Road biking in a military compound?

Made it onto the base.

Made it onto the base.

On Thursday September 19th I went for another road ride. Since I am still so new to the country and the area we live in I purposely try to get myself a little bit lost, or at least off the predetermined path I make on my GPS.

I started my road ride the same way I always do. Heading towards Gangwha (a place which I have yet to see) on the 48 which is about 5km down the road. I keep forgetting that the peninsula I live on is small. I past the road where I know a military checkpoint is and continued further into the rice fields. I stopped to take some photos and I finally noticed it. Complete silence. Something I have found to be rare living in Korea, and took for granted while living back home in Canada. It is moments like finding yourself completely alone and barely having an idea of where you are that makes a simple bike ride into an adventure.

They are hiding a temple!

They are hiding a temple!

As I climbed one of the many hills on my route, there it was. Another military checkpoint. The language barrier came into play once again. The soldier asked me to “go write something”, I proceeded to go into a little shack with people counting money. The man crossed his arms to make an X and said “no bike this road”. My road ride was once again turned around and I had myself breaking my rule of never go back.

Past this fence and a river is North Korea.

Past this fence and a river is North Korea.

Out of my frustration I decided to take my next left and cut across the area I wanted to go. I then made my way towards the area expecting another checkpoint. Surely there was. I said hello and asked if I could bike on this road. Sure enough there was no problem and I was on my way. In Korea there is always more than once answer for everything, so this wasn’t much of a surprise.

I biked through pretty rough roads, and came across a lot of rolling hills with farms neatly tucked away between them. And then I saw it. The fence that separates the water between North and South Korea. I took some pictures, said hello to some military at their outposts and biked through rice fields. The road quality improved and I easily had one of the best road rides of my life. It ranks up there with some of the Tour de Vav days.

North Korea in the distance

North Korea in the distance

My road riding experience has been quite unique thus far. I plan on heading to Gangwha next and doing some huge climbs.


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