Advice, Tokyo-Nagano cycling

Jan 20, 2009
3
0
0
Tokyo
#1
Dear all,

(もちろん日本語での返事は大丈夫です!)

My name is Richard - living in Japan for almost 7 years now. I enjoy sports and used to run marathons but since I’ve lived in Tokyo a while, I’ve thought cycling would be more rewarding. My first child is being born in April this year,
so after that time, I will have very little free time (at least for the first 6 months – 1 year).

I speak Japanese fluently and read it pretty well so that part shouldn't be a problem.

So, here’s my plan. I live in Kichijoji, west Tokyo, on the Chuo line and would love to cycle for 4-5 days, stopping at a hotel or ryokan each night and design a plan to include these places:

1. KICHIJOJI – KOFU (Yamanashi)

2. KOFU – CHINO (Nagano)

3. CHINO – KARUIZAWA (Nagano)

4. KARUIZAWA – KUROHIME

5. KUROHIME – CHINO

6. CHINO – KOFU

7. KOFU – HOME

My current bike is a Marin BOBCAT TRAIL.
It is similar to this one: http://si6.mtb-news.de/fotos/data/500/marin2.JPG

Could you please suggest:

1. How is my planned route? Do you think any of the order or itinerary should be changed, for example, go to Kurohime before Karuizawa? I would like your opinion.

2. What is the minimum equipment list I should take for this kind of week long cycle trip. I am sorry, but I am a beginner cyclist, fit and healthy but not used to planning so I would appreciate your advice. For example: helmet, spare inner tubes?, new lights

3. How dangerous are the tunnels and can you feel anshin if you wear a mask (for the fumes) and lights (to indicate your bike to the cars and trucks)?
Sorry to sound stupid but just how scary and dangerous are they?

4. Is there no realistic alternative when going from Tokyo to Nagano other than tunnels?

5. I have a copy of SHOBUNSHA Road Atlas Japan. Should I buy any other maps or GPS equipment?


Thank you very much for your advice. Sorry to ask so many questions but I would appreciate it. I will stay in a nice hotel every night and make sure I eat and drink plenty for this trip.

Regards

Richard MORT
 
Jan 20, 2009
130
4
38
Yokohama
#4
nagano cycling

Hey Tokyoeditor, just out of curiosity what route do you plan to follow from Chino to Karuizawa? Mostly impassable mountain passes until April. Route 20 of course can get you all the way to Nagano City. The section from Matsumoto to Nagano city is fairly scenic but you'll be dealing with fickle weather there. Might be exciting to try!:bike:
 
Jan 20, 2009
3
0
0
Tokyo
#6
Thanks.

Hi folks,

Yes I do want to do it before April, even with the weather as it is, since a new child from mid April will definitely take up my time and of course, I wouldn't want to miss the early few weeks of that either.

I can adapt the plan slightly, I love Nagano (note, I mean NAGANO prefecture, not NAGANO city particularly, sorry for the confusion) and the places mentioned are my favourites but if I have to leave out one of them, so be it. Basically I wanted a plan that would include a trip from Tokyo, including Karuizawa, Chino and Kurohime and then back to Tokyo ... is there any way I can do this without facing impassable terrain?

Appreciate all your excellent advice. Thanks!
Rich
 

Wolfman

Speeding Up
Jul 31, 2007
631
18
38
Suginamiku
#7
Hiya Richard,

Lee here from Manchester Alumni club - long time no see.

Firstly, many congratulations on your forthcoming first child.

Regarding the cycling in Nagano, I was there during the Christmas period - around Ueda city (between Nagano and Matsumoto). The tunnels i've encountered there are long, dark and cold and are generally there to save people having to go over mountains - if you want to avoid these tunnels then you have to do a fair bit of climbing. In december this was impossible. I tried to get to Matsumoto from Ueda but the roads were white with snow and ice. I did a report on my poorly serviced blog.

We should do tea again sometime.

Lee
 
Jan 20, 2009
3
0
0
Tokyo
#8
jdd - Yes but I'll reconsider if it looks like the risks are crazy. At the moment, it seems manageable with excellent preparation, which I am trying to ensure.

Pucci - thanks I will look into that.

toledo - I've been lucky enough to tap some excellent experienced people in the mixi cycling forums who have suggested routes to me. I am going to have a look at everything and decide on that in the next few weeks.

Richy152/Lee - good to hear from you mate, thanks for the good wishes!
I was wondering whether you were still around and looks like you're a stone's throw away in Suginami. Let's have a drink sometime by all means! I'll fill you in more on the plans.

Cheers everyone, I appreciate the advice.
Rich
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,659
477
103
Japan
#9
Dear all,
My first child is being born in April this year,
so after that time, I will have very little free time (at least for the first 6 months – 1 year).
Hate to tell you this but you will have more time in the first 6 months to 1 year than after. Least in my case once they start walking thats pretty much the end of free time. IIWM I'd beg a week off in May or June and hit the mountains. Edowgawaman would be able to give you some good advice but he's busy this weekend by the look of things.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,512
639
133
Kanazawa
#10
Hate to tell you this but you will have more time in the first 6 months to 1 year than after. Least in my case once they start walking thats pretty much the end of free time. IIWM I'd beg a week off in May or June and hit the mountains. Edowgawaman would be able to give you some good advice but he's busy this weekend by the look of things.
:)

Books, the key is books. Lots of reading, and then more of the same...

You'll memorize them, and your child will too.

After all, big A, little a, what begins with "a"? Aunt...

[on edit: My youngest is now 15, and I think I could still recite all of that one.]