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gauvins 12-14-20 05:23 PM

2 questions WRT 4 rivers trail (Korea)
If things were to go according to plan (they do sometimes, don't they? :/) we'll ride the Four Rivers trail from Incheon to Busan, at the end of next spring.

1. We prefer to ride out of the airport. bRouter suggests a ferry between Yeongjongdo (island where the airport is located) and Wolmido (next to the trailhead). Apparently running every half hour or so and costing less than $2. I have yet to find a journal mentioning this alternative. Anyone here can confirm that it is viable?

2. Opinions diverge. Some accounts suggest that the trail is overcrowded and boring and should be avoided. Others suggest that it is a safe and convenient way to discover Korea. We have roughly two weeks at our disposal. Plan would be to fly to Incheon, spend two days in Seoul to partly overcome jet lag (14hrs), and ride to Busan with a few days to spare (we usually cover close to 100kms/day).

Thanks in advance for your input.

PDKL45 12-15-20 09:37 AM

From the airport you can take the subway. Use first and last carriages for bikes. Get off a couple of stops away near the trailhead.

The ferry isn't to the trailhead; Wolmido is surrounded by heavy urban areas, it's not a great option.

Personally? I'd put boxed bikes under a bus into Seoul. Make the bikes up at your accommodation and ride out to the trailhead later. It introduces you to the city and the bike paths and you can maybe get the passport at the trailhead.

2 weeks is ample time. Take time to get off the trail to go to places like Andong and Gyeongju. I will post more later, but for now, join the Seoul to Busan snd Beyond group on Facebook and read through old threads.

gauvins 12-15-20 10:38 AM

Thanks for your input.

Hmmm... Our routine is to fly our bikes in padded travel bags, reassemble handlebars, pedals and whatnot outside of the baggage claim area and roll out of the terminal. The few times we've had to carry our bikes to a train/subway station were comparatively unpleasant, which is why I am asking for advice in this case.

I've attached a picture of the route suggested by bRouter (light green). The red arrow (top center) points to the Ara West Seal Lock (official gate to the 4 Rivers Trail). My understanding is that the ferry would drop us 10kms or so the south. We'd probably ride close to Seoul (ex: Seonyudo) on the first day, stopping at a Montbell on our way. Perhaps back to the trailhead at the start of our ride towards Busan, but most likely not, as we do not care much about passport stamps.

If you are convinced that this is a bad idea (for some reason), please let me know.

Also wondering if Seoul is a bike friendly city -- should we leave our hotel/apartment on foot and take public transit or go ahead and bike around without fear of having our bikes stolen?

Thanks again for your time

PDKL45 12-15-20 07:02 PM

It is possible to assemble bikes outside the airport I think. You can't ride over the bridge from the airport island legally, but you could take the ferry.

So you want to take the ferry, get off near Wolmido and ride to the Ara canal? Or ride through Incheon and into Seoul?

Riding up to the end of the Ara canal from Wolmido is possible, but if you're straight off a flight, with newly reassembled bikes and hitting Korean roads with city traffic, I'd advise caution.

Also, Montbell may be a bit expensive. If you need camping gear, I'd go to Jeongno 4 Ga (the intersection east of the big Jeongno 3 Ga station) and hit the market there, as it's a huge cluster of camping/outdoor places. So much cooler than a regular Montbell outet as well, you can see Dongdaemun and have a look through all the markets there, get ground mungbean pancakes (so much nicer than they sound in English) for lunch in the famous market by the camping market and experience Seoul.

Edit: Seoul is bicycle friendly, but on the Han river paths mainly. There are many designated bike paths on pavements, but no one pays attention and they're crowded. Patience is required, but there is a whole lot of great infrastructure in the Han River park.

Bring locks, but theft isn't all that common. You don't have to worry too much about things being stolen; like Japan, Korea is well-known for safety.

Also, check out infrastructure here:,10,0,0,0,dhef

All in Korean, but the Naver App for smartphones is in English. Here, though, you can see the maroon lines of bike paths. Dotted lines are secondary paths on pavements etc. Don't trust dotted lines; some are excellent open paths, others are afterthoughts. For streetview, click the inverted teardrop icon to the top right of the page.

PDKL45 12-15-20 07:14 PM

The AREX subway is a better option IMO. I can't remember exactly, but you may be able to take bikes on it 7 days a week? Normally it's Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays (bikes on subways) on the Seoul metro, but in practice, after 9:30 am and before 5:00pm on weekdays is possible on first and last carriages. It's easy and the stations there facilitate bikes. It's just a few stops from the main terminal to the stop that's out near the Ara trailhead.

Edit: I would strongly recommend the Seoul to Busan and Beyond group on Facebook. Every question you will have has been asked there--repeatedly--which I why I would advise joining the group and just reading through old threads, or using the search function for the group and looking for anything you want to know. The whole bus or subway question comes up all the time, can I ride my bike off the island, etc. There's a thread there about the ferry as well, I can remember seeing it.

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