I like how cycling, or even just a shared interest in cycling, can lead to spontaneous friendships.
On a recent business trip to Seoul, a colleague and I were killing time between meetings by walking down some side streets in the Apkujongno area, famous for its large number of luxury brand stores, and even larger number of plastic surgery clinics.
About ten minutes into our stroll I spotted a very cool Dahon Folding bike parked in front of a small Chinese restaurant.
I was surprised because folding bikes aren’t as popular in Korea as they are in Japan, and this bike in particular, was really tricked out with great accessories including a dual suspension, a nice rack system, and ultra thin tires.
My colleague couldn’t really understand what I was getting all excited about as I tried to explain to her how cool this particular bike really was. In fact, she didn’t even know that there bikes that could be folded. In fact, she thought I was acting kind of “weird.”
As I was admiring this fine, under appreciated ride, the owner sauntered over and said hello. Well, actually he said, “Annyong haseyo?,” which is pretty much the same as “hello” but a lot longer and harder to say.
Once I confirmed that he, in fact, did own the bike, I gave him many compliments and asked if I might lift it up to check the weight. He obliged, and then, after I set the bike back down, proceeded to show us how quickly it could be folded.
My colleague was kind of like amazed and disturbed all at once. “Is it safe to ride a bike like that?” she asked. The owner and I just smiled.
I then pulled out my iPhone and showed him a couple pictures of my Tartaruga folding bike. He gave me way too many compliments. But, as a proud owner, I’m always happy to hear kind words about my ride. (hint hint)
We then started to talk about rides, blogs, and, well, more rides, and our blogs. It turns out, that’s right, that we both have blogs. And, guess what? We both like to tell other people about them. Another shared interest!
My colleague, was still kind skeptical about riding a bike that could fold up and was also feeling kind of like a third wheel. So, after, snapping a couple pictures of the Dahon, the owner, Mr, Kang, and I exchanged name cards, promised that we would hook up for a ride on my next visit to Seoul, and then said our goodbyes.
Well, actually we said, “Annyongi keiseiyo,” which is the same as goodbye, but yes, a lot longer and harder to say.
If you can read Korean, or if you like to look at cycling pictures (I mean, who doesn’t? right?), I suggest that you check out Mr. Kang’s blog.
There are several cycling items that can be found on the left menu bar. Just match up the items on this screen shot:
I happen to like this page as it shows some serious SNOW cycling.