Today August 2019

luka

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Jan 13, 2015
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I have most of the small parts to put on the new bike (like lights, pump etc) but would like to use a tool box (or whatever you call those things that clamp to bottle mounts) and eliminate saddle bags altogether if I can. also looking for a decent lock, ideally both portable and secure. any recommendations maybe? someone's got some item along these lines they absolutely love?
 
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joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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Setagaya, Tokyo
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TCC Waterfalls Test

Yesterday at 07:00 I set out to visit these three waterfalls in Tokyo and ride at least 161 km. Hossawa, the one near Hinohara Tofu Chitoseya (檜原とうふ ちとせ屋, about half a km up to road when you turn right at the Hinohara T-junction) I had not visited before, even though it's listed as one of the "100 Best Waterfalls in Japan"

Shiraito Falls, Hinode:


Nanayono Falls, Akiruno:


Hossawa Falls, Hinohara:


In the process I also got to sit on this Russian "Ural" motorbike and got a ride as a sidecar passenger:



The three waterfalls are quite different in character and I was interested in how the previously unknown one would compare to the other two that I had visited multiple times alone and in company. Hossawa falls looks like it's heavily promoted for tourism (including foreign tourists). It's being presented as THE waterfall of Hinohara. Its car park is less than a km from the Hinohara village center and access to the falls involves no more than an easy walk on a wide, fairly newly built footpath that doesn't climb much.

But let's first talk about the other two falls. Nanayono Falls are located close to the Musashi Mitake Shrine. At the almost 2000 year old shrine there are signs for a place called the Rock Garden and Nanayono and this is where I think most people will hear about the falls, though probably few of the Mitake visitors take the time to hike down there (I've been there like 3 times and never did).

Nanayono is easily the most inaccessible of the three falls. You can get there from Mitake if you hike down about 45 minutes one way. Or you can do as I did and ride about 4 km out of Akiruno towards Hinohara, then turn right on the traffic light to Rt201 and ride uphill (some of it steeply and/or on gravel) for another 11 km. There are many fishing spots and camp sites in this pretty valley. One of the camp sites was "Akiruno Camping Ural Village" which combines camping with a love for (pre WW2 BMW-derived) Russian motorcycles with sidecars.

The road to Nanayono ends at a rock slide a little short of its original end and I saw no move to clear it. As I returned from my hike, a family in a Toyota came up the road. I explained that it was 10 minutes to the falls on foot, but they were actually looking for Musashi Mitake shrine. I explained that they couldn't drive beyond the rock slide but before I could mention that they were really close and it was only an hour on foot to the shrine, they already turned around and left.

The hike to Nanayono from the rock slide is pretty short but rough. You have to pull yourself up a rope on one steep spot and it's not really doable in SPD shoes (which is why I brought sneakers). Depending on the day of the week or time of day you may experience the waterfall on your own. It's not a huge fall or fancy looking but it's in a very natural state and its appeal lies partly in how far it is from anywhere with big crowds, at least for me.

When I cycled to Nanayono last time, I did it as the first fall, primarily because I knew it before, but it also helped to have fresh legs for the roughly 450 m elevation gain from Musashiitsukaichi.

Shiraito falls in Hinode were much more accessible. It's only about 8 km from Musashiitsukaichi and the elevation gain is a mere 170 m. The last part is less steep too. There's a footpath with steps and small bridges that will take you to the fall, so it's much easier to get to than Nanayono. The main falls consist of two parts that appear as one whole. It's not as big as Hossawa Falls, but stunningly beautiful as you admire it from a view point opposite the falls. I could just stand there and look at its different parts and watch the cascading water forever. And here is the thing: Even on a busy Sunday afternoon, you will probably have it all to yourself. You can hike past the falls to the other falls upstream from it. There's a small path to the pool at the base of the falls, where farmers used to pray for rain. It feels very spiritual.

There's nothing wrong with Hossawa Falls as such, it looks beautiful, it's surrounded by lush greenery, there are small falls right below it -- but there will also be dozens of tourists swarming around you, talking and jostling for position for the best Instagrammable shots. It will be a tourism experience, not a nature experience.

And that is why, even though the Hossawa falls are really nice falls (and much bigger and taller than Shiraito), my heart is with Shiraito and even the experience at modest little Nanayono beats Hossawa for me.

The Winner: Shiraito Falls (白岩の滝) but please don't tell anybody!



 

luka

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Nanayono is easily the most inaccessible of the three falls. You can get there from Mitake if you hike down about 45 minutes one way. Or you can do as I did and ride about 4 km out of Akiruno towards Hinohara, then turn right on the traffic light to Rt201 and ride uphill (some of it steeply and/or on gravel) for another 11 km. There are many fishing spots and camp sites in this pretty valley.
that valley is indeed beautiful. I went by car there once, and continued as a hike by some waterfall (I believe Nanayono - the pic below?) to Mitake and Hinode peaks. maybe 2-3 years ago. I remember thinking a lot of the hiking paths and fire roads could be doable on a mountain bike, now kinda intrigued with the gravel bike to revisit the area

1565604985790.jpeg

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1565605020904.jpeg
 

joewein

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that valley is indeed beautiful. I went by car there once, and continued as a hike by some waterfall (I believe Nanayono - the pic below?) to Mitake and Hinode peaks. maybe 2-3 years ago. I remember thinking a lot of the hiking paths and fire roads could be doable on a mountain bike, now kinda intrigued with the gravel bike to revisit the area
Yes, that is indeed Nanayono (see my second picture: same horizontal crack in the rock, same tree, etc).

I have never cycled to the top of Mitake near the shrine, but I know it can be done because the locals who run shops and restaurants or minshuku have cars.

After Hossawa falls I went to Kanoto Iwa, hoping to cross over Nokogiri ridge to Okutama and return via Ome, but the barrier across the road after Kanoto was too intimidating (it specifically prohibited bicycles, on top of traffic in general) and I couldn't decipher enough to be comfortable even on a Sunday when no work was going to be scheduled on a mountain road. So I made a u-turn and headed back via Akiruno (Musashiitsukaichi).





But it seems the reason given for the closure was forestry work / logging, so I probably would have been OK on a Sunday.
 
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luka

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yes, one way would be to climb up under the mitake ropeway. from there, I'm pretty sure you could ride to hinode at least, maybe not 100% of the route is ridable, but 90+% for sure must be. I'll try to plan some off road action in a few weeks when this heat lets up a bit hopefully. 2 x 3 day weekends in Sep should be good, forestry works also stopped for holidays etc
 
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bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
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you guys with off-road experience (looking at you @bloaker ) what's the best line to choose here?! ;p
Inkedroots_LI.jpg

Down! :D

In all seriousness, I see two potential lines right off the bat. The approach would determine which could be used.
You need to look at the top of the roots and see what looks stable and hope nothing moves.

Note the line on the left... all the roots where the line touched it are near the ground, so if they give a little, there isn't much room to go.
The line on the right, you are going to go from top of root to top of root, but overall it isn't too rough as it doesn't look like they are too far a spacing.

I will try and get a picture soon of a rooty section near here that stumped me for months.
 

leicaman

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Sep 20, 2012
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Depending on the run in and exit from the section, a world class downhiller would probably jump the whole lot of those roots.
I remember stopping on one section of the “A” course at Fujimi panorama many years ago to discuss line choices for a rolling section that had a big drop then a hump then another drop. Greg Minnaar had visited the previous week and had apparently jumped the whole thing. The top Japanese DH riders were just as staggered as I was.
 
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kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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Through the middle with speed and the front wheel as unweighted as possible. Left and right have you eating bark. No way to steer through that, it's like a rock garden. Easier said than done.
 
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Half-Fast Mike

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May 22, 2007
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climb up under the mitake ropeway. from there, I'm pretty sure you could ride to hinode at least, maybe not 100% of the route is ridable, but 90+% for sure must be.
I went up there several years ago, with a view to attempting just that. IIRC heading west from the 'village' there's a flight of stairs, and as we were on road bikes, we noped that one that time.
you guys with off-road experience ... what's the best line to choose here?!
First learn stand, then learn fly.

(This is unquestionably the best line. Nature's rule, Luka-san. Not mine.)

Ralph-Macchio-in-The-Karate-Kid--1984.jpg
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
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Depending on the run in and exit from the section, a world class downhiller would probably jump the whole lot of those roots.
I remember stopping on one section of the “A” course at Fujimi panorama many years ago to discuss line choices for a rolling section that had a big drop then a hump then another drop. Greg Minnaar had visited the previous week and had apparently jumped the whole thing. The top Japanese DH riders were just as staggered as I was.
Top racers are aliens. While I can appreciate what they do, it rarely applies to us mortals! :D

Through the middle with speed and the front wheel as unweighted as possible. Left and right have you eating bark. No way to steer through that, it's like a rock garden. Easier said than done.
As noted above, the entrance and exit determine everything.
Manuals are my answer when in doubt.
 

Karl

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Just starting to do a bit of gravel. Do you all normally use 'protection' when you ride routes like this? If so, any recommendations/suggestions?
 

Half-Fast Mike

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May 22, 2007
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Just starting to do a bit of gravel. Do you all normally use 'protection' when you ride routes like this?
Helmet, eyewear, gloves, sunscreen, bug spray.

I know I should wear long pants and long sleeves, and I have the scratches to prove it - mostly from scrambling through the bits where there's no road or track. But unless it's cold outside, I rarely do. The long reeds and grass on either side of this river, where there was supposed to be a bridge, tore my shins up a treat. So I guess my recommendation is: don't be like @Half-Fast Mike.

IMG_1346.JPG

IMG_1347.JPG
 
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luka

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For 'protection' rubber side.... errrr down? On a serious note, if you're not aiming at bombing it, you should be fine with regular bike gear no?

And the above roots pic, I didn't expect it to be ridable at all, esp on a non suspension bike etc. Definitely did not expect serious answers there!
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
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For 'protection' rubber side.... errrr down? On a serious note, if you're not aiming at bombing it, you should be fine with regular bike gear no?

And the above roots pic, I didn't expect it to be ridable at all, esp on a non suspension bike etc. Definitely did not expect serious answers there!
Come play in Zushi one day. Your definition of ride-able will change! :D
 

luka

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As soon as this heat dies down a bit eh! Can't be ready to roll at 5am all the way south like you do out of your doorstep. If you take total newbies on gravel bike (and promise me no broken bones like you did to Mike ok)
 

stu_kawagoe

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Jun 23, 2018
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How do you like the GP5000?
It’s great so far. I went out in the wet today and it had much better traction when climbing than my stock rear tyre. I did get a puncture, but it was a lot easier to change than expected. It also runs much nicer at the lower pressure I always get from the hand pump when I fix a flat out on the road.

Saw a nice deer today out on the Green Line.

2EFA3CB6-3E80-4F3E-AFFB-7717656A513A.jpeg
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
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So lately I have been considering selling my Ritchey.
It is everything I want in a road bike, except I just don't really want a road bike.
I have found when I would normally ride my Ritchey, I end up riding my Fargo instead.
I have not done a group ride in years and that is about the only time I actually ride it.

Am I nuts?
It was more or less my dream road bike when I built it, but since I moved to Hayama from Chinatown, I have really focused off road.

Ritchey Logic Steel Frame, Carbon Fork
Campy Carbon Chorus
Chris King/DT Swiss Wheels

The last time I loved a road bike was 20 years ago. I sold it when I stopped riding road....
2 years later I got the itch to ride road again, and didn't find a bike I loved as much as my old Bianchi until I got the Ritchey.

Am I wrong? r1.jpg