Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

28 July 2013

Without Women On Wheels

Yesterday marked 60 years since the end of the Korean War.

The South commemorates it in a rather somber way.  The North--the so-called People's Republic--celebrates it as a victory.

However one sees the conflict and the armistice, it's hard to think of them as a victory for women (or very many other people who aren't Communist officials) or cyclists on either side. 

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Late last year, the PRK (North) ended a decades-old ban on women cycling.  However, just a couple of months later--in January of this year--the ban was reinstated.  Moreover, the current statute doesn't allow women to even ride on the rear (or front) of a two-wheeled vehicle.  

The current restriction, however, is even more draconian than the one that was revealed.  Previously, offenders could be fined 2000 to 5000 won (2.20 to 5.50 USD at current exchange rates). Now, authorities can confiscate bicycles on which women are pedalers or passengers.  

Ostensibly, PRK officials believe that women on wheels is a "violation of good socialist customs", i.e., they're offended by flapping skirts.  But, just three weeks ago, women were allowed to wear trousers and high heels.  I wonder what excuse the government will offer (not that they have to) now--or whether the ban will be repealed once again.


  1. Dan--That was my reaction, exactly, when I learned about the ban on women cycling in the PRK.