The Rapha Cycling Club hosts regular weekly rides from the Clubhouse in Garosu-gil, one of the busiest areas in Seoul. Being the best way of getting out of the city, the Han River bike path is very popular for road riders. Since some of its 31 bridges are directly connected to the bike paths, it provides easy access to the river for riders who cross from north and south. Among these bridges, the circular course that completes the north and south bicycle path of the Han River with the Jamsil Rail Bridge on the east and the Haengju Bridge on the west is a 69km loop. Many consider this the most basic riding course in Seoul that you can enjoy without any interference from traffic. It is a good course to experience various aspects of Seoul such as the Banpo district, Jamsil district, where the tallest building in Korea can be seen up close, Nanji Park, near the World Cup Stadium, and the surprisingly tranquil and eco-friendly side of Yeouido, Korea's largest commercial district, in a section developed with the Nodeul river.
Download the gpx route
When did you start riding?
When I was in elementary school, a bicycle was often given to newspaper subscribers. Thanks to my parents who always read the newspapers, I had my first bike, a Lespo with 27 gears. My interest didn’t last long though, and it was only as a high school student in the USA that I bought my second bike, for $98. It hadn’t been used for a long time so I dismantled it and put it back together with better parts. It became a hobby to disassemble, reassemble and learn the structure of a bike and since then, I’ve been riding my bike all the time.
What is Seoul like for riding a bike?
Having experienced many countries, I think Seoul is the best city for riders. The bicycle road that is formed around the Han River has a total distance of about 100km. It is easily connected to the central areas of Gangnam and Gangbuk in Seoul, as well as major areas of the outskirts and suburbs. In addition, there are many large and small hills as well as a wide plain in the city, so you can experience various types of riding. Recently, the number of bicycles on the roads has soared, and the perception of bicycle riders has improved a lot, which is also a big advantage. It is true that life in Seoul is always busy. However, it is not easy to find a city as nice as Seoul because you can enjoy the ride with a little leisure time.
Can you tell us a ride that local cyclists might not know about?
There are two areas: one connected with Gwanak-gu and Geumcheon-gu, and another connected with Gwacheon-si and Gyeonggi-do. If you venture there, you will come across many alleys and hills that cars cannot pass through. This is the real Seoul, with less modernisation.
Despite its short history, the bicycle culture of Korea is evolving every year. How do you expect it to develop in the future?
Korean society is quickly adapting to today’s bicycle culture. Over time, threats from driving cars, disputes and accidents on the roads will gradually decline. I hope that the authentic racing culture like in Europe will be rooted here. I hope that cycling, the greatest sport in the world, will be the number one sport for many people and that Korean cyclists will be able to compete at the highest level.