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by Neal Rogers
June 26, 2017
In today’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Oliver Naesen, Jolien d’Hoore take Belgian national titles; Steve Cummings, Lizzie Deignan win British road championships; Fabio Aru, Elisa Longo Borghini take Italian national championships; Arnaud Démare crowned French national road champion; Ramon Sinkeldam, Chantal Blaak win Dutch road titles; Mullen and Boylan win Irish road race championships; Other national champions; Valverde – Froome is the strongest favourite for Tour de France; Feeling undervalued, Kristoff delays extending contract with Katusha; Investors flee from Dalian Wanda Group, owners of Tour de Suisse and World Triathlon Corporation; Video – Tour de France official teaser.
In South Korea, a country where bikes are either a poor man’s transportation or a weekend workout for spandex-clad racers, the longest and most highly engineered network of car-free paths in the world is being built through dense evergreen forests, down wildflower-lined river valleys, and over steep mountain crests. Over 2,700km (1,677 miles) of trails has been completed to date, providing peaceful passage through massive cities and bike-only mountain tunnels with smooth pavement, solar-powered air tire pumps, bathrooms built in the shape of bicycles, and even London telephone booth-style “certification centers” every 20 kilometers (12 miles) where riders can stamp the location’s logo in special-issue passbooks.
Although fewer than 2% of people in South Korea get around on bikes (compared to 49 percent of European Union residents), the bike paths that will eventually reach 5,000 kilometers (3,106 miles) are gaining popularity, both with recreational riders in South Korea and among a growing number of foreigners who are choosing bicycle tourism as a vacation.
The paths pass beaches and waterfalls, rice paddies, garlic farms, persimmon orchards and pagodas. They sweep under the massive carved Buddhas in misty cliffs at Gyeongju National Park and pass by the Sangju City Bicycle Museum, a 300,000-square-foot (27,870-square-meter) center where hundreds of families, many who drive or take a bus down from Seoul, gather on weekends to practice pedaling on a small track. Although short sections of the South Korean routes share roadways with cars, they’re mostly traffic free and newly built, unlike networks that connect roads and paths like the EuroVelo’s 15 routes covering 70,000 kilometers (43,495 miles) between Portugal and Russia, or the TransAmerica trail, a 6,804-kilometer (4,227-mile) route from Oregon to Virginia.
To read the full story, click through to apnews.com.