Cycling in Japan

bruceonabike

Warming-Up
Sep 19, 2019
6
8
3
38
Hi,

I am a very keen cyclist and new to the forum and am moving to Yokohama for work in October 19. I am Australian but have been working abroad as an expat for some time. I have done some google searching regarding clubs, group riding and training and racing which directed me to your club and forum.

In Australia I raced Masters A and B grade in crits, road and TT (Although ive lost some form from then) so I am not sure what grade that would translate to in Japan. In the last few years I competed in a few road races in Europe at a decent-ish level.

I am interested on advice on:

1. Which club to join and how to go about this
2. Where to ride and train - any ideas on routes
3. Training groups - are there any groups doing training rides together
4. The racing scene - Is there a website that details the races Crit, Road, TT and Triathlon disciplines. Also do you need a license to race and where do you get it?
5. Good bike shops in the area for maintenance and purchases

Thanks all and look forward to seeing you on the road.

Bruce
 

MattRyuu

Maximum Pace
Apr 23, 2019
250
215
53
42
@bruceonabike welcome to TCC.

1. You're asking the right place I think, there are some top level riders here.
2. Check the Rides and Training sub-forums here and ride with people who do challenging rides.
3. Same as #2.
4. Not sure, but someone will reply soon.
5. Astuto for frames/wheels, Y's Road for parts, I'm sure more experienced riders know a lot more than me. At 5th year in Japan, I'm a complete noob.

Look forward to having you here!

Matt
 
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bruceonabike

Warming-Up
Sep 19, 2019
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Cheers for the reply Matt and the welcome. Look forward to being there !
Ill follow up on the suggestions - thanks
 
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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,682
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Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
Welcome to Japan, Bruce!

@andywood is a great guy to ask about anything racing related!

In addition to looking for ride announcements and reading ride reports on this forum, you can also follow people here on Strava to discover interesting routes to ride.

Many interesting rides are out west in the mountains and most people use train rides to skip the urban roads there. You can take a road bike on trains at no extra charge by packing it into a rinko bag (sold in bike shops or Amazon from about 4000-6000 yen).

As for bike shops, I am a happy customer of GS Astuto.
 

bruceonabike

Warming-Up
Sep 19, 2019
6
8
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Thanks Joe. I've heard about the rinko bag which was a relief as I imagine its pretty "stop start" in the city.
I will take a look at Astuto and contact Andy. Thanks for the suggestions.
 
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GrantT

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
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Setagaya
Hi Bruce,

I live in Tokyo and have been racing here for a few years in hill climbs, road, and CX. Haven't raced outside Japan so can't say what your level might be, but the crit scene here is pretty small and you'll do well to find a separate Masters category. The biggest stage for crits is probably run by the JBCF (link) who also do road race, hill climb, and time trial events all over Japan as part of the J-Pro tour (P category) and Elite Tour (E3, E2, and E1 categories).
There are a whole lot of other races and small race series going on all over the place too, but not any one place where they are all listed. The Oiso Criterium series (link) is one example. Andy mentioned above knows about TTs.

1. The only races that require club membership for entry I think are the JBCF ones. Other races can all be entered privateer style. Any decent bike shop should have a shop team though, but I can't really help with that as I don't know the Yokohama area.
2. Not sure about Yokohama for this either. There is that spit of land south of Yokohama (Miura Hanto) which is good for cycling all year round. To the west are some mountains and in particular a very popular one called Yabitsu (link). Otherwise, local racers will have a better idea.
3. A local shop team would be a good place to look. Not many racers on this web site.
4. Some races including the JBCF-organized ones will require a JCF license but many will not. Getting it is just a question of filling in a form or two from the web site (link). It's in Japanese though, so finding a friendly local team might be the best way to go about that.
5. Not sure. Astuto is far from Yokohama but speaks English. There are a couple of Y's Road shops in Yokohama that focus on performance cycling. Can ask around a bit.
 

bruceonabike

Warming-Up
Sep 19, 2019
6
8
3
38
Hi Bruce,

I live in Tokyo and have been racing here for a few years in hill climbs, road, and CX. Haven't raced outside Japan so can't say what your level might be, but the crit scene here is pretty small and you'll do well to find a separate Masters category. The biggest stage for crits is probably run by the JBCF (link) who also do road race, hill climb, and time trial events all over Japan as part of the J-Pro tour (P category) and Elite Tour (E3, E2, and E1 categories).
There are a whole lot of other races and small race series going on all over the place too, but not any one place where they are all listed. The Oiso Criterium series (link) is one example. Andy mentioned above knows about TTs.

1. The only races that require club membership for entry I think are the JBCF ones. Other races can all be entered privateer style. Any decent bike shop should have a shop team though, but I can't really help with that as I don't know the Yokohama area.
2. Not sure about Yokohama for this either. There is that spit of land south of Yokohama (Miura Hanto) which is good for cycling all year round. To the west are some mountains and in particular a very popular one called Yabitsu (link). Otherwise, local racers will have a better idea.
3. A local shop team would be a good place to look. Not many racers on this web site.
4. Some races including the JBCF-organized ones will require a JCF license but many will not. Getting it is just a question of filling in a form or two from the web site (link). It's in Japanese though, so finding a friendly local team might be the best way to go about that.
5. Not sure. Astuto is far from Yokohama but speaks English. There are a couple of Y's Road shops in Yokohama that focus on performance cycling. Can ask around a bit.
Thanks Grant. Thats very helpful. Ive contacted Andy as it sounds like he is the go to. Ill take a look at the links for the JBCF and see where that leads. Thanks again for the advice!
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,109
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Niigata
Excellent information from @GrantT as always!

Thanks for the mail, but may as well add here.

Yes the JBCF are the only races that will need you to be registered with a team. They also require a racing license.

I live 300km away from Tokyo but used to race with Tokyo based Ravanello in the JBCF. So you don't necessarily have to be in a local team.

For getting in touch with local riders, Strava is definitely the way to go.

In addition to the JBCF, the JCRC also run a smaller series. The participation is falling in these events which is a shame as they are well organised and friendly.


For big prestigious road races, I'd recommend:

The Niseko Classic
The Tour of Okinawa
The Japan Cup

These are UCI sanctioned so you need a licence (same one as for JBCF, 5 or 6,000 yen) or you can get a day licence (1,000 yen) for the first two, but maybe not the Japan Cup?

The first two will be listed on the popular Sports Entry website. These are two of a few that will be listed in English. But a much wider selection of events is available in Japanese.


Funride organise three events of note:

Tokyo Enduro
Fuji Hillclimb
Fuji Speedway


If hillclimbs are your thing, there is a really big scene with races filling up to 000s capacity quickly.

Big ones include:

Fuji x 2 or 3
Norikura x 2
Akagi
Haruna
Utsukushigahara
Tsugaike

There are lots and lots of smaller scale HCs too.

If you like car racing circuits, in addition to Fuji Speedway, there are two events per year at:

Suzuka
Motegi

For TTs funride holds TTs in coordination with all their races.

Niseko also has a TT.

I also recommend Uchinada which has TT, TTT and RR and is a great excuse to visit the beautiful city of Kanazawa and the beautiful Noto Peninsula...

So yeah, loads to choose from.

If you want to plan a racing calendar, I would suggest deciding:

what kind of races do you want to do?
how often do you want to race?
will you have the ultimate cycling accessory (a car!) and how far are you prepared to travel?

Hope this is good for starters.

Cheers, Andy
 

bruceonabike

Warming-Up
Sep 19, 2019
6
8
3
38
Hi Andy,

Thank you very much thats really informative. I knew about Niseko because I qualified in 2018 and 2019 for the UCI Amateur World Champs for TT and road so I was already targetting that one although the road race doesn't suit me at all as it looks like it has too much climbing for me to be competitive.
I may give some of the hill climbs a try just for fun and training though.

Im not that worried about travelling to get to races etc as I am kind of used to that from European racing where the races are all over.

Hmm I was thinking of not having a car but your comment is potentially changing my mind : )
The answer to how much I want to race is - As much as my wife allows me and as much as my legs can take : ) but I think I will probably do Niseko, OISO crit series and Uchinada sounds good too. Speedway is also attractive given its the roubaix style finish for the olympics.

Thanks very much for your help. I have a much better idea of what is out there now.
Regards,

Bruce
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,109
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Niigata
Uchinada is in June. There is a track event on the Saturday before the TT, TTT and RR on the Sunday.


I would also recommend Haruna in May, just so you can tell your mates you did a TT around the volcano crater on the Saturday before climbing the volcano on Sunday!


Andy
 
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