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Lights in the tunnels of Japanese Alps

Frederic Barcelona

Warming-Up
Apr 5, 2014
4
0
The next month of August we plan to climb Mt Fuji and after the route Fujiyoshida to Kyoto by the Japanese Alps. But we have to pass through several tunnels along the road. Specifically, between Kofu - Saku on the roads137 and 708, and between Matsumoto - MtNorikura - Takayama on the roads158 and 84. Are lighting the tunnels of these roads? Bring lights for bicycles?

Thank you.
 

Chris Williams

Maximum Pace
Dec 21, 2013
459
154
Most tunnels except in very rural areas or short have some kind of lights - would recommend a rear light at least... Safety first
 

DeltaForce

Maximum Pace
Sep 17, 2011
204
25
You can see for your self on Google Street View. More importantly, check whether there is anywhere for you to ride. Most of those tunnels have no shoulder, or footpath to keep out of the way of the traffic.

In most cases, there will be another way over the mountain. The old road used before the tunnel was built. But you've gotta like mega climbs for that. You can check that out to some extent on Google maps, too.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,225
2,833
Are lighting the tunnels of these roads? Bring lights for bicycles?
In most cases, yes, there are lights in the tunnels. But you must ALSO use lights on your bike in the tunnel.

I've ridden from Norikura to Matsumoto a few times. It's OK riding in that direction because you can keep up your speed going downhill. It will not be much fun going uphill through the tunnels in the street with the cars, buses and trucks.
 
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microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
1,043
482
So in some cases there isn't a palatable alternative to the tunnel.

Cold and clammy -- when I enter a tunnel through a hill, my thought train jumps to imminent death. And then, "I'm far too old to die young", and "I wish I had a big flashing light on my helmet in addition to the ho-hum flashing light under my saddle".

Do you people who've survived numerous such tunnels recommend an extra (rear-facing) light on the helmet, or a bright rear light on the bike, or something else; and whichever it is, which model? (The differences among front lights are fairly easy to understand even when they're in the store; the differences between rear lights much harder. And I haven't seen anything in a store that credibly promises to be good on a helmet.)
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,225
2,833
I don't have a light on my helmet. I use rearward-facing bar-end lights. (Dixna - ¥1,980 at Y's Road.) They are very eye-catching for other road users. Unfortunately if you fall off/over they tend to break quite easily. I've replaced them several times!
 

JackTheCommuter

Maximum Pace
Apr 3, 2012
402
100
I have my night commute kit if there are tunnels. Rear blinkers and front lamp. And ride at my highest pace if the road is too narrow, take the lane to annoyance of faster road users.
 

ProRaceMechanic

Maximum Pace
Dec 31, 2009
907
89
If you go through the Gombei tunnel from Ina and go over the super Rindo its a bit safer, may be longer though.
 

stanc

Maximum Pace
Sep 4, 2011
255
41
I don't have a light on my helmet. I use rearward-facing bar-end lights. (Dixna - ¥1,980 at Y's Road.) They are very eye-catching for other road users. Unfortunately if you fall off/over they tend to break quite easily. I've replaced them several times!
I use bar end lights too. They seem to buy you a bit more space as the light is that little bit further out.
 

trad

Maximum Pace
Dec 4, 2006
396
30
Japanese drivers are generally good around cyclist and overtake speeds are not so high, but it can be bit intimidating (with road of engine/knobby tires coming down on you, in enclosed space w/o shoulders). Recommend you do bring a bright, red, LED blinky light for rear and a front blinky. If you plan on riding at night, also suggest a bit of reflective tape on helmet and a bit on your frame or a moving part - like back of shoes/heels, pedals, or even end of crank arm). Can't go wrong with a small LED flashlight to fix on handle bar in a pinch (like one those MC-E emitter flashlights you can pick up for $20).
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,931
2,118
I use a light at the back of the helmet and lights on both seat stays. Nevertheless, having seen the tunnels between Matsumoto and Norikura only from inside a bus, I would not consider risking my life in them climbing uphill in front of trucks and buses.
 

robsta

Cruising
Oct 5, 2008
24
2
I have a flashing red light on the rear of my helmet, a steady red lamp just under the seat and a green armband with flashing and steady mode. Hate tunnels.
 

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
1,043
482
@joewein and @robsta , is the light on your helmet designed especially for helmets, or have you simply (?) used unusual intelligence and skill in mounting a general-purpose light on your helmet?
 

zenbiker

Maximum Pace
Mar 4, 2008
807
246
I have a huge problem with tunnels. Well not all tunnels but if they are a little too dark or narrow, I lose balance and feel as if the tunnel is closing in from behind. At times I've come to a complete stop. In a car it's not a problem. I wonder if it's a balance problem. If I do the close your eyes and stand on one leg test, I can do about 2 seconds!
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,225
2,833
I have a huge problem with tunnels. Well not all tunnels but if they are a little too dark or narrow, I lose balance and feel as if the tunnel is closing in from behind. At times I've come to a complete stop. In a car it's not a problem. I wonder if it's a balance problem. If I do the close your eyes and stand on one leg test, I can do about 2 seconds!
Armchair physician says: That sounds like sensory ataxia or a problem with your vestibular nerve. If so, there's not much to be done about it except to avoid tunnels and/or get really bright bike lights.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,931
2,118
@microcord, I use a Cateye Omni 3 – TL-LD135-R rear light and simply thread the plastic strap through the polystyrene frame of the helmet as one would mount it to the seat post or seat stays. Very simple and reliable:



It uses twin AAA-size cells. I use rechargeable Eneloop NiMH for all my rear lights. About once a month (usually before a long ride) I swap the current set against freshly charged ones and pop the old ones into the charger.
 
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Musashi13

Maximum Pace
Aug 27, 2012
1,822
1,170
I have a huge problem with tunnels. Well not all tunnels but if they are a little too dark or narrow, I lose balance and feel as if the tunnel is closing in from behind. At times I've come to a complete stop. In a car it's not a problem. I wonder if it's a balance problem. If I do the close your eyes and stand on one leg test, I can do about 2 seconds!
+1
 
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