Renting Bikes In Namyangju Outside of Seoul
My friend Cheleen had told me about an incredible bike path stretching deep into the Korean countryside that I had to check out, so last weekend I found myself on the train out to a station I had never heard of to see what all the hype is about.
I arrived at Paldang Station (팔당역) around 10am on a Friday morning to the first of what is sure to be many hot summer days. I walked about two minutes to the first bike rental store I could find, Bike Total, and rented a small beach cruiser (at least that’s what we call them back home…) for the entire day (12,000원 and they take card!)
I asked the man working at the bike store for some directions and it couldn’t have been easier. He said just follow the blue line on the road and you’ll find the bike path. It worked! I was in the bike lane on the road (with cars) for about 30 seconds before I swung a right and was brought onto a gorgeous 3 lane bike-only path running right alongside the river. It was clearly marked on the road and with these handy blue signs.
The views were absolutely insane. There was a “walking” lane for pedestrians but no one was out walking yet so I was able to slowly ride in that lane and stop to take in the stunning surroundings whenever I wanted. There were a few serious cyclists on the path but I didn’t feel any pressure to ride fast or be paying really close attention because the path never got crowded enough for that. I was pulling over ever 5 seconds to take more photos!
I continued down the clearly marked path until I reached Neungnae Station (능내역) which is an old train station that was open from 1956- 2008. The discontinued station is now a cafe and is filled with old photos from people using the station all the way back to the 50s. It seemed like a popular rest stop and I sat with a few other cyclists to have some snacks that I packed myself and some much needed shade.
I could have continued much further along the path, but since I was recovering from a nasty cold, I decided not to push my luck and headed back to Paldang.
A few minutes away from the station, I popped into the huge cafe called 9 Block for some coffee and brunch. The building sits right on the river and has 2 floors of incredible views. I ended up with an olive cheese scone (which was more moist than a scone should be, but still delicious) and an iced coffee. They had more substantial brunch options too like sandwiches and french toast!
I sat there about an hour with my bike just hanging out in the parking lot without a lock - something you can only do in Korea lol. When I was finished, I got back on the bike and rode about 5 minutes back to Bike Total, had them look over my bike to make sure I didn’t break it, and was on my way.
I wish I had discovered this earlier, since the hot hot Korean summer makes it hard to be outside too long adn as of this week, it has arrived. Namyangju is famous for its autumn foliage so I absolutely can’t wait to visit again in October!!
I highly suggest this route for those of you looking for new scenery for your bike ride. It’s much more laid back then the crowded skinny bike lanes near the Han River at Yeouido and the views can’t be beat.