It’s spring in South Korea. The mountains around me are becoming more lush, the flowers are blooming, it’s warming up, and my allergies are once again kicking it into over drive. For cherry blossom season I met up with some girls from nearby and joined them for a ride through Ttukseom park. I thought since it was the end of cherry blossom season we were going to be riding around the park to see them, but I think I just assumed that. I also assumed that the saying “it’s like riding a bike” aka you never forget how to ride a bike was true.
We rented our bikes for 2 hours. It cost 5,000 won and we had to hand over our passports or ARC cards in exchange for a receipt. At the end of our journey we brought back the receipt and the bike and got our passports or ARC cards back.
We went around to look at the bikes. I tried to practice in the space around the bike rental but there were too many people. Trying to remember how to ride downtown Seoul in a busy park is somewhat counter productive. I spent most of my time trying not to run people over. I haven’t ridden a bike in over 10 years and have clearly forgot. Though one of the girls I was with tried my bike out and said it was really unwieldy, so I’m sure that didn’t help.
Biking in South Korea is really popular. A lot of the teachers I work with go biking, and when I head to the train station to go to Seoul or to get back home there are always tons of people with bikes, dressed in biking gear.
I biked for a little over a half hour, if you could call it biking, it was more like constantly trying not to crash. Eventually I just couldn’t go any further. I decided after derailing a biking team and almost crashing into them. (I crashed, they didn’t.) That it was time to head back. I walked the bike back, exhausted from all the panic and scratched up from crashing. I returned my bike after only an hour out of my two and didn’t get a refund, but someone who worked there took the bike off my hands while I got in line then after a bit of a wait I turned in my receipt to retrieve my passport. For the next hour and a half (the people I was with kept biking but got lost on their way back) I people watched, sat in the shade and cooled down, drank water, and enjoyed spring. I wasn’t alone.
A lot of people were out and taking photos of the flowers, or picnicking near the cherry blossoms, or exercising. I didn’t see a lot of the park and would love to go back and explore it more in depth, on my own two feet.
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