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Everything You Need to Know About Ulsan

What the Hell is the Inferno?

by Deirdre Madden

It all started about 7 years ago. A bunch of waygook English teachers were sitting around, trying to come up with something fun to do for a friend’s birthday. This particular friend didn’t drink, and wasn’t much into partying in bars, but back home in Canada he’d been involved in rally racing. That’s where you and a navigator get a map and some coordinates and time limits to get from A to B to C in a car that may or may not be rigged out with lots of headlights.

Planning the routes

Here in Korea, everyone was driving little 50cc or 125cc scooters, so they decided to do a photo-scavenger-hunt scooter rally. And so the Inferno was born.

The first year, the goal was to get to the 12 Scenic Sites of Ulsan and they had 8 hours in order to complete the mission. Only one team made it to all 12 sites and back in the 8-hour time limit, but everyone involved had a lot of fun.

So the next year, they did it again. And that year, they invited anyone with a motorbike or a scooter to get involved. It proved so popular that the tradition continued long after most of the original riders had returned to their various home countries. One year there were about 30 bikes, and 45 riders and passengers zipping all over the country side, taking wacky photos of themselves in an attempt to score points and win the event.

heading out en masse

Last year, the Inferno opened up even wider, to include non-motorized bikes for the first time. A team of four or five cyclists joined in the mayhem, along with a confused Korean man, who joined in at the train station starting point without really understanding what was going on, but happy to be on a bike ride with some foreigners. He ended up getting caught up in the spirit of the day, and being one of the most enthusiastic participants.

This year, the Inferno will be taking place on Saturday, June 18th. At 11:00 am we will meet at the Taehwagang Train Station, and setting out on the group ride up to the official starting point. From there, teams will have until 4pm to visit as many sites as they can (the lists and maps will be given out that morning) and score as many bonus points for creativity or random challenges. Photos must be taken at all sites visited and for all bonus points claimed, with every team member (except the photographer) involved.

Points are scored for each listed site you visit, based on your size of bike and how far it is from the end point of the rally. This way, bicycles don’t have to go as far and as fast as 400cc motorcycles.

At 4pm, everyone meets back at the Taehwagang Station (points are deducted if you’re late!) to hand in team score sheets and memory cards (don’t worry, they’re taken care of and returned to you after the photos have been taken for the slideshow).

Creativity counts when recording you have reached a marker

At 8pm, we all meet back at Cima Bar for the After Party – to which everyone is invited, whether or not they took place in the event. There will be drinks specials, bbq’d food and a raffle. At the After Party, awards will be given out and a slideshow of the day’s adventures will be screened so everyone can see what the other teams got up to.

If you have a bicycle, scooter or motorcycle, sign up for the Inferno (ulsanonline.com/inferno) or (www.ulsaninferno.com). It’s the most fun you can have on two wheels, and it’s a great way to get out and explore the area around Ulsan. You can discover all kinds of weird and wonderful things tucked into the mountains and coastline around this city.

If you’re interested, come down to Benchwarmer’s Bar on Saturday, June 11th for the Registration Party. You can meet other riders, form teams, ask questions and be inspired by past Inferno pictures and videos, all while enjoying cheap beer and chili dogs!

It’s going to be a great time – don’t miss it!

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