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Is touring the US big with South Koreans?

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Is touring the US big with South Koreans?

Old 09-18-16, 05:59 PM
  #1  
spinnaker
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Is touring the US big with South Koreans?

I am a member of Warmshowers. I just had a young South Korean man stay with me a few days ago. I have had at least 2 guests from South Korea (one of them a monk) stay with me (maybe 3). A couple of weeks ago I got a message, that I missed, from another South Korean. I just got another request tonight.


That makes 5-6 South Koreans that have either stayed or contacted me. The most out of any singe country. I thought maybe this recent warmshowers member knew the previous member. Maybe they were in a group and got separated. But he does not know my previous guest.

I have had people stay with me from a number of countries around the world but I have had the most from South Korea (except for guests from the US)

So I was wondering if anyone new if touring the US is especially popular in South Korea?
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Old 09-19-16, 06:48 AM
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I have hosted a few people from warm showers and one was a Korean two years ago.
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Old 09-19-16, 07:20 AM
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If you get a South Korean cyclotourist guest, ask them if they know Mr. Lee from Bikely in Yongsan. There's a good chance they will.

Cycle touring is still niche here, with road and MTB dominating, but the investment in world-class touring infrastructure (over 2000 kms of paved bike paths by 2019) has spurred interest in touring among locals here.

Plus, with South Korea being the size of a single US state, you can really stretch your legs over there in the US.
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Old 09-19-16, 08:46 AM
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<anecdote>


Met a few doing the Pacific Coast route, over the years , passing thru town.. when @ LBS.






./.
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Old 09-19-16, 10:58 AM
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The only South Koreans who ever contacted me on warmshowers were not cycling. This was 2 years ago. I turned them down, as I do to all warmshowers hosting requests from people who aren't actually bike touring.
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Old 09-19-16, 11:53 AM
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I know there's a huge cycling culture in South Korea's offshore neighbor, Japan. There's a new subculture over there of young and middle-aged people buying boutique touring bikes and handmade bags for bike touring across the region. Touring isn't new there (Nitto, anyone?) but several familiar U.S. companies like Surly, Ocean Air Cycles, and Rivendell have a lot of draw in Japan, and bag companies like Swift Industries and Inside Line Equipment, too. There's also a new crop of framebuilders in Japan making touring bikes, a tradition that thankfully thrives over there in the modern age as it does here in the US.

You can see some examples of this cultural overflow on the website for the bike shop Blue Lug. The site is in japanese, but if you click around you can see that almost all their bikes are touring bikes with bags. Here's a link to their flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bluelug/

I don't think there is a lot of cultural exchange between South Korea and Japan, necessarily. My grossly underfilled understanding of world politics in that region tells me that South Korea is pretty resistant to Japan and japanese culture, especially movies and television. Leftover tension from the war, when Japan occupied the country.

But, if the fascination with bike touring in Japan birthed itself from our stronger touring culture in the United States (as evidenced by the huge crop of U.S. brands in demand in their cycling market), then it's very possible that bug has bitten South Korea, too.

All speculation and I'm sure I'm missing a few pieces, but it sounds fun!


Here's a feature on The Radavist for a bike touring event in Japan: Bicycle Camping on Izu Oshima and Riding Mount Mihara with Circles | The Radavist

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Old 09-19-16, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
I know there's a huge cycling culture in South Korea's offshore neighbor, Japan. There's a new subculture over there of young and middle-aged people buying boutique touring bikes and handmade bags for bike touring across the region. Touring isn't new there (Nitto, anyone?) but several familiar U.S. companies like Surly, Ocean Air Cycles, and Rivendell have a lot of draw in Japan, and bag companies like Swift Industries and Inside Line Equipment, too. There's also a new crop of framebuilders in Japan making touring bikes, a tradition that thankfully thrives over there in the modern age as it does here in the US.

You can see some examples of this cultural overflow on the website for the bike shop Blue Lug. The site is in japanese, but if you click around you can see that almost all their bikes are touring bikes with bags. Here's a link to their flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bluelug/

I don't think there is a lot of cultural exchange between South Korea and Japan, necessarily. My grossly underfilled understanding of world politics in that region tells me that South Korea is pretty resistant to Japan and japanese culture, especially movies and television. Leftover tension from the war, when Japan occupied the country.

But, if the fascination with bike touring in Japan birthed itself from our stronger touring culture in the United States (as evidenced by the huge crop of U.S. brands in demand in their cycling market), then it's very possible that bug has bitten South Korea, too.

All speculation and I'm sure I'm missing a few pieces, but it sounds fun!


Here's a feature on The Radavist for a bike touring event in Japan: Bicycle Camping on Izu Oshima and Riding Mount Mihara with Circles | The Radavist

Not necessarily true. They are similar in so many ways. The older, conservatives hate each other, but younger generations been pretty open with each other.

If you take a look at both countries tv shows and music, they are pretty similar as well.
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Old 09-19-16, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Dream Cyclery View Post
Not necessarily true. They are similar in so many ways. The older, conservatives hate each other, but younger generations been pretty open with each other.

If you take a look at both countries tv shows and music, they are pretty similar as well.
I kind of figured but I didn't want to presume, as I haven't visited either region.
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Old 09-19-16, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
I don't think there is a lot of cultural exchange between South Korea and Japan, necessarily. My grossly underfilled understanding of world politics in that region tells me that South Korea is pretty resistant to Japan and japanese culture, especially movies and television. Leftover tension from the war, when Japan occupied the country.

But, if the fascination with bike touring in Japan birthed itself from our stronger touring culture in the United States (as evidenced by the huge crop of U.S. brands in demand in their cycling market), then it's very possible that bug has bitten South Korea, too.

All speculation and I'm sure I'm missing a few pieces, but it sounds fun!
The Japanese enforced prostitution on Korean women during the war, in addition to a lot of other nasty stuff. Both here in Korea, as well as in China, there is a lot of resentment left over from that time.


Touring here is growing in popularity due to the 4 Rivers project (see image) initiated by the previous Korean government which included hundreds of kilometers of dedicated bike paths, including the Seoul-Busan route and several others which are still being constructed.

Resources like this one give a good overview (shoutout to Hajo for all his useful information).

https://travellinghajo.wordpress.com...-in-one-piece/

Also, Bikely (Touring ?????), has opened, and along with importers/distributors of US and European bikes and accessories, aspiring touring cyclists now have options in Korea.

For these reasons--the growing popularity of cycle touring here, and the availability of bikes and gear--more and more cyclists from Korea are venturing out into the wider world, including the US.
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Old 09-20-16, 06:01 AM
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The thing is, it's not necessarily a great number touring, but Asians generally are very well connected with their respective countrypeople. Networked, if you like.

spinnaker, if you are an excellent warmshowers host, I suspect that you are referenced frequently among the South Korean cycle-tourist network.

My work involves employing university students and backpackers from various countries around the world during harvest season. Each ethnic group is well connected within itself, and more so when the conditions are amenable to them.
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Old 09-20-16, 12:59 PM
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I just find it amazing that I have had 3 contact me in pretty much a month. I thought maybe it was a group ride and they all got separated as they made their way east but nope.
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Old 09-21-16, 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I just find it amazing that I have had 3 contact me in pretty much a month. I thought maybe it was a group ride and they all got separated as they made their way east but nope.
Probably look at it from the point of view that happy customers tell others of their positive experiences. Which means you must be doing something right!!

Actually, when I think about it, campground accommodation and European/Australian hostels are pretty good ways for cycle tourists to network. You can have a great evening over a meal and drinks, and people are always happy to talk about the places and experiences they have enjoyed... and about the ones which they haven't, although more often than not, that is by omission rather than highlighting them.
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Old 09-21-16, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
Probably look at it from the point of view that happy customers tell others of their positive experiences. Which means you must be doing something right!!

Actually, when I think about it, campground accommodation and European/Australian hostels are pretty good ways for cycle tourists to network. You can have a great evening over a meal and drinks, and people are always happy to talk about the places and experiences they have enjoyed... and about the ones which they haven't, although more often than not, that is by omission rather than highlighting them.

But that is the thing. Not one comment from any of the Koreans because of their limited English.

And west of here (most were going west to east), I think the nearest hostel would be Chicago (if there is on there even).

I really think that Koreans must love the US or it is just some strange coincidence.
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Old 09-24-16, 07:20 AM
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Glad you asked this...I've been wondering the same thing. Have recently had a couple South Koreans overnite at my place, which is a bit odd because I'm not on any bike routes and they did not know each other. Poor folks are having trouble with my (alleged) Oklahoma accent so I've been considering having a few local directions translated to Korean.
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Old 09-24-16, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I really think that Koreans must love the US or it is just some strange coincidence.
I think you are correct sir! Most Koreans love America. Even the younger generation recognize what the US has done for Korea and are forever thankful.

spoken from the mouth of this Korean American.
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Old 09-24-16, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by reed523 View Post
Glad you asked this...I've been wondering the same thing. Have recently had a couple South Koreans overnite at my place, which is a bit odd because I'm not on any bike routes and they did not know each other. Poor folks are having trouble with my (alleged) Oklahoma accent so I've been considering having a few local directions translated to Korean.
Wonder if they are some of the same that stayed or inquired at my place???

If you think people have trouble with your Oklahoma accent, you should see the trouble they have with a Pittsburgh accent. I have had at least one person ask me if people were speaking English.


Not sure the value of having directions translated. You never know from what country people will be visiting. Most people with English as a second language read just fine. It is the spoke language that some have trouble.
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Old 09-24-16, 05:26 PM
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Agreed spinnaker. I got a tiny taste last year in the Netherlands. I could read a few dutch words but never could understand a spoken one (excepts for fiets) I just thought they would appreciate the effort and perhaps enjoy a bit of a mental break of not having to translate.
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