Some of the avid, globe-trekking cyclists who have crisscrossed Korea on two wheels call the country’s bike trail system the best they’ve ever ridden. Others simply say it’s perfect. South Korea has invested billions into a nationwide bike trail system that is well-maintained, comprehensive, and bold, tunneling through mountains from coast to coast as its trail markings and lights make a bike tour of the country an experience that is second to none.
The Korean government has ambitiously planned to construct 2500 kilometers (approx. 1550 miles) of bicycle trails across the country, and about two-thirds of that distance had been completed as of mid-2013. If the country’s other infrastructure projects such as broadband Internet and its well-kept road system are any indication, the extent and quality of Korea’s bike trails will only improve with time.
The Korean Peninsula has three large mountain ranges, but most of the tallest peaks are in North Korea. Planners have designed a bike system that is pleasant enough for the intermediate cyclist and tourists who want to look around at the beautiful scenery as they ride, but those who want to pedal a little harder and sweat a little more will find plenty of challenges, too.
If you’re from a country where automobiles dominate every stretch of asphalt, you may need to re-envision what a bike trail can be. These are nothing less than highways for cyclists, with wide lanes that keep you safe from cars and focused on your experience. Of course, riders deserve a break, so on Korea’s various trails you’ll find opportunities to take part in cultural events in villages, splash at waterparks near major cities, and of course rendezvous with fellow cycle tourists. You might even have as much fun during your rest and relaxation periods as you do when you’re riding around!
About the Author: Doug Lofland is a Colorado-based travel enthusiast and owner of bicycle tour company Bike Beyond Boundaries Travel. He has traveled the world serving the needs of other travel enthusiasts for over 2 decades and loves to shares his knowledge and experiences with others seeking the fulfillment of traveling the world. This article is created in cooperation with the Korea Tourism Organization.