Seoul Cycle Chic – BMX bandits

Korea’s a very mountainous place. Hiking is therefore popular. However, a strange phenonmenon exists among hikers here: an irrational but overwhelming desire to sport the whole professional hiking kit. Like wearing a ninja suit with a red Gore-tex jacket and titanium walking cane is going to make much difference to a weekend jaunt up a mountain. You’re not going to go any faster than everyone else on this crowded little peninsula.

Sadly, this logic holds fast for a significant minority of folks on bikes. Take this bizarre example of a human being on a leisure outing: 



I think someone must have seen BMX Bandits once too many times as a child.

Compare to these sensible peeps just a few moments later:

Just enjoying the sunshine

Just enjoying the sunshine

Now ask yourself which style you would rather follow and go out there and be seen.


8 thoughts on “Seoul Cycle Chic – BMX bandits

  1. Wow, imagine taking the time to put all that stuff on just to pop to the store! It’d make a military operation out of a simple errand run. Surely those people must cycle without this get-up sometimes?

  2. hi, sexify.
    I live in Seoul and saw your interesting posts. you got a great pictures : )
    I just want to tell you one thing about cycling in Seoul. In Seoul, Bike riding is quite dangerous. So Bike club requires helmet, and other cloths. hehe.

    I go to office by bike and it took 38 km ( 2 hour ) for one way. At first I tried go with normal outfit but too many sweat + dangerous(I took a two traffic accident already. if I didn’t took a helmet and safety guard…woo.) etc.. so i got to buy bike cloth! Having on it is quite irritating, changing cloth and take a shower at morning one more time at office… but it helps ride easily long-way.
    (and many many cars have smoke.. so it required to take on a mask.)

    One of my friend lives in England and told me that riding a bike in England is quite safe. so no need to take a helmet and other safe guard stuff. I envy that, but we don’t have that enviroment, we need our safe-armors.

    We are different people in different world. I hope Seoul bike riders will ride freely with normal cloth

    I just wanted to tell you that we have our own lessons =)
    please don’t take it to personal attack ? or something like that.
    Sorry for my grammatical and social manner mistakes 😀
    I’m still learning English, and its not my main tongue. and I never been to England! (I hope to go someday! to baker street! Homes! hehe.)

    Good day 🙂

    • @ Hanasea

      Thank you kindly for the long comment. You deserve a full reply.

      You cycle a long way each day. That’s quite an achievement! I suppose for such a long distance it makes sense to wear something comfortable and not too sweaty. (Personally I would take my little folding bike on the subway or bus most of the way!)

      But that’s beside the point. What I’m trying to say here is that the main benefit of cycling is that it is a quick, easy and safe way to get around locally. (For getting to the shops, getting to work, meeting up with friends and so on.) The only ‘cycle clothing’ you need is your ‘walking clothing’ or ‘working clothing’ or ‘hanging-out-with-friends clothing’. 😉

      The problem I have with the ‘masked ninja’ outfits worn by most Korean cyclists is that they put regular people off cycling. They give cycling a bad image! The average person in a car or bus or on foot looking at a ‘cycling enthusiast’ here (hunched over in gaudy lycra) sees a sub-culture that he or she has not interest in belonging to. On the other hand, if that person in the car, bus, etc sees an elegant and well-dressed lady or gent riding along comfortably and leisurely, he or she is likely to get a very positive impression of everyday bike riding and is much more likely to want to give it a try.

      You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to know that people copy what is attractive to them. 🙂

      This is important because of the well-established concept of ‘safety in numbers’. Safety in numbers means that the more people who ride bikes the safer each of those people is. (Because people become more used to cyclists and may know someone who cycles.) And the best way to get more people riding bikes is to give cyclists a positive and attractive image.

      Have you been to Japan recently? Please do. Osaka, Fukuoka,… Rent a proper sit-up-and-beg bicycle with a big front basket. (Far more comfortable and practical for local trips.) No silly-looking specialist clothing needed. There’s absolutely no reason you can’t do this in most areas of Seoul. Indeed I’ve seen plenty of people who do.

      (Yes, I tend to disagree that gettting around by bike (locally) in Seoul is dangerous – I feel safer cycling here than in England (narrow roads), though I wish Korean drivers would signal. It is inconvenient at times, but not especially dangerous.)

      On a final note, it seems that you wear a helmet in order to protect yourself from road danger. Be warned: this is NOT what helmets are designed for. They are made to protect you from cuts and bruises in a solo fall at under 20km/h. Nothing more. If a motor vehicle hits you, no helmet will save you. A far more important factor is riding carefully and not getting into an accident at all.

      By all means carry on your long commute (you deserve a reward or something!) but please try some local trips in normal clothes on a normal bike too. Help us contribute to giving everyday cyclists a good image.

      Stay well. 🙂


      PS. If you have time, I highly recommend
      for some inspiration on real cycle clothes.

  3. Pingback: Final weekend in Seoul [fully updated] « *SexifyBicycles*

  4. Same here in Taipei. You get to see many identical twins on a weekend afternoon along the river side bike route.

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