Chuseok Plans

Next weekend will be the start of S. Korea’s Chuseok holiday (추석). Chuseok, which is similar to America’s Thanksgiving, celebrates the end of the harvest season and is a time to pay respect and present offerings to one’s ancestors. Koreans generally spend this time with family and most return to their hometowns to celebrate, prepare food, and pay respect to their elders and ancestors. ESL teachers (and other foreigners living and working over here) spend this time vacationing on Jeju Island or checking out the mountains in the north. I wasn’t interested in island hopping and decided on a whim that I would instead spend the 5 days biking the 500km from Seoul to Busan.

Touring route, image courtesy of Jan Boonstra

There was one problem: I didn’t have a bike. So last weekend, when my buddies and I were heading over to Cheonan Station to check out a weekend street market, I coaxed them into stopping at a local bike shop and I somewhat impulsively purchased a bike. I am on a strict budget, so the bike had to meet certain requirements while still adhering to my strict $250 limit.

The “Wonderland Gang” walking to the bike shop

Here I am, post-“impulse”-buy

As my friend Alex often says, “Yeah, so that happened.”

This week has been busy… teaching aside, I have been putting together a touring kit (allen wrenches, tire levers, head lamps, patch kits, etc.), as well as attempting to convince some poor soul to dog sit. I’ve also been looking through detailed maps of the route (curtesy of Jan Boonstra)– I only have 8 days to secure everything for the trip!

I decided that it would be a good idea to go on a test ride this Saturday to Gwangju (a 185km ride) and see if la bicicleta nueva needs tuning up. I have never mapped a bike route before, so I have been worrying about that… thank god for mapmyride.com and its tutorials! I’ll publish the finalized route sometime this week (probably after I complete the ride).

Alright, I should hit the hay… have to be well-rested to handle more of this tomorrow:

“She chases some dragonflies”

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