Kyushu: Lessons learned

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#1
Hello everyone,
Thanks for all your support while I was ….away!
Especially to you Thomas for posting my reports and photos each night.
You can read about it here - An 8 day, (almost) circumnavigation of the whole island.
And to you, Ashwarren, for letting me know what was happening back in Tokyo.
Also, Sora, Nobu, Phil Harris, Mayu, Pete, thank you!
Kiwisimon, thank you too, for your thoughtful insights (unfortunately, I didn’t get to read them until after I got back). But you asked me to write a “top 5 best” & “top 5 worst” report. That’s pretty difficult, but here’s an overview with a few handy hints attached.
First of all, I have it on good authority that Kyushu is an excellent place to cycle [Thank you Eric Romney, for your insights]. Although I have to say, I missed quite a lot of this cycling excellence by (1), choosing to go there in the middle of winter (not recommended), and (2), sticking to the main roads almost the entire time (also, not recommended).
I could count on one hand the number of cyclists I saw while I was there (three of them on the last day) – for the most part, I thought I was the only person on a road-bike on the whole island - This was most likely due to the season... Winter not being a cyclist's favorite.
This becomes a problem because the drivers around you have no idea how to respond to a cyclist. Most of the time, cars would sit behind me, not knowing if they should overtake, or just follow me until I got to my destination.
And when cars actually did overtake, they would pull right over into the oncoming traffic lane, as though I was as wide as a car – sometimes on blind corners, which was just plain stupid and dangerous. This was a major cause of stress for me on the second day, and one of the reasons I felt I had to shorten day 3.
"Rumble-strips": The white lines on the side of the road with studded ridges on them (designed to vibrate a car’s wheel) – I have seen them elsewhere in Japan, but it just seemed that Kyushu had a lot more of these “un-ride-able white lines”. They were the major pain in the (literally) for me while I was there.
And on day 6 (Miyako-no-jo to Nobeoka), was the only time EVER in this country where a policeman told me to “ride on the sidewalk!” I didn’t write it in my report for that day because I’d already typed as much into my keitai as I could – but needless to say, it still grates on me! The policeman was talking to me over the loudspeaker from his car; He was saying, “歩道を使いなさい!事故の原因になるよ!”。 “Use the footpath, or you’ll cause an accident!” UNBELIEVABLE!
I had 3 choices:
1. To try and explain to him that I was going a long way, and that the sidewalk was just not a viable option.
2. To get on the sidewalk and then get straight back off after he’d gone.
3. To play the “dumb gaijin”!
I went with option three, raised my hands to show complete non-comprehension of what he was saying, and then continued on my way (still on the road). He just shook his head, and drove off. That just goes to show the level ignorance between drivers and cyclists down that way.

After that hell-ish second day though, I came up with a little mantra for the motorists to keep my mind at ease:

I’m just riding here,
Minding my own business.
You do the same,
And all will be sweet.
I’ll watch my line,
And you watch yours,
And hopefully, the twain shall never meet.


After that second day, down to Nagasaki, I felt burnt. But not so much in my legs, as in my head. The whole day was spent concentrating – watching my speed (learnt that lesson – Thanks Kiwisimon!), checking distances to the next turn-off, riding on those crappy roads, worrying about the cars behind me – the whole day was not enjoyable, and I just didn’t want to have to go through all that sh*t again for the same distance the next day.
I was “cooked” mentally, more than physically. But after that, I just concentrated on what “I” was doing, and not what “the drivers” were doing.

HANDY HINTS! *Note: After riding nearly 1,000km in the 8 days I was there, these are the points that stand out - They are NOT, however, specific to Kyushu. These are just general tips for riding anywhere, picked up not from the location, but simply from the extra miles.

• TRUCKS: You have to respect them! They (truck drivers) are driving as a job, as opposed to your regular Sunday-driver. If a truck passes you while you’re riding, and he has to stop the traffic lights, DON’T go in front of him, so that he will have to pass you again. In city traffic that’s acceptable, but on country roads where the signals are few and far between, give the truck the “right of way” – every time. Remember, if the same truck has to pass you 3 times, then he’s 3 times more likely to mistake you for a man-hole cover!
Common courtesy, AND common sense!

• TUNNELS: Tunnels are difficult because they’re all different lengths, widths, etc. But here are a few tips: If the tunnel is longer than 100m, stop outside before you go in, turn on your rear flasher, and check the traffic coming from behind you. Cars usually come in waves, so if you wait for the last car in a bunch, the next lot won’t be coming along for a while – That should give you enough time to get through without having to worry. Then it's time to check out your "sprinting" chops!


• NARROW ROADS / THE WHITE LINE: Wherever possible, try to stay outside (to the left of) the white line. Sometimes though, it’s not possible due to the narrow roads, or vibration bumps. In those cases, just stay as close as you can to the line, and let the drivers do as they will – 本当にしかたがない。

• CARS BEHIND YOU: Of course, it’s common sense to look behind you, but sometimes you just can’t be bothered. What I found though, is that a lot of the cars sitting behind you won’t pass because they assume you don’t know that they are there. When driving a car, every driver assumes that he/she has been seen by the car in front through the rear vision mirror. Cyclists don’t have that luxury. You have to let the cars behind you know that you’re aware of their presence – If you don’t, they will (rightly sometimes) assume that you will make some unpredictable move in front of their vehicle. A quick turn of the head, or a “wave past” is all it takes.


• GLOVES: This is an important one for winter riders! Gloves will inevitably get wet; either through sweat or rain. When you stop for a break or whatever, DON’T put your gloves on the bench or table next to you! DON’T hang them on you bike handles! PUT THEM DOWN your bike pants near your belly, or tuck them up inside your jersey! There is a big difference between putting on wet COLD gloves, and wet WARM gloves.

• RIDING AT NIGHT: If you have a front flasher, it can work. If you don’t, STAY AT HOME! I have a fairly decent “cat-eye” flasher that is basically only meant to alert drivers of my presence. But when it’s on the solid beam, it still gives out quite a bit of light. From my last experience, riding into Miyako-no-jo in the dark, my light was good enough to be able to see the white line, but nothing else. Stay in the middle of the lane until a car comes up behind you. You will know a car is coming when you can see your own shadow in front of you. If there are no cars coming the other way, you won't have to move too far towards your own white line – but use the car’s headlights to see where you are going. Once the car has passed, you’ll be on your own in the dark again, so move back into the centre of the lane. Don’t ride near the white line if you don’t have to – There are too many cracks and bumps – best to pretend you’re a car.
Also, if you have a backpack with a rain-cover, (even if it’s not raining), it should be bright yellow and make you more visible to cars from behind, so pull it out. AND, rear flashers!

Any other tips from other riders out there are most welcome!
T
 

thomas

The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
1,808
215
93
多摩区
#2
Thanks for posting, Travis. Lots and lots of excellent advice here! With your kind permission I will make this post a "sticky" (always on top of other posts) and use it for a future knowledgebase.

I spent five days in Oita last New Year and rode my bike around Beppu, Yufuin, Oita City and Kunisaki Peninsula. Tell me about headwind. Going to Usa ("Welcome to Usa") from Beppu there is a small pass that looks like a gorge (forgot its name) and felt like a wind tunnel - see the pic attached. That was the first time I have ever been really scared of wind on the bicycle!

- trucks: I DO agree with you... no need to upset them (my leniency does not apply to taxi drivers though).

- tunnels: the "bunch phenomenon", so true.

- small vibration bumps: I have noticed them a lot in Kyushu. It is impossible to avoid them when you are followed by a long line of timid motorists. You also come across them in and around Tokyo - very bicycle-unfriendly.

Travis, thanks for sharing your experience! Precious advice to any serious cyclist! :)


"Wind tunnel" just before Usa City:
 

Sora

Basho's companion
Nov 2, 2005
933
46
58
117
Yokohama -> Fukuoka
www.e-wadachi.com
#4
Hi Tora-san,
thank you for your report,:D

First of all, let me say that on a whole, Kyushu is decidedly “bicycle unfriendly”!
I can count on one hand the number of cyclists I saw while I was there (three of them on the last day) – for the most part, I thought I was the only person on a road-bike on the whole island.
it is winter, not the season of bike tour!:warau:

This becomes a problem because the drivers around you have no idea how to respond to a cyclist. Most of the time, cars would sit behind me, not knowing if they should overtake, or just follow me until I got to my destination.
And when cars actually did overtake, they would pull right over into the oncoming traffic lane, as though I was as wide as a car – sometimes on blind corners, which was just plain stupid and dangerous. This was a major cause of stress for me on the second day, and one of the reasons I felt I had to shorten day 3.
Another thing Kyushu has that makes it difficult are white lines with studded ridges on them (designed to vibrate a car’s wheel) – I have seen them elsewhere in Japan, but it just seemed that Kyushu had a lot more of these “un-ride-able white lines”. They were the major pain in the arse for me while I was there.
yes, the terrible white line sometimes lead us to real hell.


And on day 6 (Miyako-no-jo to Nobeoka), was the only time EVER in this country where a policeman told me to “ride on the sidewalk!” I didn’t write it in my report for that day because I’d already typed as much into my keitai as I could – but needless to say, it still grates on me! The policeman was talking to me over the loudspeaker from his car; He was saying, “歩道を使いなさい!事故の原因になるよ!”。 “Use the footpath, or you’ll cause an accident!” UNBELIEVABLE!
I had 3 choices:
1. To try and explain to him that I was going a long way, and that the sidewalk was just not a viable option.
2. To get on the sidewalk and then get straight back off after he’d gone.
3. To play the “dumb gaijin”!
I went with option three, raised my hands to show complete non-comprehension of what he was saying, and then continued on my way (still on the road). He just shook his head, and drove off. That just goes to show the level ignorance between drivers and cyclists down that way.
you did clever choice, but had better to choose No. 4 "just kick them!". :mad:

After that hell-ish second day though, I came up with a little mantra for the motorists to keep my mind at ease:

I’m just riding here,
Minding my own business.
You do the same,
And all will be sweet.
I’ll watch my line,
And you watch yours,
And hopefully, the twain shall never meet.

After that second day, down to Nagasaki, I felt burnt. But not so much in my legs, as in my head. The whole day was spent concentrating – watching my speed (learnt that lesson – Thanks Kiwisimon!), checking distances to the next turn-off, riding on those crappy roads, worrying about the cars behind me – the whole day was not enjoyable, and I just didn’t want to have to go through all that sh*t again for the same distance the next day.
I was “cooked” mentally, more than physically. But after that, I just concentrated on what “I” was doing, and not what “the drivers” were doing.
HANDY HINTS!

• TRUCKS: You have to respect them! They (truck drivers) are driving as a job, as opposed to your regular Sunday-driver. If a truck passes you while you’re riding, and he has to stop the traffic lights, DON’T go in front of him, so that he will have to pass you again. In city traffic that’s acceptable, but on country roads where the signals are few and far between, give the truck the “right of way” – every time. Remember, if the same truck has to pass you 3 times, then he’s 3 times more likely to mistake you for a man-hole cover!
Common courtesy, AND common sense!

• TUNNELS: Tunnels are difficult because they’re all different lengths, widths, etc. But here are a few tips: If the tunnel is longer than 100m, stop outside before you go in, turn on your rear flasher, and check the traffic coming from behind you. Cars usually come in waves, so if you wait for the last car in a bunch, the next lot won’t be coming along for a while – That should give you enough time to get through without having to worry. Then it's time to check out your "sprinting" chops!


• NARROW ROADS / THE WHITE LINE: Wherever possible, try to stay outside (to the left of) the white line. Sometimes though, it’s not possible due to the narrow roads, or vibration bumps. In those cases, just stay as close as you can to the line, and let the drivers do as they will – 本当にしかたがない。

• CARS BEHIND YOU: Of course, it’s common sense to look behind you, but sometimes you just can’t be bothered. What I found though, is that a lot of the cars sitting behind you won’t pass because they assume you don’t know that they are there. When driving a car, every driver assumes that he/she has been seen by the car in front through the rear vision mirror. Cyclists don’t have that luxury. You have to let the cars behind you know that you’re aware of their presence – If you don’t, they will (rightly sometimes) assume that you will make some unpredictable move in front of their vehicle. A quick turn of the head, or a “wave past” is all it takes.


• GLOVES: This is an important one for winter riders! Gloves will inevitably get wet; either through sweat or rain. When you stop for a break or whatever, DON’T put your gloves on the bench or table next to you! DON’T hang them on you bike handles! PUT THEM DOWN your bike pants near your belly, or tuck them up inside your jersey! There is a big difference between putting on wet COLD gloves, and wet WARM gloves.

• RIDING AT NIGHT: If you have a front flasher, it can work. If you don’t, STAY AT HOME! I have a fairly decent “cat-eye” flasher that is basically only meant to alert drivers of my presence. But when it’s on the solid beam, it still gives out quite a bit of light. From my last experience, riding into Miyako-no-jo in the dark, my light was good enough to be able to see the white line, but nothing else. Stay in the middle of the lane until a car comes up behind you. You will know a car is coming when you can see your own shadow in front of you. If there are no cars coming the other way, you won't have to move too far towards your own white line – but use the car’s headlights to see where you are going. Once the car has passed, you’ll be on your own in the dark again, so move back into the centre of the lane. Don’t ride near the white line if you don’t have to – There are too many cracks and bumps – best to pretend you’re a car.
Also, if you have a backpack with a rain-cover, (even if it’s not raining), it should be bright yellow and make you more visible to cars from behind, so pull it out. AND, rear flashers!

Any other tips from other riders out there are most welcome!
T
I really agree with all of them, especially night run and tunnels are unfaimilier for the cyclist in urban areas. ほんとに。都会のライダーは参考にしてくださいね。意味が分からんときは、有料で訳しましょう!:warau:
 

Brady

Warming-Up
Feb 3, 2007
2
0
0
Shinagawa
#5
Rumble strips

Tora,
Thanks for the insight. Experience is a teacher, but not always the best. Back in the U.S. we had those rumble strips as well. Sometimes the shoulder was wide enough that you could actually ride to the right of them (between the rumble strip, and the guard rail). We I was not affored this luxury I rode the rumble strip and pretended I was on the cobble stones of France riding the Tour. Sometimes you imagination is all you got.;)
 
Aug 29, 2007
20
0
0
Sasebo, Japan
#6
Kyushu Is A Great Place To Ride!

I've been living in Sasebo for about 5 years. There is a large and very active cycling community here. My experience has been fantastic. While I confess the roads are narrow and traffic isn't always bicycle friendly, the vast majority of motorists I've encountered have been very courteous and patient... rarely any honking horns or near misses. Most people wait until it's safe to pass and many actually wave as they go by. Children are the most fun as they are usually halfway out the window waving as they drive by.

I've never had to ride on the sidewalks here. In fact, at the speeds I ride at it would be much more dangerous. I commute about 22 km each way to and from work every day. My ride home comes during peak traffic hours and I tend to move along well with traffic. I use hand signals, obey traffic signs and lights, and keep to the left side of my lane, which has kept me out of trouble to date. I wear a reflective vest and use lights when commuting so I'm visible. The only issue I have is with the city busses which sometimes pass close by and seem to always cut me off to get into their stops rather than wait for me to ride past it.

Tunnels were mentioned as an issue. There are many of them here. Some of them are posted with signs that specify cyclists must pass through on the sidewalks. I obey those signs and it hasn't impeded my rides any. One thing that does get a bit scary though are the painted stripes and drainage grates on the roads. It seems that every switchback and curve on every mountain road is painted with stripes and arrows that become slick as ice in the rain. Also, at the apex of nearly every one of these curves is a drainage grate that runs across both lanes. The grates are usually square grids so they don't "eat" bicycle wheels, but they become very slick as well.

It seems a shame that anyone had a bad experience riding down here. I love it. The groups I ride with number in the dozens... every Sunday. Kyushu hosted the national championship last year on a gruelling course in unusually bad weather, but the race itself was a success. The scenery here is phenomenal as are the historical locations. The cities are relatively small with lots of beautiful country roads... often with little or no traffic. If you're a climber, this place is heaven. Just in Sasebo there are 3 climbs over 400 meters high with steep or gradual ascents varying from 3 to 11 km to the peaks. The only thing lacking in my area is road racing... but I think that has more to do with my inability to communicate effectively and get to whatever races may be here.

If anybody is looking for a good weekend cycling experience, come to Kyushu. Fly into Fukuoka and I'll pick you up and show you around the Sasebo area. Just be ready to go uphill...

Ted
 

evan06

Warming-Up
Jul 23, 2007
103
0
0
Yokosuka
#7
Ted,

I completely agree about the riding in the Sasebo area. I lived there for 8 years. I used to ride with a group near Haiki who sponsors an annual ride down to Nagasaki and back, great ride by the way. I often road the loop to Hirado-Imari-Sasebo and sometimes Karatsu and back. The mountains that surround the base are pretty good, especially Eboshi-dake. In addition there are a number of good hills to battle up on the way to Hirado. I do miss those rides in Kyushu

I never experienced any crowding by the drivers, in fact I felt they were very respectful, unlike many places in the States. I am really looking forward to my transfer back to Japan (Yokosuka).

James
 

Yasuhiro

Speeding Up
Jan 20, 2007
66
6
28
Tokyo
#8
Northen Kyushu was also great

Hi Ted,

I am Yasuhiro in Tokyo and originally from Fukuoka.
In this summer vacation, I took my bike to my parents' house near Kurume, Fukuoka and enjoyed cycling around there.
I enjoyed 3 routes;
1) Fukuoka airport to Ukiha city, 50k

2) Chikugo-gawa river cycling road to mountain place in Kurume/Ukiha, 70k
About 25k cycling road along Chikugo-gawa river. Mountain side was too steep for me.
http://woodssite.net/FCA/kurumeCC2.html

3) Round trip of Ukiha - Hita - Yabakei, 130k
Beautiful 20k flat cycling road from Yamakuni to Yabakei. Should go there in autumn again to enjoy colored leaves.

In general, car drivers were gentle but some national road such as route 3, 210, 386 were not wide enough and so many lorries.

I hope we can ride in Kyushu someday.
 
Nov 27, 2007
20
0
11
Tokyo
#9
Kyushu questions

I've a Kyushu question. In a few weeks, I'm planning to cycle from Kokura to Beppu. Looking at the map Route 10 seems to feature quite heavily. Does anyone know if this is a fun road or hell?

Also, next year, I'm thinking of doing the Tour de Kunisaki and inviting a friend from overseas. Is it a hardcore race or is there scope for those not in tip top condition too?

Cheers,
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#10
Should be good!

Hello "idrowley",
I did this ride almost a year ago now.
But I rode from Beppu northwards to "Kita-Kyushu Airport".
And yes, I took Rte.10 all the way.
Of course, you could take Rte.213 all the way around 両子山 following the coast, but that will add an extra 80km to your ride.

Still, I think Rte.10 is way to go!
Once you get to Usa (town), the road will start going up for a bit until you reach the valley-floor. The valley road goes for about 20km, but what you need to be most careful of is the "wind"!

Thomas also rode the same route a year before I did (ie. 2 years ago), and he said he had a terrible time with the head-wind.
I was very lucky on the day I went through, and had no wind at all (the day before was terrible though).

But at this time of year, for you (coming from the North), I reckon the wind will be pushing you along nicely.

As a final word, of all the cities/towns I stayed at in Kyushu, Beppu was definitely the nicest, and I fully recommend it!!
Have a nice trip, and come riding with us some time in the near future!
Travis
P.S. See the full Kyushu report here:
https://tokyocycle.com/bbs/showthread.php?t=223&highlight=decided&page=2
 
Nov 27, 2007
20
0
11
Tokyo
#11
Many thanks for this. I think this will be my Xmas ride. Sounds like it should be nice. I'm actually going only as far as Kitsuki, which is a bit before Beppu, as I've a place to stay there, but I might pop down to Beppu anyway.
 
Nov 27, 2007
20
0
11
Tokyo
#12
Thanks for the tips, TravisI know what you mean about the wind near Kyushu... I didn't got that far in the end but cycled alongside the sea from the airport most days I was down there. A lot of it was surprisingly (to me) beautifu, particuarly parts of route 25 after the turn off at the Nissan factoryl. Hope to go back to Kyushu again soon to do a bit more. Note to self: Must get fitter first.
 
#13
Hello all you bike wranglers.
I am Joe in Yuifuin, and I certainly understand your plight in Oita.
It is all about the road you choose! Like all japan, if you know the roads, it is great. Lets face it, country-side Japan is fan-f---king-tastic riding!
I know these roads, after about 10 years riding them!
From Kagoshima to Kita Kyushu.

I have a bike tour company but for rider ex-pats in Japan with nothing between them and starvation but a job and a bike, I am at you (garbage!) disposal.
Please feel free to contact me for road advice, a place to stay, and anything! I am kuwashi on Kyushu.
Joe Reinhart, www.japanbikenhike.com

Yufuin Japan.
 
Aug 9, 2007
20
0
0
tokyo, setagaya
#14
Travis. Just came across your Kyushu report. sounds like a great experience. I am planning something similar for the last 2 weeks in march. my question here - did you use a specific cycle map to get around ... if so, where did you acquire it ? any suggestions on how to plan something like that - i.e. i am not sure how to carry bags with me - i dont want to carry a backpack as it will hurt - and not sure whether its worth investing a lot of money into a rear rack and panniers. i am interested in hearing what you did .. looking forward to hearing from you. thanks, marek [livestrong]
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#15
Maps...

Travis. Just came across your Kyushu report. sounds like a great experience. I am planning something similar for the last 2 weeks in march. my question here - did you use a specific cycle map to get around ... if so, where did you acquire it ? any suggestions on how to plan something like that - i.e. i am not sure how to carry bags with me - i dont want to carry a backpack as it will hurt - and not sure whether its worth investing a lot of money into a rear rack and panniers. i am interested in hearing what you did .. looking forward to hearing from you. thanks, marek [livestrong]
Hey Marek,
The maps I used were the "\1,000 Map" that you can buy from almost any convenience-store. The problem is that you can't actually buy them until you get there - For example; You can only buy a "Kansai" map once you're inside Kansai; And you can only buy a "Kyushu" map after you've arrived in Kyushu.
See the photo below; they are only a 1:200,000 ratio, which means 1cm (or one fingernail) on the page equals 2km.
(BTW, I have the whole country now:D)

For luggage: I had my bike-bag (for the plane) in my second bottle-holder. The rest of the stuff was all "back-pack". I've never used panniers, but they might be a good option. Only take what you will need - I wore almost the same clothes everyday, except for underpants and socks.
One large drink-bottle that you'll need to fill up each morning.

If you can, plan for 110-150km a day (180km max. like Thomas & I did up to Aomori on days 5 & 6).
The other thing is the "backside" region - riding a 100+km ride once each weekend is a lot different from doing it every single day - you will find (usually on the 3rd day) your ARSE will start hurting very badly. Fortunately, after day four, the pain just seems to go away, or is preceded by the the pain in your legs, and you just stop thinking about it.

One last thing, is to plan your next day's ride the night before, and make sure you start rolling as early as possible. Also, take a small bottle of machine-oil with you, and some rags to clean your chain every morning (This is very important!)
OH! If you're catching a plane, you'll need to let all of the air out of your tyres before you board - make sure your pump works, and pump up your tyres to max on Day 1, and again on Day 3 or 4.

That's all the information/advice I can give you in such a short space.
Marek, Have a great trip, OK!
Let us know how everything went, and if you can catch up with the "Richy" team.
Take care!
Travis

MAPS!
 
Aug 9, 2007
20
0
0
tokyo, setagaya
#16
travis. thanks a lot for your response and your advices. i greatly appreciate it since its my first "proper" tour and thats by my own. i imagine it to be very stressful, but nethertheless i am excited to explore a new part of Japan by bike. your report sounded pretty interesting and i hope to make similar experiences. i will make sure i buy one of those maps you recommended. not sure how i am gunna solve the problem with storing my stuff - might get one of those holders that you attach to the seatpost, which holds up to 11kg , but not sure about it. will try to stick to the absolut essentials. thanks again for your advices.
 

veda

Warming-Up
May 1, 2008
21
0
0
Chofu, Tokyo
#17
Hi, Travis!
Thank you for post. I really enjoyed it and realize cultural deferences and people. Climax is stupid cops who had smallest knowledge of their own traffic law.
I myself the latest comer to TCC am looking forward to share time by riding bike through club activities, thank you.

Michel Angelo Veda
--
 
Jan 22, 2008
4
0
11
Oita
www.japanbikenhike.com
#18
Don't ride Rt. 10

If you do ride Kyushu, a wonderful island filled with gentle women and polite drivers, helpful police and great cheap Ryokans...then SIZE="2"]DON'T SIZE]ride rt 10.

Any map will show you quickly that rt. 10 is, or as we call it, "PCH 1," is The Main Heavy Traffic road around the island. Yes, it is the shortest. Who wants to be short?

Look for routes through the hills! They are unused, lovely and challenging. You can still ride 100 to 120 km a day. It's easy! And you will see something real nice, instead of the plethora of ramen shops, cobene storea and endless....traffic. Plus you build personality by climbing hills.

And if you ride at night, without appropriate lighting on rt 10 between (so terrible road! Narrow and way O-too-busy!) Miyakanojo and Miyazaki, don't be surprised if a concerned cop tries to save your life by telling you, "It is dangerous to ride here! At least get your dumb gaijin arse onto the sidewalk!"

Try the ride from Beppu to Yufuin, to Kuju, Aso and Shiba-son then accross the range to Miyazaki, and from there, follow the outer coast to Toimisaki, Uchinoura (rocket center!) and on to Satamisaki, the south-point of Kyushu. Come back up Kagoshima bay to the first ferry point and cross to the western side and regain the coast and ride up to Kumamoto staying as close to the shore as possible. Take ferries to islands! Love the island girls.

Avoid the roads from Kumamoto to Kita Kyushu. In fact the entire Northwaste of Kyushu is almost a complete write-off. Nagasaki is OK, but take the train from Kumamoto back north.
 
Jun 5, 2009
7
0
11
Kobe, Japan
#20
Lessons learned response

This is in response to the idiot who came to Kyushu for a few days and had no idea where he was going. I just finished 185km ride from Beppu to Fukuoka. I was able to do this in about 8 hours. For about three hours, just before starting the Hikosan (Mt. Hiko) climb I only saw one car. The traffic I did encounter was as normal if not more polite as any traffic you would find any place in the world.

I have been riding and racing my bike all over the world for the past 25 years. I have been riding all over Japan for the last two years. I feel Kyushu offers some of the best cycling in Japan. I have been living in Fukuoka City for almost one year and I'm able to be out of the city on quiet country roads in less than 10 minutes. I travel to Oita City for work each week. From my office in the heart of the city, I can start climbing on quiet roads with no traffic in 3 minutes.

So, next time you decide to ride your bike, you should check a map. Or even better, check with a local cycling club or bike shop. I would be interested to see this person's route. It sounds like he took the freeway.

If anyone wants to ride Kyushu I would be more than happy to show you the best routes. To the idiot who posted "Lessons Learned", you are also welcome back only if you ride with me. As a cyclist, I feel sorry for you that you came all the way down here and did not experience all that Kyushu has to offer.

Thanks,

Eric Romney
ericromney@hotmail.com