Doing assignments, group projects, and other school related things are considered heavy burdens by students as they take students’ precious time. As most work requires deep thought, students are likely to consider physical activities less important than mental activities. Especially, outdoor activities are much harder for university students because they require students to take time out of mental-type work to physically go outdoors. One The Sookmyung Times reporter, thought something there must be more than just mental work, so she decided to ride a bicycle.
An SOS from the Body
Like most university students in November, the SMT reporter felt burdened by the load of work she faced daily. Right after midterms, she found herself suffering dizziness for two days. At the Sookmyung Health Care Center and after seeing the doctor, she learnt she did not have a cold, but was suffering from fatigue. The reporter hadn’t exercised in at least two years. She needed to move, to do something that would strengthening her body and release her stress. Searching the internet, the reporter came across information detailing twenty ward offices in Seoul that were involved with bike rental services. In Yongsan, she found the Yongsan Public Bike Rental at the Yongsan Bike Safety Center. Since it was close to Sookmyung Women’s University and relatively close to her home, she decided to give the place a visit.
Cheaper Price, Better Service
To go to the Yongsan Bike Safety Center, the reporter rode the subway to Sinyongsan Station. After exiting at gate 3, she arrived at the center by walking straight for about 10 minutes. Because it was a Thursday and 4 o’ clock, there were not many people. The information signboard said bike rentals were available daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and returns could be done after 8 p.m. There were two kinds of bicycles that people could rent: a sports bike in which the saddle was pretty high and a general usage bike, which most people ride. The reporter opted for a bike that had a basket in the front. After examining the bike, advice she received from blogs she’d read, like the state of bike wheels, the height of the saddle, and the brakes, she determined all was in order and decided on the bike. Each bike was secured in place by an automated locking device. A long and slim ATM, where people have to pay 150 won per 3-hour ride was located nearby the bikes. Once the 3-hour time was up, there is a late charge at 1,000 won per hour. Despite the late charge, the reporter still felt like she was renting a bike free, compared to Han River Bike Rental Services, which cost 3,000 won per hour. Her bike was numbered 7, which she had to remember in order to return it to the proper stall after completing her bike ride. Once she’d make payment at the ATM, she set off on her bike ride.
From Han River Bridge to Yeouido Park
The reporter head out from the rental area to cross the Han River Bridge. Along the bridge were postings of famous people’s words; they were attached to the bridge to sway suicide attempts and encourage people to strive through life. The reporter read postings as she biked slowly along the path. One of the most impressive was posted by Sister Claudia, aka Lee Haein, “Give me wisdom to do what I have to do, even if I don’t want to, and not to do something although it is what I want to do.” Reading the words, she was inspired to be stronger no matter how hard it was or how much she hated to do something. In the middle of the bridge, there is Noddle Sum Park. Passing there, she was shocked at the bad smell. It seemed to be coming from the street beside Han River Bridge, which connects to the Han River. The reporter wondered whether the River was contaminated. After crossing Han River Bridge, she coasted down the slope on her bicycle. A bit scared but determined, she darted down the incline. It was thrilling. She forgot all her burdensome list of work-to-do and enjoyed the wind on her face at the moment. After biking along the city road, she came to the bike path used by bikers when riding along the Han River. The road connected Yeouido Han River Park and Yeouido Park. Han River and its parks were beautiful with their red maple trees and pampas grass. Various people were out enjoying the day and exercising. The reporter took note of an elderly gentleman out for the day and playing his harmonica as he walked along the pampas grass. The reporter soon felt physically tired because it had been a long time since she’d done any physical exercise, so she stopped from time to time to rest. Despite this bit of fatigue, the beautiful scenes and the energy of the people made the reporter concentrated on biking and soaking in its pleasure. After stopping by Yeouido Park, the reporter rode back to Yongsan Bike Safety Center to return the bike. Unlike the Han River Bike Rental Service, the rental system operated by ward offices doesn’t allow people to return bikes to other ward offices. People must return it to the same ward office where one borrowed it from. She felt a bit inconvenient at having to do this and wished the ward offices would work together to make it easier for returns.
Manners Maketh Safety
Although the reporter observed several beautiful scenes while bike-riding, she also encountered some nasty scenes. Some teen bike riders rode dangerously. They either rode too slowly or too fast so the reporter had to often brake quickly or slow down to avoid crashing into the rider in front of her. Also, a number of riders played their music too loudly or rode no-handed. Even though they were likely confident riders, the reporter felt their behavior inappropriate and dangerous, especially if they hadn’t noticed a passerby or if an unexpected event occurred suddenly. Next, some pedestrians walked on the bike path, not on the pedestrian walkway that entire path from Han River to the two parks despite the clearly marked sections: bicyclists and pedestrians. The reporter had to be constantly alert to avoid hitting people on the bike path. Rules exist for everyone’s safety and convenience. For safety, the attitudes of the public need adjusting by campaigns that publicize responsibility for obeying rules and caring for others.
Clear Body, Clear Mind
Before visiting the Center to borrow a bike, the reporter was worried and thought that borrowing a bike might be a waste of her precious time. The reporter completed her bike ride in two hours. However, bike-riding gave her something she didn’t expect: confidence. Just two hours of bike-riding made her forget her complicated life and take notice of the simpler things like the scenes around Han River and the wind along the bike path. Doing this simple, physical activity enabled her brain to recompose itself. She could clearly judge what was important and systematically organize her tasks. Many people view mental work as more important than physical activities. However, the reporter realized firsthand the power of physical movement, and that one’s mental health depends on one’s physical health. To clear your thought, exercise your body.