What the @#$% Are You Doing?

The past year here has changed my road cycling habits in a lot of ways. I live on a small peninsula close to the North/South Korean border and the amount of decent smooth roads that have not experienced WW3 (potholes). Regardless of the road quality (there are some fantastic roads) I hate being a participant of the Pamplona Running of the Bulls. Me being the tiny little human and every car and F1 Gyeonggi bus are the bulls.

roadbiking

I am in a rural area by Korean standards but it is quite different from the traffic I experienced back in Barrie, where the population is actually higher than the area I reside. Although the area is smaller the traffic is quite similar. However people driving here must be making dinner, applying something to somewhere, or talking and texting on the phone while simultaneously, punching an address into their GPS. Let me provide you with a visual. A few weeks ago while sitting on the bus at a stop light I gaze to the right and I see a man in his truck talking on his headset, texting on his phone, playing a game on the phone attached to the window in front of him (I assume a work and personal phone), changing the channels on his TV and had his GPS going. Oh! Forgot the cigarette in his hand and food sitting on the passenger seat. I sat there to in awe to take a picture which I am regretting right now. It would have made a good meme! Now can you believe that? I know it is hard to believe but there are so many damn screens here!

roadbiking-6

Beyond the fence is the DMZ

Beyond the fence is the DMZ

I visit the rice field roads close to the border often.

I visit the rice field roads close to the border often.

So road bikes. Lately I have been riding less and less. I have nobody to ride which sucks sometimes because riding with a group is always faster and shooting the shit is good too. Another reason is the whole experience of riding. I went from going on rural roads back home and having a car pass once or twice every 20 minutes or never seeing a car to constant streams of traffic, and worse than that, unpredictability. All road users need to be predictable with their actions. If I suddenly become a salmon cyclist and go against the flow of traffic I pretty much deserve to get hit right? If I can’t stay in a straight line on the road and I am all over the place I increase the chance of me getting hit by a car. But I can only take so many preventative measures. I wear bright clothing, I have light, a horn, etc…

The views are nice when the pollution is low.

The views are nice when the pollution is low.

In the last year of riding I have had more close calls than my entire lifetime of riding bikes. 2 weeks ago I was riding after work on Gangwha Island and someone attempted to pass on a corner around a cement truck. They were coming head on and I had nowhere to go, the drainage ditches are concrete and about 3 feet deep. I rode the painted while line and gripped tight. The cement truck honked, the cars behind me honked, the guy passing didn’t give one @#$%. I wish I could say this was the first time, but it happens all the time. Passing on blind corners, up hill, reversing without looking, and never ever, ever, ever using turn signals. A lot of people just drive with their 4 ways flashing all the time which indicates to me and everyone else on the road that they have no idea what you are doing.

Escaping the traffic.

Escaping the traffic.

I am constantly on edge, looking back excessively and observing both oncoming and passing traffic. Road riding has turned from relaxing to stressful. Maybe I should have brought a mountain bike…

Now I am positive there are much more dangerous and irritating places to ride bikes so when I get there I will let you know.

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