GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Most cycling enthusiasts have a sense of adventure, a strong desire for exercise and a love of nature. Brian Perich, of Gangneung, Gyeonggi Province, is no different.
Perich, a Canadian expat from Windsor, Ontario, began riding with the Caboto Velo Club Canada in 1990, and later with Maple Leaf Cycling Club in 1992. His focus on endurance training led him to an interest in touring, from canoeing through Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario; to a 4000km and back cross-country motorcycle tour across North America. However, in 1998, after two traffic accidents and four road accidents, he finally retired from endurance motorcycling and put his sole focus into cycling.
Now he is preparing for his biggest journey yet: a 32,000km charity-focused, environmental expedition from north of the Arctic Circle to the southern end of Patagonia, Argentina.
He will be teaming up with several foundations to promote ecologically-sound travel, education through expeditions, and several charities supporting the communities of people suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Diseases like Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis. His expedition will be linked to Education Through Expeditions (ETE) founded by Polar Explorer AntonyJinman.com, as well as the IDEAS Foundation of Canada and GYGIG Foundation of America.
“My inspiration for cycling comes from previous experiences traveling across North America with my family. My passion lies in the physical and mental challenges of endurance training and learning to overcome my weaknesses through continuous participation in these related activities. It's a passion for adventure and the amazing experience which draws me together with others with similar interests that is fueling my fire to burn down the roads to Patagonia from the Arctic,” he said.
In addition to cycling, Perich is deeply committed to raising awareness of environmental issues that affect not only climate, but also our health and well being as caretakers of this planet. He hopes to engage this challenge to inspire others to take on their own mission to make a positive impact today.
“After living in South Korea for several years, you learn to appreciate the environment more. This is an intense environment to battle the influences of environmental pollution from industries, cars, trucks, buses and the effluence blowing over on prevailing winds from other countries. Bicycle touring is the one way to engage in the green movement and experience an amazing oneness with nature across the country, or the world if you are up for it,” he said.
For the past three years, Perich has been using the Korean roads as his training base his expedition. With a long journey ahead of him, he hopes that others will join him for the ride. “Cycling in Korea is great! As well, it's intense and a great place to train for global competitions or for just the love of cycling alone. I recommend it to everyone.”
For those looking to cycle around the country, here are some recommendations on the best rides in Korea:
East Coast–from Busan to Sokcho if you enjoy climbs, descents, twists, turns and village life.
Seongnam to Suam to Andong to Daegu — an excellent 3-day ride with two nights staying over in Min-baks. Larger cities all have Jimjil-bangs for 9,000 won or less per night, preferred accommodation unless you bring a tent/sleeping bag. Camping is available on the entire coastline (where fences don't prohibit access), and within rural areas and mountains across the country.
To find out more about the expedition, you can visit here
For more information about cycling in Korea, you can visit his blog.