14degrees off the beaten track
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July 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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    Permanent Link     Comments (23)

Comment by Andrew — August 1, 2006 @ 4:50 am | post a comment

Icecream! Of course that is the answer. I could have told you that :-)

Comment by Murdo — August 1, 2006 @ 5:24 am | post a comment


Hey laddie, I hope you perfected yer Scottish accent! Och aye Though I wouldnae suggest wearing a kilt on that bike of yours!!!

Comment by Chris J — August 1, 2006 @ 5:53 am | post a comment

Asphalt Syndrome? So that's what its called! I get that all the time, but I don't have to ride a bike 5 hours a day to get there. Just 4 months living in Nagoya and I am talking to myself. My neighbors must love having me around for entertainment…

Stay away from the tunnels Rob.

Comment by Rich — August 1, 2006 @ 6:04 am | post a comment

You rock Rob,

Hope you are having fun now. Nice tunnel to cross;) I have one too, in about two-three weeks, just lot scarier. You know, India;)))

Keep on rocking and enjoy the ice cream;) I'm gorging myself on chocolate;)))


BTW, thanks for all your comments on my pics and site. I tried to post message to your blog from Leh but for some reason it wasn't accepting it. Hope it's better from Kargil;)

Comment by rob — August 1, 2006 @ 7:09 am | post a comment

Wait until you get to China. Cheap ice lollies gallor, with plenty of extra ingredients to send you over the edge. I tend to dribble quite a lot now as I cycle.

Comment by arno — August 1, 2006 @ 9:53 am | post a comment

Have you considered slow carbs? Rice balls maybe?

Comment by John — August 1, 2006 @ 10:02 am | post a comment

You could use the "ice burrito." Invented by these two cross country bicyclists:


Basically, you take a bandana and put a couple handfuls of ice in it (free from a gas station or convenience store). Roll it up and tie it around your neck. Keeps the heat down…

Here's a direct link to the video:

Comment by Ed — August 1, 2006 @ 12:51 pm | post a comment


Cheers for the powerlink advice.

If you can get 'em over there, I heartily recommend oatcakes for endless cycling power. Combine with bananas and/or fruitjuice and they become a lot more palatable. Also, they don't seem to ever go off, and were totally invaluable on my UK End to End last year.

For a day and a half on the same tour, in my map holder, right at the very bottom of the map, was a place in the back'o'beyond of north scotland named Bonar Bridge.

Not a hilarious name, but combine that with 10+ hours in the saddle and it rapidly becomes inane. Cue me giggling to myself and muttering "Boner" over and over again along what must be the emptiest A-class road in the UK. Oh dear.

So I guess that means I know asphalt syndrome all too well, although I didn't know that it had a name.

A recommended track listing for singing at the top of your voice while pootling along :

Singing In The Rain (my favourite!)

Hi Hi Miss American Pie

Anything at all by Meatloaf…

Greenday – Good Riddance



Comment by Lesley Bond — August 1, 2006 @ 1:07 pm | post a comment

I thought you wrote in an earlier blog that Koreans were kind to cyclist, but maybe that was just in that particular city. They haven't given much room for cyclist in this tunnel!

What's Korean icecream like? I guess when you don't have good creamy NZ icecream on hand to compare it with it'll be okay.

Are other sorts of carbohydrates readily available in Korea? It sounds like you need to feed up on lots of carbs like rice, brread, pasta etc which give you much longer steady blood sugar levels than sweet stuff. One of my nurse colleagues at work has a son who used to be in his High School rowing team and before rowing regattas that's what the boys bulked up on – carbohydrates.

Nana disappears off to Oz this afternoon. I can't see her off as I'm off to work at 7.30am and won't be back till after she's gone.

Aunty Les

Comment by Rachel Callander — August 1, 2006 @ 3:27 pm | post a comment

ha ha ha you're hilarious!! have you come across any random ice cream flavours yet??? I read an article once about ice cream fetishes in those pasrts of the world and they were coming up with soem wacked out flavours such as horse meat icecream, radish icecream and a whole other host of strange icey delights…. be on your guard my friend. Your phots are just awesome Rob!! They are fabulous!!!! Till tomorrw then……

Comment by Mike C — August 1, 2006 @ 4:19 pm | post a comment

I'm impressed that you're keeping up your biking of approx 100km per day. You're doing really well. I can fully identify with your "ashphalt syndrome". Keep up the singing practice! It must be funny for the locals who see you biking past – singing at the top of your lungs. :-) These updates are great – and the photos are brilliant. How do you take the photos of yourself biking past at speed?!

Comment by Timmy C — August 1, 2006 @ 6:56 pm | post a comment

Hey Robby Bobby King Kong Cobby,

So thats what you call it eh? Ashphalt Syndrome, I get it at work but normally it's about 4 hours worth of Iko Iko cos you can just keep making up verses, for example…

My grandma and your grandma

Flying over to Aussie

My grand ma is your grandma

Thats cos we are cuzzies

Talkin' 'bout

Hey now

Hey now

Iko iko an nay

Jockomo feena ah na nay

Jockomo feena nay

There's my cuz all burn and red

Singing in the choir

I think he's gone and lost his head

And watch that nail in your tyre

and so it goes, that can keep you entertained for days.

Comment by Rob Thomson — August 2, 2006 @ 2:16 am | post a comment

Ti Moth, you are more of a nutter than me. However I think I might just have to copy those lyrics out and add a tune…

Comment by Rob Thomson — August 2, 2006 @ 2:19 am | post a comment

Mike C, in order to take photos of yourself going past at speed, it helps to have the following:

- A camera that allows you to set the timer to 30 seconds

- A camera that also allows you to set how many photos are taken in a row on the self timer (mine does up to 10)

- Fast legs to get yourself from the camera to your bicycle before it starts taking photos

Comment by Rob Thomson — August 2, 2006 @ 2:21 am | post a comment

Arno, even if I load up with slow carbs such as rice balls, they are just a little too slow in this heat. The sweet stuff gives me extra boost to keep going.

Comment by Rob Thomson — August 2, 2006 @ 2:22 am | post a comment

John, thanks for the ice burrito idea! Do you not get cold water dripping down your back though? Oh, I guess that's the idea, aye…

Comment by Rob Thomson — August 2, 2006 @ 2:24 am | post a comment

Rach, no crazy icecream flavours in Korea so far. I think Japan is the place for those ones… My favourite at the moment is grape flavoured frozen syrup. Mmmmmm. Good frozen sweet goodness…

Comment by Rob Thomson — August 2, 2006 @ 2:25 am | post a comment

Ed. Heh. Boner.

Comment by Rob Thomson — August 2, 2006 @ 2:26 am | post a comment

Aunty Les, Korean icecream is actually very good. They have a very nice rocky-road iceblock that is definitely worth the NZ80c that you pay for it.

Comment by Uncle Peter — August 2, 2006 @ 6:50 pm | post a comment

Singing possibilitites are enormous. Try … I like to ride my bicycle (Queen), Les Bicycle de Belsize (Dumple Bert Dinker Hump) or even Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.

I had to chuckle at Timmy C's comments. I like the words but I couldn't get my head around any tune. Who is this kid?



Comment by David — August 2, 2006 @ 8:55 pm | post a comment

Re: Ice Cream

I told ya so! I'd take em on my bike trips if they lasted in my seat bag! I settle for frozen sports drinks. I tried putting ice cubes in my water bottle – melted and lukewarm in 20 minutes! Now that your churning calories constantly, you basically eat whatever you want, eh. I'd settle on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mixed with ice cream and various meats. All at once, like Elvis!

Comment by Lesley Bond — August 2, 2006 @ 11:40 pm | post a comment

I wonder if Ti Moth's words can be sung to one of the tunes fronm Shrek? The 'Hey now' bit reminds me of one of the songs in the movie but I can't think of the rest of it. I think it was in Shrek 1

Aunty Les

Comment by Paul — February 16, 2009 @ 5:26 am | post a comment

gday rob.

i just came across your great site while searching for information on bike trips in china. i have decided to go to the very start of your blog and read the whole lot.

my partner and i did a 1 month ride around part of hokkaido, she was riding a small red Compacto and i was riding a mamachari ( the common japaese bike), so it was a exciting and leisurely adventure.

we ate a lot of Watermelon Flavored ice blocks. these look like a slice of watermelon with seeds being chocolet. cold and おいし!

your mention of Sing your heart out to the world in many different accents reminded me of our everyday activity, its amazing what songs can be remembered and dug up and only half sung,,,

also we had some killer tunnels in Hokkaido, one such tunnel was still being dug….4km long with minimal lighting a thick mist of wet concrete and dust made the the trucks(and there alot of them) seem like demons roaring through the mist. i must say i rode very fast to get out of that tunnel…..it was a long ride….

our pedals and chained jammed a short while later when the fresh concrete dried!

This is the only bike trip i have done, but it was awwsome and i cant wait to do more.

thnx for posting your whole trip, its very inspiring to read.



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