It takes an hour from home to school when I am on the subway. That was also about the time presumed to take by bicycle.
As somebody who becomes tired enough to fall asleep after visiting school for a single visit to the library, even to my impulsive soul the journey initially sounded a little out of bounds. However, the darling weather and the fact there was a bicycle lane leading to the Han River nearby home encouraged me to give it a try.
I had no personal bicycle, so the only choice for me was a Ddareungi, which refers to Seoul provided rental bicycles. I purchased a 30 days commutation ticket which costs 5000 won, and went on the journey on May 6.
The path I took involved a little portion of wide sidewalk, bicycle roads enveloping the Han River, and some pavement after the bridge which taught me why people prefer cars over bicycles.
I should mention the good part first. Overall, I do not regret experiencing the journey. The sight of a little water channel by the left of the lane that eventually converges with the Han River, old men picnics below the trees, and a girl my age in all black speeding on a bicycle with WAP playing on her speakers by her waist was all refreshing.
The bicycle lane at Han River was exquisite. It was properly equipped with vivid traffic signals, and had explicit notation on the roads of where it is headed and how many kilometers have left from certain sites, which resolved the problem that I was not able to check on a navigation service on the ride. Furthermore, the greens at both sides and the water shattering nearby made me feel as if I am outside Seoul.
Not only the well-built roads, but also a newly learned fact about the Ddareungi commutation ticket was a happy surprise. When buying a 30 days ticket with one hour limit notation, I believed it meant I can use Ddareungi for only one hour a day. However, when I changed the bicycle midway at Nodeul Island with four minutes left to an hour, the time limit was reset and I was able to get away with additional payment for the next additional 40 minutes to school.
However, there was a dark side to the journey. First of all, other than the bicycle lane beside the Han River, all riders are legislatively obliged to ride on car roads. However, not only are they restricted to a small portion of the road not wide enough even compared to the shoulders, numerous car riders, especially buses, honk at the bicycle rider which adds to the horror. Later I found out bicycle riders must know several hand signs to notify the car riders of where they are heading, or whether they would halt for safer ride on the road. No nationwide education exist on such regulations yet.
After the Hangangdaegyo which was one of the bridges across the Han River, there was barely any bicycle lane or pavement allowed also for bicycles that for half of the path I walked on foot. On top of that, the path was uphill.
Two days ago I road Ddareungi to Nodeul Island once again because I found out a bus that leads to the back gate of Ewha at once. Thanks to finding a new route, I was able to enjoy only the sweet part of the initial experience. I hope more people would grab the chance of noticing the greens and the sparkles of the river with Ddareungi.