Least Bad Route between Shonandai/Fujisawa and Setagaya

dgl2

Maximum Pace
Nov 3, 2007
284
48
48
Tokyo - Minato-ku
#1
I may be spending some time (probably one day a week) at the Keio Univ. Shonan Fujisawa Campus later this year and am looking for the least-bad route via bicycle to get out there and back to my home (in Kaminoge, Setagaya -- near intersection of Kanpachi Dori and Komazawa Dori).

It is almost 40 kms one way, with 400 or so meters of climbing. My longest past "one way" commute distance by bike in Japan was 16 kms. In the Washington DC area I had a 19-20km commute, but there were no traffic signals or stop-and-go until the last 2 or 3 kms, in downtown DC ...

On the other hand, the alternatives for getting out there seem to take quite awhile, so I am thinking I can probably make the round trip once a week if I consider it the equivalent of getting in a regular mid-week ride.

Yesterday I tried pretty much the route that Google Maps had suggested ... here:

http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1076378

1. Next time, I may try to get to the Sakaigawa (seems to be a favorite for North-South direction between Fujisawa and 246), and then stick to Nakahara Kaido almost all the way in from there, since if memory serves it is better (and less hilly) than the route I took yesterday on most of the stretch closer to Tokyo.

Any other ideas?

My vague memory is that Nakahara Kaido is unpleasant (no shoulder, one lane each direction) if I were to try west of the Sakaigawa, but I have not taken it in many years. I could just get on it as soon as possible and go straight in most of the way, but heading toward Futako instead of Marukobashi to save a little distance on the last leg, like this:

http://goo.gl/maps/r404l

2. Another alternative would be to hop the Denentoshi Line express train to Chuo Rinkan (under 35 minutes on the train) and ride 19 kms from there, perhaps along Sakaigawa, like this:

http://goo.gl/maps/RB51E

Any suggestions for a more direct route that would get me from Chuo Rinkan to Keio SFC? Has anyone ridden along the next stream west of the Sakaigawa, the 引地川 (Hiki-chi-gawa)? It looks like it might be plausible for part of the way ... but leaves one stranded near Atsugi airbase.

And for that I might need bike parking at Chuo Rinkan ... if such a thing exists ... to avoid way too much rinkobukuro use, even on a "reverse" rush hour commute.

Any suggestions are welcome.
 

StuInTokyo

Maximum Pace
Dec 3, 2010
1,662
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78
#2
I don't have a route for you, as I don't live down in that part of Tokyo and only have passed through it a few times, but I do feel your pain on trying to find a decent route.
Pretty much anywhere you go in Tokyo you will have to battle traffic, what time of day will the ride happen? Will you be at least counter flow, meaning that you are heading out of Tokyo while everyone else is heading into Tokyo?
With traffic, in my opinion, you have two choices;
  1. Try to get off the main drag and stick to side roads,
  2. Stick to the main roads for more space to ride

With option #1 you can certainly figure out a route, but it will take a lot of time and a lot of hunting around to find a route that goes together, and then you have to remember it! This can be done, I think of the routes that the Half-Fast crew have created on the various rides around Tokyo, they are amazing and link up so many nice little roads, but they must have taken a lot of time and effort to create, and remember!

With option #2 you pick the larger roads with multiple lanes and you learn to play nice with cars, this is really the only option in a lot of parts of Tokyo.

I pull a trailer full of beer on deliveries around Tokyo daily, and I have learned which routes are better for me on my rather wide bicycle and trailer set up, and I learn to play nice with cars.

As you are only needing this route once a week, maybe you should just stick to the more main roads and get a feel for the area, certainly if you ride around a bit, and give yourself lots of extra time, you should be able to find better routes after you have ridden there and back a few times.

Don't forget it gets dark early these days and have a good light and a good tail light, maybe even a reflective high-vis vest, might look dorky to the carbon fibre crowd, but you crushed under a bus looks worse! :eek:

I hope this helps :D
 

dgl2

Maximum Pace
Nov 3, 2007
284
48
48
Tokyo - Minato-ku
#3
Thanks, Stu. I agree that the choice is either try to hammer the main roads or twist and turn on the local ones. On January 2 I spent way too much time on the local roads. Next time, I'll try a local route to Nakahara Kaido, then take it almost all the way in -- I think it is safer than 246, which is the other main road option ... but I welcome advice.

Given the distance I will probably spend one full day out there each week (starting either in April or September). I am slated to be a visiting professor, but still need to work out the scheduling.

I've got good (dynamo) lighting and reflective brevet vests, of course!
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#5
I commuted from Yokohama to Akasaka Mitsuke for 2 years - tried every route and found the safest was always the 246. Busy yes but the drivers expect heavy traffic and actually give you space - yes one or two nutters every month but nothing out of the ordinary.

Local roads you are going to be still dealing with the rush hour traffic, yet in a more confined space and without the protection of traffic lights of cars pulling out of side streets on you.

Also there is the Emergency element to it all - my wife knew exactly what route I would be taking each day as well as my company - If I failed to show up then they knew there was problems.
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
0
0
#6
^Good points

I am always torn between using what is mentally a less strenuous route; a small local road, and what is seemingly havok, but actually most probably safer; a big mother-effer like Route 16, for all the same reasons as FarEast posted above.
 

dgl2

Maximum Pace
Nov 3, 2007
284
48
48
Tokyo - Minato-ku
#7
Thanks, James (FarEast). I will try 246 as well as Nakahara Kaido.

My experience also is that the risk of accident is higher on the small, local, poor visibility road than on a major road ... even if the terror and stress is higher on the latter, with big trucks zooming by. And I guess time of day and traffic volume may have an impact as well.

I wonder if there are publicly available statistics on cyclist fatalities by location that would give a hint as to whether or not roads like 246, Route 16, and Kanpachi Dori just look dangerous, or if they are so, in fact?

It would be great if they would put in some long distance high speed bike paths, along the suburban train tracks or rivers. ... but that is not going to happen until we get some powerful Japanese politicians who commute along these roads by bicycle.
 
May 22, 2007
3,564
1,379
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#8
It would be great if they would put in some long distance high speed bike paths, along the suburban train tracks or rivers. ... but that is not going to happen until we get some powerful Japanese politicians who commute along these roads by bicycle.
And anyway they would be filled within minutes by people weaving around at 10 km/h on mamachari, wearing headphones and taking their dogs for a drag. And if they put bike lanes on the roads drivers would just park on them as they do now with the rush hour bus lanes.

I commute along R246 from Mizonokuchi to the Palace. I get the occasional idiot, like the station wagon driver today who decided to turn left from lane 2 regardless of me already being in lane 1. But for the most part it's fine.
 

dgl2

Maximum Pace
Nov 3, 2007
284
48
48
Tokyo - Minato-ku
#12
I went out to Keio SFC this morning for a pre-Fall term meeting about my class. I crossed the river at Futakotamagawa and took the "local" road past Mizonoguchi and up to Kajigaya area, where I joined 246, and as recommended, stuck to it until Route 16, then headed South, eventually along Sakaigawa and then through the neighborhoods to Keio SFC campus.
A tolerable route, and relatively fast.

37 kms each way, then another ride into my office and back -- 12 km each way -- for 97 kms in total. If I can do this once a week, it will seriously boost my mileage.