Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Woohoo, Changwon Bike Party!

Changwon Bike Party! Photo courtesy Coby Z.
Ever since I heard of the Changwon Bike Party, I've been itching to take part. I needed two things, though: first, to get a Nubija pass so that I can use the city's public bike rental system, and second, to not be out of town so much. The Bike Party takes place once a month, and I've missed out because I'm so rarely home on weekends.

Fortunately, the October Bike Party was last Friday, and I was in town for it. I also got my Nubija pass a few months ago (and have been using the heck out of it already), so I was ready to go. After taekgyeon class ended at 10:40pm, I made my way to the nearest bike station as fast as I could, and, still sweaty from my workout, proceeded to bike the eight kilometers (five miles) downtown. It took me over half an hour, so by the time I neared the meeting place, I figured that the group would already have left. Fortunately, the organizer, Coby, had posted a map of the night's route online, so I used that to estimate where the group might be.

Cycling at midnight: cold, but fun. Photo courtesy Coby Z.
A bit anxious, I set off in pursuit. Soon, I was relieved to see a group of blinking red single taillights in the distance, which couldn't have been anything but a group of about a dozen cyclists headed toward the river. It took me about ten minutes to catch up to them.

The rest of the night was great! Although it was very cold, the adventure and good company more than made up for it. I chatted with some expat friends I knew and also made new friends, both Korean and non-Korean! I was really excited to meet the Koreans, actually, since I actually don't know too many who are my age. We talked as we biked, easily done since the wide and well-paved roads in the factory-dominated part of the city are conducive for simultaneous cycling and conversation. When we passed through the busier downtown area, we all rang our cute bicycle bells and shouted, "Woohoo! Bike Partyyy!" and Koreans stared at us or gave us high-fives. The group stopped twice at convenience stores for drinks and ended the night around 1:30 by going to a bar. (I headed home instead, arriving around 2am, since I needed to get at least some sleep before catching an early morning train to Seoul.)

In short, Bike Party is great, and I'm already looking forward to the next one.

P.S. As it turns out, Changwon Bike Party has its origins in the Bay Area, my home in California. The organizer took the idea from the San Jose Bike Party, which he attended regularly while he was studying there for a few years (while I was in college on the East Coast, I might add -- boy, did I miss out!). Just one more reason to appreciate this new monthly hobby I've found!

P.P.S. Changwon Bike Party website. We're also on Facebook!

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