Meeting nature and people through bike travelling.
Dreaming of becoming a bicycle city
Culture reporter: Kim Miryang, Translated by: Kim Yae-seol( Duncan Elder)
Inside a narrow old Jeju alley, there is an office remodeled from an old house. Here, on the second floor, you can find Purun Bike Sharing.
After pushing open the old door, you can see the steep stairs made by CEO Kim Hyung-can’s father. Walking up by the stairs, there is the office and you can see Hyangsadang from the top of the building.
On the last day of August, the hot summer wind is gone and the autumn wind is blowing through the quiet alley. What does Jeju look like when it meets Purun Bike Sharing?
The bicycle road links people and nature. Although it is tiring, when you travel by bike you can feel the wind and experience scenery you never see when you travel by car.
Bike traveling has another charming point that you cannot feel when you travel by car, that is the feeling of speed.
Roads overloaded with tourists and cars, damaged nature and mass amounts of trash are not what we expect after a busy day. What we expect is to feel relaxed.
On Wednesdays, Mr.Kim is always busy with the preparation of his bike safety education classes. He is running safety education classes in Aewol, Mureng, and Jongdal primary schools and his classes reach a total of 1,500 primary students.
In the past 3 years, almost 3,000 students got bike safety education from Mr. Kim. In fact, Mr. Kim is planning to go on a bicycle trip with some of the safety education students around Jeju this October and November.
When we asked about the philosophy of Purun Bike Sharing, Mr.Kim told us about an episode that happened during the safety education.
“We were biking on the bicycle road in a line and a first-grade student overtook another student. The student was angry about the situation, so he starts to chase the student who overtook him. They crashed into each other and they started fighting. I think the reason why this happened is because children learn road rage from adults. Riding a bike is the first public transportation we learn when we are young and I believe it is important to give bike safety education.”
The goal of Purun Bike Sharing is to become a corporation that leads Jeju bicycle roads. Right now, the company is cooperating with Jeju Eco tourism in making Jeju bicycle traveling programs and bike delivery services.
They consign the management to the Fantasy Bicycle Road Certification Center and Jeju-si Public Bicycle Station.
Unfortunately, Jeju cannot keep up with countries like Japan, Taiwan, and some European countries that have great bicycle infrastructure. On Jeju, children give up riding bikes because of the inconvenience.
The Bike population on Jeju is increasing, but only for the people who join bike clubs.
As part of its goal to become a carbon neutral city, Purun Bike Sharing hope that Jeju can become a bicycle city. Instead of walking or driving, why not try riding your bike?