Sometimes, there is nothing more attractive than setting out to explore, going beyond one’s comfort zone in search of adventure, or even traveling to places unfamiliar and farther off. The Korea University Bike Team (KUBT) offers ample opportunity for such forays. Becoming a member will add companionship to the mix, as well as a sense of accomplishment that is hard to find in other, purely travel-centric clubs.
Before the establishment of KUBT, a number of casual cycling groups were scattered here and there in Korea University (KU). As time passed, they coalesced into a single entity, a group where people from all walks of life unite in their love for bike rides. KUBT is its name. Although there is still a semester to go before being acknowledged as an official central club, KUBT is a group as vibrant and well-functioning as any other club within KU.
The central activity of KUBT is, obviously, bike rides. They are called ridings, and are held four times a month during the semester; twice on weekdays and twice on weekends. During summer and winter vacations, ridings are held only once a month, also on weekends. Spontaneous beonggae ridings are also available, and frequent outings are held besides those. Membership trainings (MT) are held in the summer—this year’s destination was Daesung-ri, Gapyong, and it took place over two days. Since the club does not have a room assigned to them yet, members usually meet up at the People’s Square or the Central Plaza.
Riding destinations vary. Members will usually visit nearby locations,such as the Han river on weekdays, saving more challenging courses for the weekend. On those days, everyone has a chance to travel to scenic places that also allow them to push their limits further; they get to pedal as far as Incheon or Chuncheon, enjoy the sights, have a good time with their fellow riders and return home quite refreshed overall. The members of KUBT help each other along during these longer ridings to make sure no one falls behind.
▲ Kim Beom Joong, president of KUBT. Photographed by Kim Ji Won.
This process of helping each other, of establishing a connection, can be called the heart of KUBT because teamwork and group ridings are inseparable. “We all have to take turns heading the group, to protect each other from wind resistance, and keep pace with each other to reach our destination safely,” explained Kim Beom Joong (’14, Physics), the current president of KUBT. Since riders need to constantly look out for one another, friendship is easily fostered through these ridings; numerous expeditions to bars and diners reinforce this connection and give the club the strong sense of community it is known for.
▲ Shin Eun Jung, KUBT’s public relations officer. Photographed by Kim Ji Won.
There is another activity for KUBT members, one that will also allow them to forge meaningful relationships. Two KUBT riders happened to belong to Korea University Social Service Organization (KUSSO) as well, and they suggested that the two clubs join hands. Thus, a new program for KUBT members was born, called the 100 Percent Project; KUBT members go for a bike ride along with the employees of Bear Better, a social enterprise that employs people with developmental disorders. The program takes place every two weeks at Seoul Forest Park and Cheongyecheon bike lane. Participation is not mandatory.
KUBT members who do volunteer to keep the disabled company form new bonds that prove to be rewarding for both parties. Sometimes invaluable life lessons are to be gained; Shin Eun Jung (’14, Mathematics), KUBT’s public relations officer, recounted the story of a kindhearted BearBetter employer. “She only had the nicest things to say to everyone, and always said thank you on every occasion. Her actions made us genuinely reflect on how we should address people around us.” The Bear Better employees also derive great happiness from these ridings. “They keep asking us when we will be back and to go riding together more often.They enjoy being with us so much, and that is truly rewarding for us,” added Kim.
Opportunities to make new friends abound in KUBT, for sometimes it will collaborate with cycling groups from other universities. Team Yonsei, a cycling group of Yonsei University (YU), is an excellent example. The friendly rivalry between these two schools spiced up ridings quite a bit; “Everyone was so full of energy!” exclaimed Shin. Reviews of joint ridings were very positive, and this year KUBT extended a hand to Hanyang University’s (HYU) HyCycle in an effort to let members enjoy even wider relationships.
One does not need to be a bicycle enthusiast in order to join KUBT, for this club seeks people who like to be around and make friends with others as well as cycling. Novices should bear in mind that cycling takes training to be truly enjoyed; every second or fourth Wednesday is reserved for ridings on the Bukaksan cycling route, in order for members to build up stamina and speed. Those interested have the chance to apply via the website kubt.me during recruitment periods. If one wished to join but missed it, they are free to contact either Kim or Shin whenever they like. Membership will be granted after the entry fee—twenty thousand won—is paid, and the KUBT community will have a warm welcome ready.
Group cycling and camaraderie go hand in hand, for it is essential that cyclists care for one another for everyone to enjoy the experience. However, KUBT does not stop solely at establishing close ties between its members, nor does it only focus on the joys of cycling. It aims to connect with peoplefrom other universities, and with those people often left out from/ignored by the society to bring happiness on both sides. Those who seek both physical exercise and meaningful relationships will not need to look any further than KUBT.
Recruitment Period: Official recruitments in March, May and September; may request to join at any time