried chiken bonanza / フライド チキン!

Fried chiken bonanza / フライド チキン!

Very friendly locals / とてもフレンドリーな人たち

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Day Six – Gyeongju City to Daegu City
7�� 27th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Korea
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Today’s Distance / 今日の走行距離:About 70km
Time on bike / 走行時間
Average speed / 平均速度
Total distance to date / 現在までの積算距離
Money used / 予算使用:39,000KRW (NZ$65, US$41)

 I forgot to bring my bike computer to the net cafe so the stats will have to wait for antother day. And I am surrounded by gunfire. I’m note sure what the game is that everyone is playing, but obviously noone has discovered headphones at net cafes here.

 It has been two days of extremes. Yesterday I was wet to the bone, today I am burnt to a crisp. Left the guest house at about 9:30am after numerous photos with the other guests, and proceeded to have a very fruitful morning worth of riding. I was riding on the very generous shoulder of a highway for the whole day, which was quite alright with me. Good smooth riding with gentle ups and sweet downs. Twas very hot and I didn’t choose to apply sun block. Very dumb idea. I also did not rinse my shirt out well enough after hand washing it yesterday. Therefore I am also spotted Rob in addition to being baked Rob.

Very burnt / 焼けているとです。

I was riding very well till about 2pm when my body simply succumed to the heat. I had a very long break in the shade next to a service station where I was given a free iceblock and some biscuits, after which I continued my slog onwards towards Daegu City.

Friendly service station chap, Mr Kong. Leaves in October for military service.

In no mood to set up camp in the heat, I headed to the Daegu train station information booth where I was quickly told by the lady at the counter that “I don’t speak English”. Uh oh. “I only speak Japanese”. Then speak away, I said, and was promptly offered a full recount of the history of Daegu before I could get a word in edgewise and ask about a youth hostel. “Nearest youth hostel is 50 minutes by bus up a very large hill”. OK, so what else is there? “Many motels down the street. Ask around and you will get a good price”.

I went into the first motel I could find and was shown a room for 25,000KRW a night. In no mood to look around for somewhere cheaper, I took the room. It has a condom dispenser on the wall just as you walk in the door. A guy downstairs asked me if I had a girl for tonight. Hmmmm. I get the feeling its not often that just one person stays in a room at this motel…

Dodgy random motel / ちょっと怪し気なモテル

 Great news for the day is that I can withdraw cash from my Visa card from most convenience store ATMs.

I was a good boy and took more photos today. Mouse over for description.

Creepy crawlies / 虫達

Korean roof / 韓国の屋根

I look like this / こんな感じです

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Day Five – Just outside of Ulsan to Gyeongju City (English summary)
7�� 26th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Korea
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Today’s Distance / 今日の走行距離:28.94km
Time on bike / 走行時間:1h 56m
Average speed / 平均速度:14.9km/h
Total distance to date / 現在までの積算距離:155.8km
Money used / 予算使用:29,600KRW(NZ$49, US$31)

English summary: You know how I said that it was great weather yesterday? Yeah well that was until about 11pm at night. Massive rain turned the river to chocolate whip. My tent got wet even under the pagoda roof. Left the pagoda late at 10:30am, and headed for Gyeonju City. That’s where I am now after getting really wet and deciding to find a place to stay. Nice Korean-style guest house. I’m a bit concerned with the pace at present, but that can’t be helped. No point in pushing it too hard now and not be able to continue later.


Yesterday / 昨日
Washing me and my clothes / 服と自分を洗う

Today / 今日
See how the colour of the river has changed? / 川の色が・・・


向かったのは一応30km先の慶州市でした。それでそこに泊まることにしました。疲れ的には、前に進んでも全然平気でしたが、雨がとにかくひどかった。カッパの調整が悪かったかのか、どんなカッパを着てもどうしようもなかったのか分かりませんが、慶州市に着いたらもうずぶ濡れ。観光案内所に行ったらキレイな民宿(guest house)を案内してくれました。値段は一泊20,000KRWで予算オーバーだけど、ま、しょうがない。韓国の昔の家です。塀に囲まれていて、真ん中にちょっとした広場があります。明日の天気が良ければ一泊だけにするつもりです。

Put your hand up if you're soaked / ずぶ濡れの人、手上げて!・・・は~い!


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Day Four – Jinha Beach to just outside of Ulsan
7�� 26th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Korea
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Today’s Distance / 今日の走行距離:51.70km
Time on bike / 走行時間:3h 26m
Average speed / 平均速度:15km/h
Total distance to date / 現在までの積算距離:126.9km
Money used / 予算使用:12,000KRW (NZ$20, US$12)

I woke up rearing to go this morning, so did about 20km before breakfast. Those 20km would take me through the most polluted area of Korea that I have seen so far. Acres upon acres of factories and heavy industry blew out masses of steam and other, nastier substances into the atmosphere. Smells included pesticides, solvents, and the smell you get when grinding steel.

After getting just far enough away from the greenhouse zone, I stopped for breakfast (Korean style rice balls). It was here that I had a snooze for about 30mins before continuing on.

Today I realised just how hopeless the Tourist’s Map of Korea that I have is (no offence to Hyun-ju who bought the map for me). The scale is just too big, and doesn’t give me a good idea of secondary roads. I was on near-expressway like roads all day today, and it wasn’t much like fun. I guess the upside is that the uphills are all much more gradual.

Getting out of Ulsan City was a nightmare. All the roads were very busy and did not have pedestrian crossings. I had to be rather assertive in my manuvering through traffic, The bonus with this bike is that it draws attention and drivers are more inclined to slow down and trail me just to have a gawk.

My campsite today couldn’t be better. Great view, river nearby (washed me and my clothes in it), and a convenient pagoda with raised floor on which to pitch my tent. It even has a roof, so even though it is raining my tent doesn’t get wet.

Washing me and my clothes / 服と自分を洗う

Today also included a two hour netcafe stint to upload photos and blog entries. Three days worth to be exact.

Weather is fantastic. Upper 20s to low 30s, but not at all humid.

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Day Three – Pusan to Jinha Beach (English summary)
7�� 25th, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Korea
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Distance / 走行距離:50.33km
Time on bike / 走行時間 : 3h 45m
Average speed / 平均速度:13.4m/h
Total distance / 現在までの積算距離:75.2km

Summary: Felt pretty blue this morning. Surrounded by city, just had to get out. Biked 50km to Jinha beach and shared a free camping ground with about 400 screaming school kids. Stoked to be out of the city though and into the countryside. Not much different from Japan though.



Apparently I looked cool / あなたが格好いい、ということで写真を一緒に撮らせてくださいとのことでした。


Second night's camp spot / 2日目のキャンプ場



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Day Two – Rest day in Pusan
7�� 23rd, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Korea
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Today’s Distance / 今日の走行距離:12.58km
Time on bike / 走行時間:1h 11m
Average speed / 平均速度:10.6km/h
Total distance / 現在までの積算距離:20.6km

Apparently I’m biking across the continent. But it’s day two and aready I’m having a day off. I really shoud have a week off. Still feeling very jaded from the last month or so of preparations before leaving Japan. It was quite stressful in the fact that I needed to uproot my life in Japan and leave with the intention of not coming back after the trip. Sending stuff home to New Zealand, cancelling utilities, sorting out money and banking…

But I’m not going to have any more days off in this city. The dirty air is giving me coughs, the roads are noisy, there are people everywhere. Tomorrow I head to Ulsan, or at least in that direction anyway. I will follow the coast up the east of Korea, as according to the hostel owner here (I’m staying at Blue Backpackers Hostel in Pusan) you can get away with camping on the beaches. It is about 70km to Ulsan, however I would rather find a beach close-ish to the city and crash there for the night. I plan on taking it really easy for the first few weeks.

By the way, Pusan is a very hilly city. I went for a quick blat around the place today and found myself on the top of a great lumping hill. Lunch was had at a buffet all you can eat joint. Here they do buffets the real-man’s way. That is, you get your plate and fill it up not with ready to eat food, but with a selection of raw meat. This is the cooked by you at your table. Just as well grandpa owner was in a good mood and showed me what to do. The younger waitress looked in no mood to help the hapless foreign tourist.


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Day One – Fukuoka (Japan) to Pusan (Korea) (English summary)
7�� 22nd, 2006 | categorizilation: all categories,Korea
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Distance / 走行距離:7.75km
Time on bike / 走行時間:35分58秒
Average speed / 平均速度:13.0km/h
Total distance / 現在までの積算距離:7.75km

Summary: Tired, staying at small backpackers (see link below) in Pusan.

  • 日本を離れることについて
  • 旅をはじめることについて

Dinner with Christine, a French traveller staying at the same dinky hostel as me / 僕と同じホステルで泊まっていた、クリステーんさんというフランス人の女性。

とはいえ、その緊張感や不安にもかかわらず、一日目はうまく行きました。プサンのフェリー乗り場で日本語をしゃべってくれる案内所があって、そこで泊まるところを聞いたところ、現在は「Blue Backpackers Hostel」というユースホステルにいます。マンションの18階のアパートがホステルに改造されていて、とても狭いところですけど、2泊泊まることにしました。


Japan / 日本

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