Incheon ⟷ Seoul
Your guide across South Korea starts with the Seoul Sister.
Incheon (인천) marks the beginning (or end) of your cycling journey across Korea. Let’s hop on get get moving. We’ve got a long road ahead!
The starting line reads 633 KM. Korea’s main international airport lies over the western bridge. Patches of islands bob like over-sized tortoise shells in the Yellow Sea.
You’ll see towers of futurism on your left. Windmills twirl silently in the background. These projects are from K-Water, Korea’s waterworks. They built the dams and weirs along the four rivers you’re about to conquer. K-Water also manages the Bike Certification System throughout Korea.
Look behind you. You’ll see the first many red Certification booths along your way to Busan. Drop by the Gyeongin Port Integrated Operation Center resting under the Observation Tower on your left. Buy your Certification Passport and run back to the booth. If you turn to page 13 you’ll find a dot labeled Ara West Sea Lock. Put some ink on the stamp and press down. If you get enough of these stamps, K-Water will award you a certificate or even medal.
Pushing off on your journey, you’ll pass under the starting gate and cross into a garden tunnel. After weaving under those imposing windmills, you’ll wash onto industrial streets.
Where am I? Don’t worry. When the cycling path sudden drops out from under you, look down.
Find the Blue Line
A blue traffic line is the official bike path marker. It lays out your path along the city sidewalks and country roads. If a blue line is under your tires, you’re going the right way.
You can also find various Blue Signs along the bicycle path. A bicycle decal and arrow will show you the turns and distances.
Once you pass through the industrial streets, you’ll find yourself at the mouth of the immense Ara West Sea Lock. Here begins the Ara Waterway: an 80-meter river flowing from Seoul’s Han River into the Yellow Sea.
Continuing on, the two cycling paths border each side of the waterway. Take an elevator up one overpass to cross over.
On the north side of the waterway, Dream Park Wildflower Complex (드림파크 야생화단지) shows the power of transformation. Once a landfill, now the park fills Sunday picnickers.
Continuing down the cycle path, you’ll find mini-parks every few kilometers.
Walkers and park-goers enjoy this respite from the city. Bicycle rental shops encourage people of all ages to explore the strange adornments strung about.
Speaking of … under the second overpass you’ll spot the giant cloud-man cyclist. Take your first pit-stop here. You can find restrooms, water fountains, and pop-up bike vendors. Relax on the wooden swings and take in the view of the miniature Dutch windmills.
Summer monsoon rains come at the end of June and last until mid-to-late July. Typhoons can also cross over Japan to Korea in August and September. Keep in mind these months in mind when setting up your ride.
Look! The Ara Waterfall!
The halfway mark. These man-made falls sprinkle Sunday strollers on the north side. (After sunset they turn off the spigot). Down the road, a circular observation walkway extends over the waterway.
The waterway widens as we enter the final stretch. Maybe you can spot a boat making waves in the calm waters. A sculpture park greets us before we ascend to the main road and cross a bridge.
The last stretch of bike path ends on a detour. Blue Lines will guide you through another industrial outpost. Stick to the sidewalks and watch out for speeding dump trucks.
You’ll circle around and under a highway. An embankment leads to the second certification booth. Ara Hangang Lock. Turn to page 13, ink-up and stamp.
Down the embankment you’ll find Seoul. Let’s roll on.