EnvirOman

There are a number of reasons that, on the surface, a move to Oman for a feminist environmentalist seemed like more of a challenge than other choices available and attracted various reactions of surprise and concern from family and friends. In fact, as my pre-move research revealed, Oman is quite a laid-back country with a harmonious live-and-let-live attitude. I certainly fare no worse here based on my gender than in other far-flung parts of the world. Some of my clothing choices have altered somewhat, but little more so than in subtly Confucian-influenced east Asia. Environmental lifestyle choices, however, are extremely limited. Today, I’m sharing my discoveries so far.

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Busan or Bust: epilogue

Or, “Things my bike has taught me.”

In which I reflect on beginners’ lessons about bikes and parts, packing for a cycling trip and how to cycle long distances comfortably, and also include links to all the useful information that helped me along the way.

On the way in Hangang park

On the way in Hangang park

About parts and packing:
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Busan or Bust: Days 6 and 7 ~ setbacks, surprises and the End of the Road

In which my body is falling apart, the bikes are falling apart, but we finally make it to Busan and THE BEACH

Day 6 ~ 남지 to 양산 (Namji to Yangsan) 70km

Day 7 ~ 양산 to 해운대, 부산 (Yangsan to Haeundae beach, Busan) 40km

You can also navigate from Yangsan to Busan Seomyeon station using Jan Boonstra‘s live Google Map.

The end of the trail

The end of the trail

The story so far
Day 6 started in high spirits with a lie-in until 8am and fine weather. We trotted merrily down to pack up the bikes in the parking garage below our motel and disaster struck. Wonderboy’s valve blew, and I discovered that, despite meticulous bike parts planning, I had neglected to pack, or even acquire, a spanner.
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Busan or Bust: Day 5 ~ ‘will I make it out of this alive’ day

In which I discover trick hills and trick trail signs and am aided by a longed-for tailwind

Day 5 ~ 대구 to 남지 (Daegu to Namji) around 100km

4Rivers guide here.

The story so far

It was great to be back on the road after our day off in Daegu. Prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best, I strapped on newly purchased ankle supports, lowered the bike seat a little further, and hit the road.

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Busan or Bust: Day 4 ~ ‘break’ day

In which I am plagued by a day-long headwind, dodgy ankles and knees and ridiculous humidity

Day 4 ~ Sang-ju to Daegu (outskirts) 110km

4Rivers Nakdong river trail guide here.

The story so far

I awoke and showered and quickly realised that the general pinkness of yesterday was not, as I had feared, sunburn, but a heat rash which, at this point at the end of the day, has not only worsened but spread from my pink and splotchy burning arms to my splotchy-and-starting-to-itch-ferociously legs. This was the first of numerous irritations which were to make Day 4 the Break day after the highs of yesterday.

Nevertheless, the morning got off to another upbeat start. It had rained more overnight and the air was fresh and cool, the ground drying. I was on the road again by 8:15. Thankfully, I hadn’t lost much ground through the big detour into the city as I was able to take a different route out to a point further along the trail. Being a geek, I insisted on backtracking 3km to Sangju weir to collect the next Stamp in my homemade bike passport, but Wonderboy gamely went along with it, and we were still making good time and feeling great.

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Lush landscapes

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Busan or Bust: Day 3 ~ ‘make’ day

In which I conquer Ihwaryang pass and escape a rainstorm in the nick of time

Day 3 ~ 수안보 to 상주시 (Suanbo to Sangju) 80km

4Rivers guide here.

Day 3

Day 3

The story so far

I started today’s ride with a photo before we set off from the lacklustre Motel Gloria in Suanbo, convinced from other blogs I’d read that today, hill climb day, could be the ‘break’ day for my legs and my suffering bike. Instead, it has definitely been the ‘make’ day, in which I have discovered that I was, in fact, born to bike, and should immediately quit any other line of work and spend the rest of my life on epic cycle trails around the globe.
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Busan or Bust: Day 2 ~ It Is Closed on Mondays.

In which disaster strikes twice but doesn’t hinder distance.

Day 2 ~ 여주시 to 수안보 map (Yeoju to Suanbo) 91km

4Rivers guide here. Scroll to the bottom right of the page to download a PDF copy of the map. Korean only, I’m afraid, but y’know – maps is maps.

Map (c) 2009-2014 by Map Pedometer. 4Rivers guide (c) Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

Day 2 (courtesy 4Rivers)

Day 2 (courtesy 4Rivers)

The story so far

I slept the sleep of the dead after my first day’s riding and awoke totally disoriented on finding myself in a hotel room. Having read on Couch on Wheels’ account of the trip that the tomb of the Number 1 Korean historical figure King Sejong the Great is located here, I felt I must visit it. Wonderboy felt no such compunction, so I agreed to get up early and go before we hit the road.

It Is Closed on Mondays

It Is Closed on Mondays

I’d obviously assumed that this would be a public memorial site that I could wander up to. In fact it’s a protected UNESCO World Heritage site, fully ticketed, walled and gated. Such a site was obviously not open at 7am, and as with attractions the world over, it is not open at all on Mondays. More

Busan or Bust: Day 1 ~ the full story

In which I wait out a storm, learn an early lesson and race against the weather to reach destination 1.

Day 1 ~ 여의도, 서을 to 여주 (Yeouido, Seoul to Yeoju) 95km

4Rivers guide here. http://www.riverguide.go.kr/eng/page.do?menuIdx=632

Day 1 (courtesy 4Rivers)

Day 1 (courtesy 4Rivers)

The story so far

Day 1 - Stamp 1 at Yeoido

Day 1 – Stamp 1 at Yeouido

The unpromising dawn to the day preceded a glorious morning in which the storm had blown away all vestiges of the clinging humidity which had been building up for a couple of days. We set out only a half hour later than planned and had crossed the Han river to reach the Yeouido certification centre for our first official trail stamp of the journey shortly after 9am.

The first lesson of the journey came early as I pushed my fully-laden bike up the cycle ramp to cross Seogang bridge and almost lost my baggage off the end of it. My cheap-as-chips seatpost bike rack, although claiming to be able to support up to 25kg, was not designed for a bulging 10kg of enormous SPAO backpack. I improvised with my tiny Daiso bungees and the dangling backpack straps, and things seemed much more secure. More

Busan or Bust: Day 1

rumblerumblerumblerumble….boom, Crack, CRASH !!!@#%%&******!!!!???!! ……… rumblerumblerumblerumble

Dawn of Day 1

Dawn of Day 1

Yep. 5:30am and I’m awakened by lightning flashing on the inside of my own eyelids! It’s the biggest, loudest thunderstorm of the year and it’s T-2.5 hours to bike-off. Thunderstorms due intermittently all day. We’re going to await the intermit, then take off and hide under the Han’s bounty of bridges whenever we need to. Thank god we bought those bin bags!

BUSAN or BUST: geared up and in the picture

We’re packed and ready. The bikes are tuned up, the excitement is building, the race is on.

For the last two weeks we’ve been getting bikes serviced, adding bits, (Madame is now sporting a very fetching red seatpost rack and some new ergonomic grips), buying spares (inner tubes, spokes, chain links) and my personal favourites, bike tools. Madame got a new rear tyre as well as the rack and a tune-up, or ‘setting,’ in Korean. Mr MTB (mountain bike) at Mapo MTB patted her and nodded, “Busan? OK.” Then he looked at Wonderboy’s bike, named The Beast for good reason, and laughed. “Busan?” He guffawed, “No no no!” And continued to chortle and mutter good-naturedly until it became clear that was exactly what we intended, at which point he sighed at the crazy foreigners and conceded to our request to tune it up, fix the broken bits and leave us to it.

nice rack

nice rack

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