Hello. Returning to Tokyo soon!!!

May 5, 2011
3
0
11
Akasaka, Tokyo
#1
Hello TCC! I moved to Tokyo in 2006 and took up biking in '07. It was easier to haul my groceries home on a bike than to hike my fat arse with 30 lbs groceries from the market to home every time. Over the course of time I lost weight and loved biking. I started biking everywhere and added spins around the Imperial Palace for fun. I had to look silly out there in my Don Quixote Chimpunk special :eek: with the granny basket but I enjoyed getting out and biking.

We returned to US in '09 and I bought a new bike. A Specialized Aerial Sport for biking the trails and roads in my city. 75 miles of greenbelt connect my community (a rarity for TX) and I began biking to everything I did. Gym, grocery, bank, library, etc.... I was thrilled to keep up the biking here. My kids can't keep up with me and that's why I picked my screen name.

I've added long routes 40-65 km and now prefer road biking. I'm about to upgrade to the Specialized Elite before we move back to Japan in August. I was having difficulty remembering what biking was like in Japan and wished for long bike routes and club rides. I began mapping my old rides in Tokyo at MapMyRide.com and realize that my everyday bike ride is long enough to get me far beyond my old neighborhood. From Roppongi to Shibuya felt like a death wish for biking back then but now I can't wait to bike to Nishi Kasai (where my husband's office is) or Odaiba or Chofu or farther. I stumbled on this forum and The Half Fast Cycling Club and now I'm really psyched. Can't wait to join you guys and learn a lot more about cycling. I just learned to repair a flat. Not by need, just curiosity. Love my local bike shop. They are so jealous I'm moving to Japan. They want to spend time there riding and enjoying the famous 'bike culture' they hear about in the cycling community. These guys are fanatics.

My pace is about 20-25 kph depending on the ride. I hope a club ride will help me go faster and longer. I'm working with a personal trainer hoping I can build more muscle now that I've lost fat and help my endurance on the bike.

As a fat american arriving in Tokyo that first night the walk from Azabudai to Hard Rock Cafe frightened the heck out of me. I was terrified of living there without a car. The first trip to Odaiba to Toys R Us was exhausting. The train and the monorail to buy a Hot Wheels race track was annoying. It felt like ages to get there. My friends said, "Get a car. By car it's so much easier to get to Odaiba." :confused: Now the notion of biking there is revving my engines. With my panniers I can probably bring back two hot wheels tracks and a couple of lego sets. I can't wait. :bike:

Thanks for letting me intro myself. Sorry to be long winded.

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#5
In many ways Tokyo is actually quite small so it's great to get around by bike. I was intimidated by the traffic at first but it gets easier with practice and as your reflexes quicken. Definitely get cycling insurance from an LBS though, as pedestrians are far too easy to hit...
I think you'll enjoy cycling along the rivers a lot!
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#6
Oh , yeah , and NEVER speak Japanese to the cops that will randomly pull you over for using the right turn lane..... to turn right! Kori is right - spend the small money to get liability insurance so you can hit pedestrians at will without need for 'the envelope' **



** Japanese settle 'claims' by giving the claimant an envelope of apology money. This must be new, unmarked, $100 (ichi-man) bills of non-concurrent serial numbers. Otherwise, your children and their children will have no chance in hell to apply for a decent university in Japan.

In many ways Tokyo is actually quite small so it's great to get around by bike. I was intimidated by the traffic at first but it gets easier with practice and as your reflexes quicken. Definitely get cycling insurance from an LBS though, as pedestrians are far too easy to hit...
I think you'll enjoy cycling along the rivers a lot!
 
May 5, 2011
3
0
11
Akasaka, Tokyo
#7
Thanks for the welcome...

guys. I'm glad for all the helpful info here. So far....

I'm looking for a bike bag here in the US. A friend rides the Tama hills and I'd like to go out there too so I need a bike bag for the train. Didn't think of that.

I'll definitely have to get insurance. I was most terrified of hitting someone. Definitely want to avoid the ''envelope'.

Driving in Tokyo taught me the "Sorry, I don't speak Japanese." So I'll have to remember that on the bike.

The main question I have...

I was going to buy an introductory road bike here in the US now that I want to move to drop bars, integrated shifters, smaller tires, faster ride (not that I know what I'm talking about. I just know I loved the ride feel when I tested out the road bikes compared to my hybrid or mountain bike). But someone suggested that maybe I wait to see what kind of riding I like to do in Japan and maybe I won't be so into road biking but would rather stick to my hybrid.

I want to know one thing. I love my bike shop here and they are great guys to help me with questions and advice. I might buy it here, ride it here for three months, have them pack it and ship it for me (they'll include this service for free) or should I wait to buy there. Will I find a great bike shop that speaks English well that doesn't mind working with a novice like me?
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,181
76
68
Kochi
#8
Ahh! The old stick or twist time! Do I buy a bike for the riding I do or the riding I think I will do if I get it? Will having the bike encourage me to ride more?...

If it`s a Specialized you are after (the Allez is highly rated), then they are one of the brands that don`t allow sales beyond territorial lmits so it would be way cheaper to buy it in the states and ship it over (especially if your LBS will throw that in for you) than to buy it here.

But bike bags would probably be cheaper here as they are ubiquitous