The cycling paths along Korea’s four major rivers are becoming a
favorite option for travelers and adventurers seeking a fun and unique
way to explore the country.
left: the cycling route along the Han River leads riders to the area
around the National Assembly building in Yeouido; the trail along the
Yeongsan River in Hampyeong County, Jeollanam-do; cyclists ride over the
Nakdong River (photos courtesy of K-water).
A little over 100 days have passed since the Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water)
began a certification program on March 20 to help visitors to the
cycling paths keep track of their progress and receive recognition for
completing the various courses. As of June 28, over 10,000 people have
cycled on the riverside cycling areas, and a growing number of them have
completed the entire length of the rigorous cross-country course. Taking in the sights on two wheels
K-water certification program awards cyclists with certification
stickers upon completion of cycling courses that include individual
river courses, a cross-country course, and an all-rivers course, the
longest of the offerings. Cyclists who complete the cross-country course
or the all-rivers course are awarded with a commemorative medal.
who complete various sections on the four river cycling trails receive
stamps in a collectible passport (photo courtesy of K-water).
of June 28, a total of 2,406 people have completed the Han River
course, 1,365 have completed the Geum River course, 943 have completed
the Yeongsan River course, and 1,871 have completed the Nakdong River
course. Two additional courses include the Namhan or Southern Han River
course, which has been completed by 2,111 cyclists, and the Saejae Road
course in Gyeongsangbuk-do (North Gyeongsang Province), which has been
completed by 1,582 cyclists.
enjoy spring flowers and river views while biking along the Nakdong
River (photo courtesy of Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime
The all-rivers course, which takes
cyclists along all four of the major rivers, spans 804 kilometers in
total. May 24 saw the 100th rider complete the course, and today, 476
people have been awarded the completion medals. The 633-kilometer
cross-country course starts at the Yellow Sea floodgate located off of
the Ara Waterway in Incheon and trails along the Han River, ending in
Busan along the Nakdong River. The 500th rider to travel the course
completed his journey on May 26, and today, 1,395 people have completed
the course. “Korea’s cycling roads are unrivaled”
first non-Korean to complete the cross-country course was Kathleen
Stevens, the former United States ambassador to the Republic of Korea.
Stevens completed the course from May 27 to 31, beginning in Yangpyeong,
Gyeonggi-do (Gyeonggi Province) and traveling the approximately 600
kilometers to Busan.
Stevens (right), former United States ambassador to the Republic of
Korea, completed the four rivers cross-country cycling course on May 31
(photo: Weekly Gonggam).
“The course is not only
beautiful but also designed to be environmentally friendly,” commented
Stevens, who traveled a short length of her journey in the rain. “You
can also think about the history of the sites you pass.”
who was well-known as a cycling enthusiast since the early days of her
term in Korea, said that she had been looking forward to the completion
of the cycling path since construction began. Stevens tested out a short
length of the course in the Namhan River region in October 2011 and had
hoped to complete the entire course before leaving Korea.
system of bicycle roads in the United States is also being expanded at
present, but Korea’s roads are already many steps ahead,” continued
Stevens. “The Netherlands is also known for having excellent bicycle
roads, but they do not wind around rivers like the roads in Korea.
Korea’s riverside cycling roads are unrivaled in the world.” Cycling to become a national pastime
June 25, a group of college students sponsored by the Korea Tourism
Organization and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism started out
on a cross-country cycling tour that will last until July 5. The
students, who rode together with Culture Minister Choe Kwang-shik for a
special commemorative event on May 16, will be blogging about their
travels and sharing pictures and testimonials of the sights and
experiences to be had along the rivers.
father and daughter duo prepare to ride along the Nakdong River (photo
courtesy of Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs).
the number of visitors to the riverside cycling paths continuing to
grow, plans are underway to introduce an additional course. The grand
slam course will open in 2013 as the longest and most extensive course
More information on Korea’s four major rivers can be found
at the official website of the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project (http://www.4rivers.go.kr/news/eng/
) as well as the National Affairs menu at Korea.net (http://www.korea.net/Government/Current-Affairs/National-Affairs
By Kwon Jungyun
Korea.net Staff Writer