▲ The crew pose outside of Olle Puncha (Windmill) Guesthouse. Photo courtesy Yoon Mijin
The first ever Jeju Weekly Cycle Tour was made June 6 to 8 as three intrepid explorers tackled Jeju’s highways and byways head on. Yoon Mijin, Patrick Conway and Mike Tokarz started out Jeju City and went through Hyeopjae, Moseulpo, Daepyeong and Seogwipo, before finally ending in Pyoseon.
The Jeju Weekly would like to express its heartfelt thanks to all of the businesses that supported the tour with bikes, accommodation, meals and much more! Special thanks go to Purun Bike Sharing, Curry Wala, Le Pirate, Tres Bien, Olle Puncha (Windmill Guesthouse), Hyeopjae Guesthouse and everyone else who shared smiles and laughter with our motley crew! This review of the tour is from Jeju’s resident Derryman, Patrick Conway.
▲ Some of the delicious food enjoyed on the trip. Photo courtesy Yoon Mijin
June 6 (day one): Tres tres bien!
As the three of us (myself, Open Mike and Yoon Mijin) set off from Venture Maru in City Hall, I questioned whether I could cycle around the coast of Korea’s biggest island without a helmet or a cushioned saddle? Three days later the answer is: Yes, I could!
It was a comfortable late morning start on the Friday morning as we maintained a relaxed pace and left the city behind to follow the west coast. I’d been up and down it hundreds of times by car, but you take in much more on two wheels and, of course, pedal-power maintains Jeju’s clean air, too.
Jeju’s cycle lanes are a work in progress but I never really felt endangered by traffic at any point during the trip. I’d also never noticed those cute statues of Korean traditional games around Iho, nor the hidden gastronomic coastal gems.
A case in point was Curry Wala, in Gwakji, Aewol-eup, which we reached after a relaxed 2 hours. Neither the food nor the service disappointed us there! The owner, Dawa, fled to India from his native Tibet and learned his art there. We really got close over over his curry, naan and lassi. Lovely owners!
It was just a minute ride to Hyeopjae Beach and our fairly comfortable target for the first day. We had plenty of time to shower and relax before dropping by Tres Bien eatery with its international menu and all-day brunch (with coffee) for 10,000 won. Again, great service here.
▲ Jeju's only Tibetan-run Indian curry house, Curry Wala at Gwakji. Photo courtesy Yoon Mijin
June 7 (day two): Flat out pleasure
Just like day one, the course was not too demanding, although the ‘ups and downs’ of road cycling were being saved for the final day.
We set out after an adequate breakfast at popular Hyeopjae Guesthouse, where we had stayed the night. The rain gods smiled once again on Jeju Weekly. Indeed, I was becoming a bit of a lobster on this trip.
From Hyeopjae the 2-hour coastal road ride down to Moseulpo was very pleasant. From there we cycled on to Sagye-ri where we enjoyed the stunning Yongmeori (Dragon’s Head) Coast near Mt. Sanbangsan.
We could stop off wherever we liked, one of the real plusses of this tour. We had a quick gander at Andeok Valley before gliding serenely to the picturesque village of Daepyeong. It was here we stayed at Olle Puncha, or “Windmill” Guesthouse, which turned out to be one of my nicest stays ever. The family and staff there were so welcoming, and the dinner and breakfast filled the belly of even a food monster like me.
▲ "Losing to a kid is not fun," said Patrick Conway (left) after this encounter. Photo courtesy Yoon Mijin
June 8 (day three): The heat is on
More rays on my back this day as we set off around 9.30 in the morning, keeping to our not-so-rigid schedule. After a tearful goodbye with our lovely Daepyeong hosts, we then shed tears of sweat as we tackled the challenging climbs from there to the far end of Seogwipo City.
Novice riders may have to get off their bike at times, but you’ll get there in the end. If you’re smart, you’ll time your rest stops with the multitude of landmarks along the way -- the pedestrian bridge to a small islet, Jeongbang Falls, Oedolgae and some lovely estuaries in Namwon-eup.
I won’t lie, I didn’t have much gas left in the tank when I was on the last stretch to Pyoseon. Conveniently, we were able to drop our bikes before the town and get picked up for the redemptory trip back to Jeju City.
I really enjoyed this tour and now feel that I know Jeju as a resident should. I would definitely join this tour again, and I won’t take so many wrong turns next time!
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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