And I mean that in a literal way. (Perhaps also a figurative way – who knows?)
On Saturday I joined my friend Botond on an excursion with a mountain biking club. We went to a mountain near Bundang, south of Seoul. The group consisted of around twenty foreigners, mostly from North America, but including a Kiwi and a Malaysian (who sounded like Arnold Schwartzenegger, bizarrely). Almost everyone was wearing lycra or fleece with short cargo pants.
I felt out of place in my jeans and sweater – but I don’t really have any even vaguely sporty clothing. I also don’t have a bike, so I was loaned one for the day – a blue mountain bike known as the ‘loaner’. Or possibly ‘loner’ – who knows?
The ride involved a lot of going uphill – either riding or walking – and it was very tiring; especially once we hit the second part of the ride. I’ve ridden bikes on three occasions so far this year, which brings the total number of times I’ve ridden a bike since I was a teenager up to … about three.
In addition to my relative lack of skill, the bike was hard to get the hang of. The seat started off very high, and the gears were unusual. There was a ring around the bar just inside each handle, which you twisted to change gears. It took me a long while to remember which way was up and which down. Plus it was fairly easy to turn them accidentally while trying to simply grasp the handles.
Towards the end of the long, tiring ride, I started to get the hang of things, and to build confidence when it came to going down fairly steep, narrow, uneven forest tracks, and going fast. And, where you get a nice, relatively level stretch of path, it can be quite fun to whizz along, not pedalling (if possible).
At the end, there was a small barbecue held in the middle of the large car park for the nearby lake and spa (in the water at the edge of the lake was a large bungee-jumping tower). I was drained, so I didn’t feel up to much socialising. But I think it (mountain biking) may be something I’ll try again sometime.