On Hangeul Day, a public holiday in Korea, I finally made time to cycle from Pohang to Gyeongju. The bus journey between the 2 cities takes 30-40 minutes and the straightest line (on highway 7) makes it just over 30km. But I’m not looking for straight lines. I’m looking for curves that will swoop around beautiful stretches of farm land, small villages, rivers and streams.
The first time I did the ride I had the good fortune to be stopped by a farmer who was having a barbeque with his family and friends. I met his family, horses, dogs and cows and sampled some really tender beef! It was a random but great encounter, just another example of the extreme generosity and kindness you will come across in this country.
The route back was slightly less auspicious as I left Gyeongju a bit late and got horribly lost on the small country roads. It took me 4 hours to get home, double the time it should have taken! It was a beautiful night ride though, the night after the lunar eclipse: huge moon, clear skies… you could even see some stars. The silence of the sleepy countryside was intermittently interrupted by the sound of a stream or river nearby. It would have been true bliss had I not been so lost.
I was determined to try the route again since it’s a nice easy ride that’s easy on the eye. I made a pig’s ear of the route on the way there so I’m only going to post my return route (Gyeongju-Pohang).
Most of the route will be on quiet concrete country roads/ nice bike paths, maybe 55%, about 5% on road, 15% gravel and 15% side walk/ shitty bike paths. I did the ride on my road bike, which handled the gravel sections fine but beware of uneven surfaces just before leaving Pohang and when you’re cycling in Gyeongju (next to the main road – there are some truly awful bits that can give you a snakebite if you’re not on the look-out). Obviously it’s common sense to take a spare tube, patching kit and a pump with you.
Some cool restaurants near the Express Bus Terminal in Gyeongju include:
– Hawa Dhaba 하와다바 (Indian food) – google 하와다바 HawaDhaba 경상북도 경주시황오동 108-2
– Kong Story 꽁스토리 (Falafels)- opposite the Express Bus Terminal. OMG so good.
– NeCoZzang 네코짱 (Japanese Ramen)- also very near the Express Bus Terminal.
Here’s my route on Strava: http://www.strava.com/activities/209040367/embed/dbbd52f4072d70d513c188145f42f5158175d1b1
My Pohang start/ end point is Posco bridge, since it’s a well-known landmark. My Gyeongju start/ end point is very near the Express Bus Terminal. Where you can see loops it signifies going off-route so just go straight (none of the detours are huge though, should they occur). If you are starting from Pohang, you will need to cross the road when you see the huge retail park between Pohang and Gyeongju, otherwise you’ll be cycling against highway traffic coming around a corner. Do-able but not safe at all.