Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 7 29/3/10 - Seoul (Goyang City) to Toechon – 75km (Total 75km)

The Surlys have been itching to get their racks on the road. We’ve kept them waiting 6 long days and today their fresh treads finally graced the asphalt roads of South Korea and took us all the way to Motel Fuzz 69.

Following another hearty Korean breakfast with our amazing hosts over the last 3 nights, (Will and Jully) we battled our way through the Greater North Western suburbs of Korea for 15km. South Koreans drive (and ride) on the right and it takes some getting used to. We soon hit a tributary of the Han River, the grand body of water which divides Seoul, and thanks to some brilliant town planning we land upon some the many kilometers of big juicy bike tracks which line the rivers of Seoul.

Riding the folding bike which took him across Australia and NZ, Will lead us from his house to the Han river and then for a further 20km. He has truly been our training wheels in Seoul, educating us in the ways of Korean culture and food as well as limit screws. We followed the bike path along the Han and through Seoul, before it and the track ended at the Padang Dam some 45km later. We agreed that we’re unlikely to meet such flat, uninterrupted paths and with a tail wind during the rest of our trip.

We are also unlikely to meet such a dense population of bike savvy and geared up people. We passed hundreds of cyclists riding high-end hard-tail MTB and road bikes clad in fancy bike attire. Each time we stopped we would be met with a flurry of bike compliments, and iphone photographs. Our street cred is at all time highs.

After leaving the bike path we rolled along road 45 for a further 12km before taking the turnoff on road 88 towards Toechon. Despite some narrow sections of verge and a slight tumble (Ali), we arrived safely at our abode for the night - Motel Fuzz 69.

A ‘Love Motel’ is a regular shady establishment found in most South Korean towns, both for clandestine couples and legitimate ones who continue to live with their parents. The driveway is half covered by large drapes so as to hide the identity of occupants whilst in their cars. The façade is bland. The interior is, in two words: red-light. However, owing to its regular turnover of wealthy male clientele, it’s well kept, spacious and luxurious. Staying one hour is reasonably priced….staying one night is cheap.

And yes, we know how it sounds, but this Love Motel is actually quite lovely. An accommodating concierge, a spacious bathroom to hang our freshly washed cycling clothes, and a spot for the Surlys to snuggle up together out back. Alone together at last…


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