20 July, 2017

I-ONin's OIL Story - Bicycle Tour to France

I-ON Communications, a happy workplace with an employee benefit OIL, Once In a Lifetime, a 15 day-long paid leave that is granted to I-ONins every year!
Kang Jeonjin, manager from SDP business department had this year’s second OIL in France. Let’s jump right into the interview with him and see what he did in France!

Please tell us a little bit about you and what motivated you to go travel France.
Hi, I am Kang Jeonjin from Dev.L team of SDP Business Department.
I enjoy riding a bicycle in my free time and also like going far away to ride a bike. I had decided to go bike trip to France as biking in foreign countries is one of my new year’s resolutions. Thankfully, I was able to find the right time to accompany a friend of mine who also likes riding so we went trip together.

Kang Jeonjin, SDP Business Dept. of I-ON

We participated in 'RCC Summit Nice 2017' hosted by Rapha, the world’s finest cycling clothing brand. We started from France Nice, Monaco, and to San Remo of Italy. We also visited Alpe d`Huez and Mont Ventoux, which are the route of Tour de France, one of cycling’s grand tours.

Is there any place or food in France you recommend to I-ONins?
There are some unforgettable and delicious dishes I had during the travel.
First that comes up to my mind was the food from the chef who fueled Team SKY (British professional cycling team) for 5 years. In fact, he was a chef of a Michelin-starred restaurant with two stars.  I remember eating the food you should eat before and after cycling. 

Delicious foods in France

I also remember the course meal I had on the third day in Cannes beach. Also, baguette sandwich in a restaurant in the middle of the mountain while on the way to Venasque from Nice and pizza at San Remo beach both are unforgettable. Meanwhile, breads and cheeses I had in France were all amazing. But sometimes I wanted have some hot and spicy soup, which is sort of Korean style as I’m not that used to the western foods, so I tried Vietnamese rice noodle nearby Nice instead and it was really nice.

If you say you are going to travel around France, most people would think of Paris, or Cannes. However, we traveled in the countryside, so there was nothing but mountains and grasslands. Some sceneries were similar to that of Korea, but as I went higher and higher, the landscape became more grand and magnificent. While Korea has been going through hard time with fine dust, we could enjoy our cycling in a more splendid scenery without having to worry about the fine dust in France.

Kang Jeonjin enjoyging cycling in France

The top of Mont Ventoux was bold with strong winds and low temperature, and there were few plants.
At the very top of mountain Galibier, which is over 2,000 meters in height, the snow had not melted even in May. Beautiful buildings and beaches in Nice were impressive, and snow covered mountains in Alpe d`Huez were also stunning. I’d especially recommend Alpe d`Huez. If you are a cycling person, you would enjoy going up the hills and feeling as if you’re standing on top of the world in Alpe d`Huez or Mont Ventoux.

What is the most memorable episode during the trip?
When I participated in RCC Summit, I received an email saying that British professional cyclist Bradley Wiggins will be attending. He is a renowned cyclist who was knighted as a sportsman in UK. I still cannot believe that I had dinner with him and rode bike together.
Another episode is that one of my photos was posted in Rapha Europe’s official Instagram. I was taking a break during the ride, and a guy who seemed to be someone associated with Rapha Europe came and took some pictures of me and my bike from various angles. In the evening, I went back to the hotel and checked Instagram, and was surprised to see my photo in the Rapha Europe’s official Instagram page. 

There was a little scary thing happened while we were touring along the Nice coast. I took some photos unconsciously but then armed police who was patrolling came and asked me to delete the pictures of them. So I deleted them right away without saying anything and proved it to them. In Nice, the street was full of armed soldiers and police because of the terror and it was kind of scary. 

I also remember bumping into a professional cycling team BMS on the way to Alpe d`Huez. We were actually planning to go to Galibier but changed our plan to Alpe d`Huez because the road was blocked. When I checked the SNS account of the BMC professional team on the very day I bumped into them, I learned that they made it to Galibier by detouring so we also decided to go there the next day.

Please share what you felt through this round trip utilizing OIL and some comments for I-ONins who are about to have their first OIL.
I have never had a long vacation like this since I started my career. Going for a long trip made me refresh myself and work more efficiently than having a short vacation. Also, I feel grateful to the company for giving me this kind of opportunity and at the same time, I feel like trying my best to benefit our company with sincere loyalty. 

I found this trip meaningful as I could look back at myself, and was able to be revitalized and refreshed. I think OIL that is granted to I-ONins is one of great employee benefits of I-ON Communications. I wish many people would enjoy their vacation in the future, and share their own special stories with I-ONins.