Korea road trip on a bike: Let's pedal around Pyeongtaek
Korea road trip on a bike: Let's pedal around Pyeongtaek
By now, many of us have grown accustomed to the social distancing and face covering measures required whenever we leave our homes to run errands or pick up a meal. Though several travel restrictions have been lifted, we still may feel a sense of cautious relief since those restrictions can be raised again. This sense extends to our former centers of entertainment: shopping malls, restaurants and movie theaters.
So, now that we can go out, where can we go while still being safe? How about a refreshing bike ride around Pyeongtaek? Riding a bike is a great stress reliever and will allow you to maintain social distancing while enjoying the landscape the region has to offer. And, thanks to its geographical features including many flat lands and rivers, Pyeongtaek offers a couple of cycling routes a myriad of cyclists can enjoy.
Tongbokcheon Stream route
Though this route is not the most popular amongst cyclists, it is the one closest to my home, so I chose to hop on a bike and give it a try. Tongbokcheon Stream runs 10 kilometers through Pyeongtaek City and, in the spring, offers the best cherry blossom viewing.
Before I hit the path, I rented a bike from the Pyeongtaek Public Bike Rental Shop across from the Boo-Young Apartment building near Tongbokcheon Stream. The paved route runs alongside the stream, so I leisurely pedaled my way to the sights and sounds of running water and lush greenery.
At the end of the Tongbokcheon Stream, where two streams join, I continued to ride through the Jinwicheon Stream path toward the Sopung Picnic Garden, a well-known camping site. Endless golden fields unfolded before my eyes and the cool breeze blowing over the blue horizon made me feel content.
The Jinwicheon Stream bike path is currently under construction, so the route was cut off in the middle. By 2023, it will be connected to Seoul’s Han River bike route. Promising myself to be ready for a longer ride then, I turned my bike around and headed toward Gunmoongyo Bridge, the starting point of the Pyeongtaek Anseongcheon bicycle route.
Anseongcheon Stream route
From Gunmungyo Bridge, I started out toward Paengseong Bridge, following the silver grass lining the pathway. Here, the smooth hills were an easy ride for a beginner like me. This particular stretch is a bike-only road, so cyclists can pedal to their heart’s content without worrying about pedestrians or vehicles.
My rental was due back by 4:30 p.m., so I rushed back to Tongbokcheon Stream to get there in time. In total, I rode about 40 kilometers which amounted to about four hours of pedaling. It was refreshing to stretch my legs, get out of my apartment and enjoy the changing landscape as fall creeps up on us. It was also nice to relax a little from the worry about maintaining COVID-19 preventative measures. This change of setting was a nice way to spend a Saturday, so if you’re looking for something to shake that cabin fever and get you and you’re family out and about, these bike paths are just what the doctor ordered!
Many cities across this peninsula have their own public bike system these days, including Pyeongtaek. Rent a bike and cruise the city for free at the rental shop across from the Boo-Young apartment building.
The Public Bike Rental shop opened in 2019 and offers 40 city bikes mounted with front baskets, 10 small bikes for kids and helmets at no cost. The bicycles are in good condition and will allow you to enjoy the city without any discomfort.
To use a bike you need to leave your ID card and register. The bikes must be returned by 4:30 p.m. every day. For safety, the shop staff wipe down the bikes with disinfectant and provide hand sanitizer to patrons. Don’t forget to use hand-sanitizer that is furnished inside the shop and wash your hands after returning your bike.
FREE BIKE RENTALS
ADDRESS: 174, Dongsak-ro, Pyeongtaek-si (경기도 평택시 동삭로 174), NAVER MAP: http://naver.me/FUwtmojs
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays. (The bike should be returned by 4:30 p.m.)
Café KAYU, near Gunmungyo Bridge, is a great place for a cup of joe, either after or before hitting the bike path.
They offer a great cup of coffee that comes with a free piece of bread baked on site. Pick your bread of choice while you wait for your coffee. Brewed coffee and summer lattes are the specialty and, the cozy terrace allows you to enjoy them surrounded by nature.
Another unique offering at this café is a spot dedicated for equipment to use for your very own YouTube video shoot. Try out the video camera and the Chroma Key Background, which allow you to transport yourself to any location. Head to the computer room there and edit your masterpiece. Caffeine and viral videos await!
ADDRESS: 53-12, Sindeok-gil, Pyeongtaek-si (경기 평택시 신덕길 53-12), NAVER MAP: http://naver.me/GNKDw2MG
HOURS: Mon, Tue, Thu: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fri, Sat, Sun: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Closed Wednesdays.
If you’re planning to stop for a picnic on your bike ride, grab some gimran at Dong-geul-Dong-geul-Gim-lan. This place offers a variation of a Korean favorite known as gimbap. Gimbap is a rice roll wrapped in seaweed filled with various meats or veggies. This is a popular picnic or hiking snack since it is easy to carry. At Dong-geul-Gim-Lan, you’ll find gimran, which is a low-carb version of gimbap. Gimran is egg-based rather than rice-based.
I opted for the tuna gimran and bacon gimran for 3,900 won each (or $3.37). The eggs inside the gimrap were surprisingly soft and went great with the fillings. If you need something light to fuel up your body for your picnic, gimran is a great option.
DONG-GEUL-DONG-GEUL-GIM-LAN (GIMRAN JOINT)
ADDRESS: 1, Pyeongtaek 3-ro 56beon-gil, Pyeongtaek-si, 경기도 평택시 비전동 615-4, NAVER MAP: http://naver.me/FY7e6Gc0
HOURS: Mon-Fri 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Weekend 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Closed on 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month.
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