Name: Gyeong-oh Chung (MSc Architecture, from South Korea)
Price: 110 euros
Striking feature: Not enough space to list them all
When asked to write a ‘Bike of’ article, there was only one person who immediately came to mind: Gyeong-oh Chung, or popularly known as ‘JK’, who hails from South Korea. It’s impossible to have a conversation with JK that doesn’t involve his bike. South Korea is a country not particularly known for having a strong bike culture, but JK has long been fixated on a specific type: ‘fixie’ bikes, or fixed gear bikes. His enthusiasm only increased when he was admitted to TU Delft, in a country where there are more bikes than people. Hoping to buy his first ‘fixie’ bike soon after arriving in Netherlands, JK was not only disappointed to discover that such bikes are extremely expensive, but also amused that the Dutch took more pride in riding old, rusted bikes that made more noise than the distance they covered. JK therefore decided to build his own ‘fixie’ bike, and in pursuit of this he bought a race-bike.
Little did he know that his life would change after buying that race bike. Calling it his “Ferrari”, JK adds: “The first thing I like about my bike is that it’s a ‘real man’s bike’, not some old lady’s bike. Second…well, let’s just say everything about it is awesome, from its ultra-thin tires that glow in the dark to its weight, which is lighter than the lock.”
Looking at his bike, it’s hard not to admit as much: his bike is pretty fantastic. But why does he call it his “Ferrari”? “The bike is just so fast that I can afford that precious extra 10 minutes of sleep in the morning,” JK explains. “It’s an amazing feeling when I ride my bike. I have these little imaginary races with fellow bikers on my way to and from the faculty.” He continues, smiling: “And I can also tell you that I haven’t lost a single one of those races yet!”
So what has he done about his former ‘fixie’ bike dream? JK reveals his big plans for the future. “The bike is already bright orange, so that saves me the paint job,” he says. “This coming Christmas break I plan to strip my bike, removing its current gears and brakes, and then I’ll buy a unique gear system and a set of pedals that will allow me to pedal in reverse.” As amusing as that might sound, I for one am looking forward to witnessing his fixied up ‘Ferrari’ firsthand.