The Heroes of Enduro Racing Team (@heroes_enduro) had the opportunity to check-out local trails in South Korea for a few days during our recent business trip to Korea. We knew instantly that this trip is going to be different from our regular mountain biking trips – where local guides and their crew were ready to pick us up from the airport to our destination as we didn’t have local riders’ contacts to show us the way around.
Usually, the local guides would handle all the logistical details and trail riding menu but as there wasn’t any local information about the trails, we had to do our own digging. Sites like TrailForks, Youtube and Facebook raved about “Bike and Skill Park” in South Korea, Yongpyong Bike Park, and Gochang Bike Park. This trip, we were only armed with a high level of info of where to ride, how long and how to get there. The rest of the details were planned when we actually arrived in Korea. (https://www.facebook.com/heroes.enduro/)
Plane, Train, and Automobile
We took a red-eye flight but were delayed by a few hours. All our pre-booked connecting train tickets deemed unusable. Fortunately, canceling the tickets was a breeze, we did it during the immigration and baggage clearance. We took an Airport Railroad Express, AREX to Seoul and from Seoul took a high-speed train, KTX, to Jinbu Station and from the station took a taxi or bus shuttle Yongpyong resort area.
Our biggest struggle was to move from station to station with the regular Evoc bike luggage, unlike EVOC pro which has a detachable front wheel. There was also limited space in the high-speed train for the bulky bike luggage.
Ski-lifted MTB Bike Park
Yongpyong is a premier ski resort in South Korea. During spring and summer, the resort will be frequented by the family for outdoor fun and games including mountain bikers.
As we arrived, we checked in, explored the resort facilities and the food was easy as there was even Halal food available. We even met a Korean who spoke fluent Malay. When we were done exploring and eating, we moved back to the room which was very spacious; and assembled our bikes.
This was the first time experiencing a ski-lifted bike park. It was easy and less strenuous from bike loading and unloading. It was also a great way to meet riders and local riders as it gave us the opportunity to repeat the trail many times to perfect the lines and our skills.
In conjunction with that, we met the bike park owner, Beck. We were told by Beck that we were the first Malaysians, Meor, Sufian, and Azham to ride at YP bike park. As we were talking and enjoying ourselves, we gathered information about our next destination, Gochang bike park. He said that he has the vision to expand the trails network and make YP as an Asia Whistler.
During the stay, we also met a group of expats from the US, Canada, Germany and we rode with them for 1 round. A few of them have been to Gochang and briefed us about the trails and cautioned us about Gochang Bike Park facilities.
The next day, Beck sent us to Jinbu Station with his 4×4 and offered us to be his host next time we or any Malaysians visit YP Bike Park.
Gochang Bike Park
The next adventure we took was the KTX train to Gochang. It became much smoother since we understood how to handle our oversized bike luggage in the KTX coach. We were greeted by Sangmok, a contact we acquired when we were in YP Bike Park. He was excited to have us since we’re the 1st Malaysian to set foot in Gochang Bike Park, and may even be in Gochang City.
Sangmok took us to lunch at a fish hot plate restaurant and discussed itinerary. Apparently, the bike park closes every Tuesday, which is the flag day. He promised to talk to the owner and allowed us to ride but we had to pedal up on our own. As for accommodations, we stayed at a homestay which was further up in a village area. We stayed in a homestay of a lovely couple. Staying there was a plus as we got to experience the local culture and attractions.
Alas, we managed to ride the natural trails of Gochang Bike Park. The upper section is rawer, and technical with so many natural features of the trail, while the trails on the lower section are more manicured like the typical bike park with nice beams, table tops, drop, gap etc. It was a totally different experience from YP Bike Park which was more manicured, while Gochang was rawer. A plus point, the great view at the top. On the 2nd day, we got to ride up with an uplift and his students.
As a whole, it was a fruitful and enjoyable trip. Unlike the usual trip, this was an exploratory trip. We will definitely be back with the whole team and friends to Korea.
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