Greetings from SoCal!

Jun 18, 2012
Los Angeles, CA
はじめまして!新しい友達にありがとうございました。 よろしくお願いします!!

Thanks for letting me join TCC! I'm stoked to have found you guys and gals, and apologize in advance for the onslaught of newbie questions you all are about to endure.

I currently live in Los Angeles, CA, but I'm moving to Tokyo in January of 2013. I've been riding in and around LA for the past 4 years or so, and recently got a new road bike--a Cannondale CAAD 8-- which I plan on bringing to Japan.

I get real thrill out of urban biking and California grants bicyclists and motorists the same rights under the law, so I ride pretty aggressively through LA traffic. There's really nothing like flying past frustrated motorists while they spend hours sitting on Santa Monica Blvd. during rush's often the highlight of my day. I definitely want to tread lightly and don't want to ruffle any feathers when I arrive in Tokyo though, so your guidance will be much appreciated.

When I was in Japan last time, I noticed that most everyone was riding on the sidewalk and not the street. Is that the law or a preference? I feel much more comfortable in the street than on the sidewalk--- will that be a problem?

I'm sure this has been asked and answered a million times, but whats the policy regarding bikes and the trains? I can't imagine fitting a bike on the train during rush hour or at last train, but is it ok during less busy times?

If anyone has any stories or tips about commuting in Tokyo on a bike, I'd love to hear. Sorry for the long post...Thanks again!!


Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
Setagaya, Tokyo
Welcome to TCC!

According to law here, cyclists are supposed to ride on the road, not the sidewalk, with the exception of children and cases where it's not safe to ride on the road, but the law is not enforced, except maybe to slam a reckless cyclist who hit a pedestrian.

Basically, ride on the road with your road bike, but feel free to switch to the sidewalk where convenient as long as you slow down to speeds that don't endanger or frighten pedestrians sharing it with you.

There are a few other quirks for cyclists:
1) you can ride against most one way streets (really, there's a sign!)
2) can't use a right turn lane (think left turn lane in the US or continental Europe), you need to cross like pedestrians.
3) some bridges and overpasses are closed to bicycles


Maximum Pace

I was in LA last summer and enjoyed the riding there--one of my favorite rides was down to Santa Monica (although via San Vincente) then north on the PCH and then into the mountains around Topanga or Malibu lake area.

Bikes on trains > You need to bag the bike, usually in a "rinko" bag. There are no specific times its not allowed (I think?) but as you suggest, common sense dictates that you'd avoid the sardine trains at rush hour... Searching for "rinko" in these forums will turn up lots of threads...
Apr 3, 2012
Tama Center <-> Otemachi
I'm a SoCal ex-pat. Tokyo is wonderfully strange.

  • Drivers here are more courteous or timid compared to what you find in the LA area.
  • Summers here are insanely muggy.
  • It snows sometimes in Tokyo!
  • Everyone dresses for the occaision, including cycling.
  • You should be riding your bicycle as if it's a 50cc moped. has many good hints on getting up to speed.

Other things:
  • Get your motorcycle license. Now. You need to have to be license at least six months to transfer to a Japanese license. Once you transfer, you are provisioned an unlimitted license.
  • Buy your bicycle spares / parts in the States. The mark up in Japan is high.

Probably more things... But I've been here too long now. :p


Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
Basically there are no rules, and best of all, you don't risk getting capped by the LCM if you tread EAST of WESTERN. The taxis can get fairly passive aggressive - so I suggest carrying a proper FRAME PUMP or simple cast iron pipe as a "persuader". Oh, yeah, SLEEVELESS jerseys are NOT ALLOWED. And if you want a map to the homes of the AV stars it will cost you 500yen.
Jun 18, 2012
Los Angeles, CA
Thank you all for the warm welcome and great info!

I don't feel as nervous about getting acclimated now...Other than the fact that I'll probably be biking on the wrong side of the street for the first few weeks, it seems like the rules are pretty much the same: Use common sense, don't ride like an a**hole, NEVER go east of

Phil, today I actually did a very similar ride to the one you described. Glad you enjoyed it!

Good to know I'll be in good company on the mean streets of Tokyo! Do you guys organize rides often?