Ride For any TCC 'tilers'

Gok

Maximum Pace
Dec 22, 2016
131
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73
Today was a UK bank holiday so my office was closed. Time for a proper ride... but I had to get the 05.09 train to beat the commuters getting through Tokyo. That hurt.

The mission was to colour-in a chunk of Chiba south of Tonegawa. The 59 new tiles punch above their weight in expanding my cluster, as they draw some tiles from a long-ago ride into the swarm. Strava...


I'm enjoying making .GIFs of my progress (or "the infestation", as my friend calls it). The one I made of this ride is too big for TCC :(, so I'll see if this link works:

Great ride Mike, that gif is so satisfying to watch.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
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Kawasaki
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Fellow TCC tile collectors have gone quiet, recently. Or just letting Stravr do the talking ;-)

For once, I had a weekend with no other demands and decent weather forecast. So I set about two rides that I'd had planned for a while.

Saturday: Tsuchiura to Utsunomiya, around the 'back' of Mt. Tsukuba range. I tiled the west side in July 2018, and I should have read my own comments before setting out this time - "99% paved, and so glad I had CX bike for the other 1%!" But I was facing a 150 km ride with 2000+ m elevation, and I reckoned it would all be paved, so I took my NPB Bura to make the riding and climbing as easy as possible.

Well, many of the "roads" on Mt. Tsukuba have long sections that could be more accurately described as "sometimes-dry river beds".

Not to worry. The bike and I survived. On with the story...

Tsuchiura station is a good starting point for two 'normal' cycling trips - around Lake Kasumigaura, and the "Tsukuba Rinrin Road" (40 km along the route of a long-gone train line repurposed into a cyclepath). They seem to have got the message, and the station is rather more welcoming to cyclists that I remembered...

20190914-084713-exploring-ibaraki-tsukuba.jpg

My route initially took me along the aforementioned Rinrin Road. I'll have to take a group ride there again one day. It's rather nice.

20190914-091707-exploring-ibaraki-tsukuba.jpg

Within a few minutes came my first obstacle. The route I'd planned online went through a Hitachi factory site, and the security guard was having none of it. Attempts to efficiently reroute took me around in a loop under the highway. Still, there are worst places to be a bit lost.

20190914-100015-exploring-ibaraki-tsukuba.jpg

And after a while I was facing the mountain.

20190914-100400-exploring-ibaraki-tsukuba.jpg

Taking the Asahi Tunnel would be boring and scary, and wouldn't touch enough tiles, so I went up and over the "Purple Line". In a dodge to the east to grab a tile, I found the entire 1 km section of route 236 that is unpaved. This was not so much fun on 28 mm slicks. And the actual descent wasn't very enjoyable either, with so much debris on the roads after last week's storm. The view from near the top, however... yay!

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Blah blah rice fields at harvesting time

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The only section that I really couldn't complete as planned was the next major climb, on route 218. The road rapidly turns to deep, steep gravel. No way today, José.

20190914-123523-exploring-ibaraki-tsukuba.jpg

I struggled up far enough to get into the next tile, then turned back. Ad-libbed Plan B was to go around the other side, and see if I could get far enough up the road I'd planned to descend to get the tile(s) from that direction.

20190914-131931-exploring-ibaraki-tsukuba.jpg

Yes We Can. The unnumbered paved road seemed to go up a lot further, but this was not a day for heroics. Get the tiles, and worry about the rindō some other time. Rest of the day was relatively uneventful, although it took a lot longer than planned and the last hour was ridden in the dark.

ibaraki1.gif

Sunday: Chiba Bōsō Peninsula West Coast, from Chiba to Kanaya

If you've ever looked down from a plane coming into Haneda, or on satellite images, or tried it yourself, you'll know the 'top' section of the Chiba coast is very unlovely industrial blech; huge oil and chemical plants on reclaimed land and wharves stretching way out into the Bay. (So a bit like Sweet Home Kawasaki.) But a tiler's gotta do what a tiler's gotta do. The wind forecast was from the northeast, and I wanted to ride southwest. Not much climbing, so should be fine even after the previous day's exertion. Same bike.

First, a diversion through a very nice park, to collect an orphan tile from my previous visit to the area.

20190915-081720-exploring-chiba-northwest.jpg

That done, I set about the coast road. Blech highway. But Sunday in the middle of a holiday, so traffic was minimal.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
3,889
2,074
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
[continued]

Tiling regularly takes one off the highways, though. Ah...

20190915-091346-exploring-chiba-northwest.jpg

Several detours along the aforementioned landfill sites - dead-flat no-traffic head-down TT-position into-the-wind grab-tile take-photo turn-around coast back laughing at own futility.

20190915-101207-exploring-chiba-northwest.jpg

A view of the Tokyo Bay Aqualine that not so many people will ever see, unless they decide to try...

20190915-105638-exploring-chiba-northwest.jpg

I don't know whether these boats were wrecked by the typhoon, or just left there to die beforehand.

20190915-124029-exploring-chiba-northwest.jpg

Cape Futtsu was kinda interesting. I'd been told (long ago) that camping is OK there, but I didn't see any evidence of camps. What I did see, and watch for a while, was kite-surfers.

20190915-131317-exploring-chiba-northwest.jpg

And this viewing platform. Stairs? Hell no.

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Finished-up, and arrived just in time to catch the ferry across the bay. It seems they're short on electricity... the ticket hall was in darkness, and the last ferry at the moment is at 17:20.

20190915-151938-exploring-chiba-northwest.jpg

So anyway that's done. Don't have to do it again. There's plenty of Chiba left for me to explore, so here's hoping JFE haven't taken too much of it up with their Fire Pits.

chiba1.gif
 
Last edited:

sean-e

Maximum Pace
Mar 4, 2019
128
220
53
大田区
Nice pics!

Yeah, the industrial coast road down Chiba is bleak. I remember passing the dystopian ruins of Liberty around Kisarazu.*

IMG_0820 (2).JPG

*...Liberty Pachinko and Slot, that is.
 
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Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
622
522
113
Yokohama
@Half-Fast Mike I noticed your massive tile bagging expeditions on Strava. Well done! Looks like you'll have all of Japan covered in another few years. Also saw the post about the GIF update. It would be cool if that feature was available on VV.

I've been off to the US for a while and busy with taking care of elderly parents, so apart from a couple rides in the US and checking Strava, I haven't been on the net much.

Did have some nice rides in my local haunts. Could probably have equaled my JN max square (acquired over a couple years) in the US if I had another week or two, given the nearly flat nature of the geography, the good roads, and almost total lack of cars. A totally different riding experience than in Japan. Realized that by riding the back roads of the place I'd lived most of my early years, I discovered lots of neat stuff (as well as one water moccasin) that I had never seen before. One of the reasons I'm addicted to biking. It was also really good weather in the Midwest with low temps that felt more like fall than summer, and looks like I dodged a serious typhoon as well. Doesn't get any better than that, IMHO.

Now, it's back to getting some nice rides in up in the mountains and testing out some new Panaracer Gravel Kings 700x40s and a Ritchey VentureMax Comp handlebar for the Surly. Had one on my bike in the US and really loved the shallow, flared drops. For the first time I actually spent a lot of time in the drops and used the full range of hand placement options that drop bars provide.

@Gok Don't think I don't see you sneaking up on the max square totals. I'm going to have to get going to stay ahead of you.
 
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luka

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Jan 13, 2015
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so now @Karl is back from the states, the temps are cooler and my gravel bike is ready and operational, not to mention the 3 day weekend coming up, are we gonna hit that middle of nowhere off-road explore thing we talked about a month ago? @Half-Fast Mike @sean-e @anyoneelse?
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
622
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Yokohama
so now @Karl is back from the states, the temps are cooler and my gravel bike is ready and operational, not to mention the 3 day weekend coming up, are we gonna hit that middle of nowhere off-road explore thing we talked about a month ago? @Half-Fast Mike @sean-e @anyoneelse?
@sean-e did that ride on his own prior to the typhoons hitting. My guess is, it is a real mess right now after the typhoon, plus the recent rains probably haven't helped. I figure I'll be sticking to paved roads for a bit till things dry out.