The Yeongsan River Cycle Path is part of the Four Rivers Restoration project. There's a bunch of information about the project at the four rivers website. In theory I like the concept of having an accessible cycle path that runs for hundreds of kilometres down to the coast, but I was worried that in reality it might just be quite monotonous and dull. If the path ran through lots of natural habitat it would have the potential to be a really wonderful experience.
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As you can see in this map we ended up deviating from the intended route. We hadn't bargained on the strong headwind that we would end up cycling into, so we eventually jumped onto naver maps and took a more direct route along country roads.
We started our day at the CNU campus as we usually do.
The Birthday boy! Two co-workers tried to sabotage Sean's big day out the night before. They failed in their task but left him slightly worse for wear. We got onto the river path along the Gwangju stream and headed west before hitting the Yeongsan River Path.
The cycle path along the river is pretty rough, especially when compared to this road (photo below) which runs alongside it. This road has virtually no traffic and is silky smooth! I'm not sure where the logic is, or why somebody thinks it makes sense to give cyclists crappy bumpy tarmac paths yet cars get a road surface smooth enough to play marbles on! It beggars belief.
If you are going to take this route I recommend that you just stay on the road. The road is elevated so it has better views in all directions whereas the river path has an uninspiring view of the bank on which the road is built!
This is a view of the river path from the road. As you can see the entire river is desolate. It looks like the four rivers "restoration" project involves removing all natural habitat from the river banks, and plonking a cycle path there from which you can soak up the bleakness that they have gifted us as a replacement.
Perhaps I am being a bit harsh, this project clearly isn't completed and spring hasn't exactly kicked in yet so there's not much plant life on the banks, but I can't see much evidence of any preservation happening here. It seems like they are going to turn huge stretches of this river into a very unnatural park. It is still very much a building site and I'm sure it will end up looking a lot better in the future, but at what cost to the local wildlife? It seems to me to be a leisure project for city folk.
|Approaching Seungchon Weir|
Sean in a desperate bid to get of the river path, which he hates, walked his bike through the brush and mud, up the banks onto a stretch of incomplete gravel road! Inevitably he ended up lagging behind.
This is Seungchon weir. It really is nothing special, but it is one of the most interesting things on the river. That's not saying a great deal! The funny thing is that this is pitched as a feature of the river! It's completely absurd. Once you cross the river at the weir there is an observation platform with some binoculars for admiring the view. Soak up those views.
|BEWARE! A treacherous route!|
The cycle path along the river stopped shortly after Seungchon river so we jumped onto this path alongside this busy road next to the river. It was a smooth path, so that's one positive, but it left a lot to be desired
|A Rubbish Heap. One of the more interesting and less sculpted spots en route!|
The river is well signposted. Another positive!
This photo is a misleading. It looks so calm but it was anything but. We averaged a speed of about 15km/h which is pitifully slow. Had there been no wind it would have been steady cruising the entire way to Mokpo.
Eventually we abandoned the river in favour of country roads. We had some time constraints and were making much slower progress than we had hoped for. We used the Naver maps application on Gi Tak's iPhone to get a more direct route to Mokpo. This dreamy little app took us along some cool little farm roads. The whole cycle became much more enjoyable once we were away from the river.
|Our final crossing of the Yeongsan River. The wind was HOWLING!|
First signs of the city.
Jenny powers on up the hill as the men folk sissy out and push their bikes.
MOKPO! We hit the city limits!
Our first sight of the sea. We rolled up to the North Harbour just in time for picturesque sunset.
회타운!!! We pulled up into sushi town on the North Harbour and grabbed ourselves some celebratory beers.
We had a seafood dinner of abalone and octopus in this tiny restaurant next to Family Mart. The food was amazing. If you like seafood you should definitely hit up this spot.
Jeong Cheol knows what this hand gesture really means!
Some fresh Octopus, tentacles-a-wiggling!
Sean received his birthday medal at the dinner table. He first received this award for being an old fart an entire year ago and it has gone full circle from birthday boy to birthday girl all the way back to Sean.
This abalone (전복) was unbelievably good.
Sean receives a birthday cloak with flourescent stars. WIZARD!!!
Colour co-ordinated beer, glasses, ribbon and panniers.
Who let Waldo into the motel?
You can get "coffee" delivered if that tickles your fancy. Wait a minute! This isn't coffee!
The next morning Jenny and I cycled along the coast around Yudalsan then we all met up for a late breakfast of fried octopus (Nakji Bokkum - 낙지볶음). We were taken to a famous restaurant which lived up to its reputation.
Dokcheon Restaurant (독천 식당). If you're going to take a taxi there give this address to the taxi driver...
전남, 목포시, 호남 동 10-36
A Korean alternative to a Full English Breakfast! Delicious!