Bike Rides and Garbage

Last summer on one of many bike rides I decided to head past Nanji park, going west and see what was out there. The green paved bike paths changed to dust and gravel and when I started smelling garbage I turned back. This summer I tried it again to see if any progress was made in that time. Nanji park is beautiful and they’ve done so much to it through the Hangang Renaissance Project. There are nice baseball fields, places to camp, a plot of wetlands you can walk through and find birds and plants and flowers, there is a skateboard park, bike park, etc. And past Nanji park it changes to what Nanji park probably used to look like. Progress has definitely been made. The path has been paved a bit further and someone has clearly been cleaning it slowly but surely. But then the clean up ends and there is just a lot of debris.

There is garbage strewn on the ground and in these containers and piled up behind barriers that definitely don’t stop the smell from permeating the air in this area. I decided to keep going and see if there was anything beyond the garbage plots and found some interesting boardwalks that go out over the water. I passed at least three of them and they all looked old and rickety. I went out on one and decided that was enough, not knowing how long they’d been there and with some of the planks missing I didn’t really feel like putting myself in any unnecessary peril.

There were signs indicating what kind of plant life could be seen, but again it seemed these were rather old and the plant life hasn’t been kept up quite well so it’s mostly weeds now. And then there were signs that didn’t indicate much of anything.

There were plenty of other bikers along the path so I could tell it’s used even in the state that it’s in. However, they were all smart enough to bring masks that, I’m sure, made them feel a bit more at ease than I taking a ride through trash strewn fields. There were less bikers than if I were to go east on the path so it made for the feeling of a bit more adventure like I was finding something new on my own. Ten minutes could pass without seeing another person and that was nice in the center of Seoul.

At one point riding through this high grass all alone on the path I started getting this creepy feeling that there were other people around that I couldn’t see. I heard some noises and realized I could be quite dumb rolling into an area where 10 minutes can pass without seeing someone. I went on to the rickety path and on the other side of all of the tall grass surrounding the bike path were some old men farming some plots. Chuckling to myself at the thoughts that had just run amok in my mind before seeing them and then seeing them and realizing they’re just farming in a field strewn with trash I got back on my bike and went on my way.

I hope the city continues to make progress on the bike paths and fields. There is so much space down there along the Han River and it’s nice to have a place to get away from the city within the city.

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