'Fighting!' This is a shout of encouragement we were often greeted with while cycling and hiking. Koreans are avid outdoor enthusiasts. With mountains, rivers and coastline, there are abundant opportunities for any and all outdoor activities. Koreans do not do anything half-way, whether it is having the best equipment, being kitted out to the hilt or building a country-wide network of bicycle trails.

4대강길 or Four Rivers Bicycle Trail is such a network. In 2009 despite mounting opposition, the Korean government ploughed ahead with the developement of this ambitious project. The rivers initially targeted were Han, Nakdong, Geum and Yeongsan. The official completion was in late 2011 which was good timing for our arrival in 2012. We are happy to report that the trails extend to even more rivers and are being developed on the island of Jeju.

Our goal was the route from Incheon in the northwest to Busan in the southeast along rivers Han, Nakdong and sandwiched in between, the mountain pass Saejae. The cross country trail showcases Korea's natural beauty as well as historical landmarks. The joy of riding on traffic-free paths surrounded by stunning scenery would only fuel our desire to see more of the country on two wheels. The Incheon-Busan ride would be the first of many.

The best training ground for us was going to be the trails along Han river. The access from home to the river was 5km of congested city streets with impatient drivers, especially those behind the wheel of a taxi. The narrow streets around Bukagsan provided hill training. Korean cyclists are out in full force on weekends and we got to chat with some who later became our Facebook friends.

The trails are well sign-posted, it is difficult to lose one's way. The Four River system makes the experience fun by providing a 'passport' which gets stamped at 'stations' along the trails. The stations are red phone booths! We picked up this passport and the first stamp at Incheon.

Click on the links to the right for more on our journeys.