I went with a friend and bought it yesterday. It's a hybrid (I didn't know what that was before, but I do now). It's a beautiful turquoise and white colour. I have seven gears, a bell, lights (with three different flashing sequences), a basket, and a bicycle lock.
I had been thinking about getting a bike, but I live on the third floor and there's no lift (elevator) in my building. Still, the man who sold the bike to me was really friendly and helpful. I wanted a bike, so I figured I'd tackle the logistics of the stairs one way or another. My friend was going to get a bike, too. She wanted to get the same one as me, we joked about having couple bikes. Sadly, the shop only had one, so this wasn't to be.
When I got home, I found pushing my bike up the three flights of stairs trickier than anticipated. I figured there must be an easier way, so I searched Google. I came across this informative blog post by Sarah Wilson. I learnt my seven gears make my bike heavier, perhaps I didn't really need so many. Anyway, last night I practised picking it up and putting it down several times. Today I carried it down the stairs on my shoulder. The handlebars were a little wayward at first, thankfully I mastered it without suffering any facial bruising.
Next, I went for a dummy cycle ride to school, and then along the river by my house. I wanted to see how long it would take me to get to school (how much time I would save). I cycled slowly, navigating my way around pedestrians, cars, motorcycles in a 'zen' like fashion. I found it only really saved me about eight minutes. Whilst I was cycling towards the railway crossing, a woman cycling at speed overtook me. As she did, she noticed a pedestrian ahead. He was in her direct path. She rang her bell, but unfortunately he side-stepped in the wrong direction, she totally floored them both. As she clambered to her feet, she began shouting at the young man in Korean. Personally I felt she was going to fast, if he'd turned to look she'd still have hit him. He didn't really have time to see her coming, or move out of her way. This nasty little collision made me take the roads, and pavements more tentatively. The commute to school in the mornings will be even busier than a Sunday evening, with many more obstacles to navigate. Consequently, I think I'll continue to walk to/from school.
The cycle path along the river is safer, more scenic, and fun. Along the river it's generally pretty flat. Cyclists there tend to observe the path markings, etiquette and rules a lot better than Korean motorists and motorcyclists do (red light, what red light? pavement? you get the idea).
Previously, I found that cycling in the humidity is actually quite pleasant, the movement creates a cooling breeze. So, I plan to cycle down to the Han river, and along there during the evenings and at weekends. Also, next bike party, I'm ready. Plus, earlier today my friend messaged to tell me that she's now bought a bike, too. So, we can go on bike rides together.