Thousands of cyclists prepare for the Seoul Bike Festival at its starting point in front of the statue of King Sejong the Great in central Seoul's Gwanghwamun Square, May 19. Courtesy of Bereket Alemayehu

Over 7.000 cyclists, including Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, participated in Korea’s largest bicycle riding festival on the morning of May 19. Cyclists and bike lovers from all over the country flocked to Seoul’s main public square, Gwanghwamun Square, at 8 a.m. to begin the annual Seoul Bike Festival. This year saw the 16th edition of the event, hosted by JoongAng Ilbo, a daily newspaper company, and JTBC, a nationwide television network, and sponsored by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The 21-kilometer-long Seoul Bike Festival parade started from Gwanghwamun Square to the finish line at World Cup Park in western Seoul’s Mapo District. The festival welcomed participants between the ages of 10 and 80, from beginners to advanced levels. It was spectacular to see the beauty of Seoul along the river, cyclists with their pets and costumes in various themes.

On the same day, the event also hosted a freeriding program. Those who couldn’t make it to the starting point first thing in the morning were invited to choose their own 10-kilometer route, and reach the finish line between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to win a medal. As usual, this year’s festival has attracted foreign residents and other visitors. Cynthia Guzman, a mother of four children, was among the cyclists with her husband, children and friends for the third time. After crossing the finish line, when asked how it went, she told The Korea Times, “It was awesome! This was our third time participating in the festival. My whole family enjoyed the atmosphere and even the organizers allowed people not registered in. We are always welcomed on the ride with open arms and a positive attitude. Everyone has always been very caring and supportive. I love riding with so many people from all over the country and seeing all the different bikes and 슬롯사이트 costumes!”

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