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Seoul’s 9th annual bike marathon draws 5,000

June 19,2017
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Some 5,000 bikers leave Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul on Sunday to make their way to World Cup Park in western Seoul, the finish line of the annual bike-a-thon hosted by the JoongAng Ilbo, JTBC and We Start and sponsored by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. [CHO MUN-GYU]
Some 5,000 people started pedaling at the go signal of the 9th Seoul Bike Parade in Gwanghwamun Square on Sunday.

From the center of Seoul, they pedaled a total of 21 kilometers (13 miles) along the Han River and to the finish line at World Cup Park in Mapo District, western Seoul.

Hosted by the JoongAng Ilbo, JTBC and We Start, and sponsored by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the annual bike-a-thon was held for the ninth year on Sunday. Its theme this year was “Biking as part of your daily commute.” The city government intends to expand its 10,000 public bikes throughout the city to some 20,000 by the end of the year.

People from all walks of life participated in the event Sunday.

“My two sons and I were here in the bike-a-thon last year, too, and they loved it so much so we’re back this year,” said Song Sung-joon, a 48-year-old resident of Seoul. “We ride together every weekend.”

Kim Jun-ho, a 39-year-old father, was biking with his 5-year-old in a cargo bike. Some parents even used tandem bikes.

“I have been leading a cycling club at my school since April,” said Choi Heung-soo, a teacher at Sunjung High School in northern Seoul. “I’m biking together today with 11 students.”

“We are a group of people who care for people with disabilities, and I am biking here today with 14 people with disabilities,” said Park Hyo-im, 58. “Some of us cycle around the whole country every year.”

A man wearing a Captain America uniform was seen, complete with the signature shield.

Also participating were National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun, Vice-Mayor of Seoul for Political Affairs Kim Jong-wook, Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education Superintendent Cho Hee-yeon, Seoul Metropolitan Council Chairman Yang Jun-uk and JoongAng Ilbo Publisher Kim Gyo-joon.

The 21-kilometer stretch from Gwanghwamun Square to the World Cup Park was off limits to vehicles from 06:40 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

BY LIM SUN-YOUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]