There are plenty of ways in Korea to make a cycle tour a little cheaper and more interesting at the same time. Sure you can wild camp (my personal favorite) but not everyone is comfortable with the idea of pitching up behind a small shed in the middle of nowhere and sometimes it’s just nice to be able to clean up after a sweaty days ride, so I thought I’d mention WarmShowers.org
WarmShowers.org is the couch surfing equivalent for cycle tourists with the slogan ‘Hospitality for Touring Bicyclists Worldwide’ and a great way to meet some new people.
Here is my Warm Showers experience from the road.
Back in April 2009 I received an email from a gentleman named Mark Swain asking for a few details about cycling in Korea. He was cycling with his son Sam from Ireland to Tokyo and as all routes do had made a last minute change which brought them via South Korea. Unfortunately I was just days from departing on my own adventure and as much as I would have offered up my apartment for them to crash at was only able to provide them information to help as they cycled from Incheon ferry port to Busan.
A few weeks later while on the road in China Mark replied. He had not realized that we were headed in the opposite direction to England. He kindly offered up some very valuable information about cycling Turkey which ultimately changed our route and also offered us a place to stay in Canterbury, just half a days ride from Dover.
It wasn’t until Tibbs and I found ourselves nearing the cliffs of Dover that I thought about the offer again. By this point we were sick and tired of the wet gray autumn weather that was Europe, so on the off chance I emailed Mark. It turned out that he was out of the country but he said just contact his wife Lorna and come on over.
Cold dreary last days in Europe
We did, and after figuring out that the U.K still uses miles on their signs (very confusing) pulled up smelly and sweaty to their house only to be greeted with open arms. Lorna’s hospitality was nothing short of spectacular as she whipped up pizza and poured glasses of wine. Not more than 24 hours before I had been sleeping hidden away on a French farmers property and now here I was enjoying a home cooked meal, the first in months.
Camping the night before a warm shower
A week later I popped back down to Canterbury and stayed with them again so I could meet Mark and chat about life on the road.
Long story short both Tibbs and I had a great experience, meet an amazing couple and all thanks to Warm Showers. So to anyone out there heading my way look me up so I can pay the favor forward, and you, yeah you, cycle tourist in South Korea. Why aren’t you a member of Warm Showers yet?
Find me on Warm Showers under the user name BrakingBoundaries
This post is dedicated to Lorna & Mark who made my last night on the road such a memorable one. If you are heading through Canterbury on a bike after a long ride from who knows where, make sure you look them up. Mark has more than a few tails to tell of his time on the road with his son.