Sokcho is a nice town. I cycle to Abai Village, over the bridge and down the elevator rather than using the hand-pulled crossing. The 오징어 순대 - squid sundae (a sliced sausage, akin to black pudding, but with squid meat in squid skin) - is delicious. I care less for the Abai sundae, a version of the usual pig-intestine sausage popular throughout Korea. And even less for the crab ramyeon. Still, worth it for that squid.
A quick emart visit and the bus back to Seoul - one stop, bizarrely close to Seoul - but with the traffic, I understand why. I run out of internet, too. I'm glad for rope to secure the bike, this time, though. And then home. Glad, again, for the weekend so I can just load my bike onto the subway.
What are my thoughts, then?
Northbound definitely has nicer (or less scary) infrastructure in several places but it's marginal overall which direction I'd recommend. I think I'll do the upper section again soon, to take in all the stamps and head up to the observatory near the border, and go southbound.
There isn't much need to book in advance during the week, but weekend in cities is a different thing. The stretch from Pohang to Ganggu did not feel well provisioned with accommodation options - maybe a lot better in season / without Covid.
The countryside jaunts were the worst in terms of access to water. I under-carried a couple of times. Coastal towns had easy access to water, but coastal villages less so.
There's very little pure dedicated cycle track on this route, but if you add in shared-use pavements, a fair amount. Still, be prepared for on-road riding with traffic that only sometimes gives you enough space.
I relied more on Kakao and Naver Maps than the signs by far, though the blue painted lines are very useful in many places.
This is not a flat route. I wish I had a lower gear.
If I did it again in full, I think I'd either start from Busan for the bragging rights, or start in Pohang but with a day of circling the peninsula. Going immediately north from Pohang misses some really nice cycling.
And that, as they say, is that.