Biking the Han

On Sunday Seoulites were graced with the presence of something we hadn’t seen on a weekend in months.  The sun.  The constant cloudiness and rainfall the past two months had me believing that I was living in my personal version of hell and I was beginning to wonder how much more of this I would be able to handle.  So, when I saw the little yellow ball on my iPhone’s weather app last Monday I immediately began planning the ways in which I could take advantage of this change in weather.  And when I woke up on Sunday to actual sunshine I knew that I was headed to the Han for some biking.

The Han is wide river that flows through Seoul and eventually out to the Yellow Sea.  There are many parks and paths along the river that make it a great place to spend a nice day.  Renting a bike here is cheap and easy.  The official cost is 3,000 won for one hour, or 5,000 won for two hours, but I’ve heard that the time limit isn’t always strictly enforced so you could get lucky.  I rented my bike near Ichon Station, because it was the nearest to where I was in the morning, but there are also bike rental stations near Yeouido, Yeouinaru, Ttukseom, Banpo, Mangwon, Nanji, Jamwon, Jamsil, Gwangnaru, Gangseo, and Yanghwa.  Just get off at one of these stations, head toward Hangang Park, and look for bikes.

Once we were all outfitted with our rickety bikes we pedaled onto the path and set out towards Yeouido.  For the most part the bike lanes along the river are flat which was quite nice as the bikes we were given really weren’t made to go up any sort of incline with a person on them.

We eventually found a bridge with a bike ramp (that we walked up) and crossed over to Yeouido, an island in the Han.  There is a large park with many facilities on the island and there were many families and couples out enjoying this rare sunny day.  As our rental time was coming to end and I had other obligations, we started back toward Ichon to return the bikes.

If you are in Seoul on a nice day and looking for something to do, head over to the Han.  The cycling was relaxing and easy, there was a nice breeze coming off the river that made the humid day seem a little bit cooler, and the sun shining on the river and off the many white high rises gave Seoul a little added visual character.  If you have more time than we did, bike a longer distance on the river and check out some of the impressive bridges and the city’s expansive skyline.

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