Extra Large Study Abroad Student

knownone

Speeding Up
Aug 4, 2011
138
5
38
Tokyo
jeremyscofield.ca
I definitely agree with bringing your own stuff when possible. I am only 190cm tall but have found it very hard to get gear here, and a lot of the gear available is much more expensive than it is in other places.

Even if you can find larger sized shoes, for example, there is pretty much no selection and often only very high end stuff available. I have 31cm narrow feet so finding shoes that fit and do not require heat moulding is pretty much out of the question, and those tend to be very pricey. Clothing is a bit easier as Pearl Izumi has some larger sizes here, but if you do not like Pearl Izumi it might get a bit more difficult to consistently find your size when you need to.

As for frames it is harder still. When I picked up my bike here in 2002 (admittedly a while ago) there were only 2 bikes available in my size in Japan that I could find (that is 2 bikes, not just 2 models or companies). When I went looking at frames recently it had not really changed much, most companies not importing over 58cm and even that often being special order. There are some really nice custom steel frames available, but it depends on what you prefer. Even for a frame that size you will likely need a special bag for the train. There is a local brand called Fairmean which I would recommend that does have nice bags that will fit larger frames and pack up really small.

To sum up: bring what you can and be prepared for a bit of frustration if you need to find stuff here.
 

Sheep

Maximum Pace
Jul 27, 2009
285
54
48
Tokyo
I'm guessing that you'll be staying in some apartment provided by the host university. This will provide somewhere covered to park your bike, as will the campus. Obvious, right? Er, no, not obvious at all. Universities do not encourage commuting by bike. And there may be nowhere to park your bike, other than your room. And it might not be allowed there, either. Also, I've heard of university accommodation that lacks elevators and has narrow, twisty staircases. If you can park your bike outside, don't assume that it's going to be protected against the (considerable) rain or against benign drunks or other miscellaneous idiots.

If it seems that the only place to park a bike is your room, don't try to confirm beforehand that doing so is OK. You might well be told that it is not. In this situation I'd park it in your room, but have it hanging from a stand so clearly doesn't risk dirtying the floor or anything else; and then depend on "don't ask, don't tell". Such stands are easy to find, and cheap enough.
Yep, I second this (I work at a university).
As for dealing with most things in Japan, the usual rule seems to be don't check and feign ignorance if any problems. Don't quote me on that though.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
973
376
83
Tokyo
People are approvingly quoting what I wrote about university facilities; but when I read it --

ME said:
This will provide somewhere covered (blah blah blah)
-- I realize that it's very poorly written and might well be interpreted as meaning something quite different from what was intended. (I blame caffeine deficiency.) Above, I've edited my message.

(In brief, what you might take for granted will be supplied might not be supplied; and it's a good idea not to ask what is and isn't permitted.)
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,744
1,008
133
Kanazawa
((My two cents: Tho not tokyo, I work at a private uni that could care less if you cycle to school. Students ride, and I do, too, in season. Tho there is a covered place I could lock up, I usually take a bike up/down the elevator to my office, of course avoiding busy class-changing times. On the way out, it's almost easier to shoulder it down the stairs--if I'm on an SPD, and not SPD-SL, bike. Student cyclists have a lightly covered parking area. At the local kokuritsu (金大), they expect bike commuters and there are large lightly covered parking areas. And if you don't use those, your bike gets impounded. In the mid-80s, I did work at a west tokyo uni (ICU), and lots of students and teachers cycled to classes, and I don't think that's changed. A more city-bound uni could of course be different, so your mileage may vary...))
 

Sheep

Maximum Pace
Jul 27, 2009
285
54
48
Tokyo
It definitely varies uni by uni. I had a shock recently when I cycled to my partner's uni and was told I couldn't take my bike into the campus by the guard, and that I had to leave it with the rusty mamachari at the entrance. Was happy I had my bike bag so I could get it in that way (because there was no way I was leaving it outside!)
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,082
2,529
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
...because, sadly:
  • If the management provide bicycle parking spaces far more people will leave bikes there than the capacity allows, just like by a station (you know who you are).
  • Many of them will subsequently leave their bicycles to rust and decay, for want of nothing more than a puncture repair and a squirt of oil, and expect someone else to pick up after them.
  • Others will leave their bikes unlocked and then (seriously) expect the management to launch a criminal investigation and/or compensate them when their bike is stolen.
Therefore...
-- No Bicycles by order of The Management --
 
  • Like
Reactions: Sheep and Musashi13

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,771
1,716
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
Normally the LBS where you bought the bike will do this. In that case all you need is some ID and 500 yen.

If it's a bike you bought abroad they may not be particularly interested.

Anyway, registration is optional and will do little to deter theft for parts.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Forsbrook

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,185
79
68
Kochi
Talking about registration, I was stopped by the police today on the mama chariot and they were checking that the bike had a registration number and that I could give the correct name for who the bike was registered too. I was out for three hours, and they were still there checking when I rode back - the advantage of being foreign and wearing a helmet meant I didn`t get stopped a seccond time. Sadly, they didn`t pay any attention to road worthiness - maybe they just assumed the bike was fine as I was wearing a helmet. Never heard of them doing that before down here.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
62
78
If you have a receipt for the bike, some ID and 500 yen you should be able to get your bike registered at any LBS.
I'd do it because on the off chance a cop does stop you and you have a bike that does NOT have a yellow sticker on it, your afternoon, or whole day could be wasted at a police station explaining yourself, and they would most likely call your employer, not a nice thing to happen to your boss on a Sunday morning. Get the sticker and be done with it, I'd also look into insurance, make sure you have some the specifies that bicycle riding is covered.

Cheers!

PS I have one 2xlarge TALL jersey here that I bought by mistake that you are welcome to, it is WAY too long for me to wear, I'm 6' tall.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
3,131
1,088
133
Japan
Sadly, they didn`t pay any attention to road worthiness - maybe they just assumed the bike was fine as I was wearing a helmet. Never heard of them doing that before down here.
Cops are usually out in May to top up their quotas for the summer bonuses. Your stop will get another tick in the box for all those that were at the check point. Speed traps are out a lot these next few weeks so drivers be aware.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
973
376
83
Tokyo
Thanks for the heads up regarding Y's Akasaka - I'll ask what they are doing with the taller sized bikes these days.
Some are on display in . . . the first basement. I know because I was there just today. Everything there had flat bars and looked larger than what you first expect to see in a Japanese store; but nothing looked really large.

Anyone above 185cm or so who's thinking of shopping in that store should bear in mind the large concrete protrusions from the ceiling (even on the first floor). I'm perhaps 183cm and there seems to be little more than a hand's thickness between sharp concrete edges and my head. I'd have thought that some health 'n' safety law would mandate bold black and yellow stripes, and maybe even padding. But I'm just an iggernant foreigner; the statute book is too inscrutable for me.