There’s a lump in my throat and my eyes are watering as we whizz along the river path, heading out to the north of Seoul. Partly it’s the incessant dust that coats everything here but also I’m quite emotional.
This is my last ever ride on Custard the touring bike, as today I’m delivering him to his new home and family in the city.
The ribbon of pristine black asphalt snakes away into the distance, bisected by a neat white dotted line. Bordered on one side by the Nakdonggang river and on the other by tall grass. The sounds of busy traffic can be heard faintly, blowing in on the breeze but mostly overpowered by the calls of birds and frogs.
What’s weird, is that this isn’t some quiet backcountry lane but a dedicated cycle path, stretching further than the horizon. It’s totally deserted. A whole bike motorway just for me.Continue reading →
Precipitous mountains or pan-flat countryside; hole in the ground squat toilets or techno, heated-seat, music playing ones; or ancient, wooden temples nestled between towering glass skyscrapers.
It’s truly a land of contrasts and nowhere is this more apparent than when travelling by bicycle where the Japanese attitude can generally be summed up as ‘outside good, inside bad’. Continue reading →
I come from a culture of bread. Big, heavy, satisfying hunks of wheaty oven-baked goodness, which can often form the basis of all 3 meals in a day.
In fact it’s not unheard of to have toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and pizza for dinner, whilst snacking on scones and doughnuts.
The first days in Japan therefore were a real test of this as bread here is not a big deal. The bread products that do line the shelves of the convenience stores are mostly of the lighter than air, whiteness that dissolves without touching tongue or stomach (remember the UK slimming bread Nimble anyone?). In short, it’s unsatisfying.
After a few days on the bike trying desperately (and failing) to survive on air-sandwhiches, a new strategy was needed. Embrace the sushi.Continue reading →