Newbie in Sumida

Omykiss

Warming-Up
Aug 13, 2012
4
0
1
Sumida
#1
Hey TCC! My name is Richard and I am studying here in Tokyo for at least three years and maybe more if I do my grad school here. I am fairly new in bicycling, started in 2011, doing some trail riding. I ended up not packing my bike with me, so currently bikeless until the end of the month, when I can afford it.

After searching around some forums and old threads, I have come to the conclusion that I will be transitioning onto a road bike. Not sure as to what this entails other than road bikes are pricey! Are there any ways to get around from spending more than 100000 on a decent setup? And does anybody leave their bikes at the train stations? Is thievery prevalent in Tokyo on bikes? Sorry for all the questions!
 

j-sworks

Maximum Pace
Feb 5, 2012
1,199
48
68
Tokyo
#2
Welcome.

Firstly, the bike is only part of the initial cost, secondly you will need to define "decent". For some people they want to start on a top of the line bike, but I personally started the time honored way, on a bottom of the barrel, entry level, cheap set up.

With all my gear and bike the total was $1500 Canadian, and that was actually new bike. You can work your way to fancy stuff if you really like the sport, at least that's the way I did it. And my buddies told me I had to pay my dues hauling a 22 pound bike before going to carbon.

Just my two yen.
 
Apr 3, 2012
401
98
48
Tama Center <-> Otemachi
#3
Welcome to TCC.

Giant makes some very affordable entry level bicycles. Example, the one I'm riding is a Giant Pace that retails for about ¥70,000. Comes with platform pedals and is ready to go. As you find budget, start upgrading. Pedals, wear, rinko bags, luggage, etc. I figure as my fitness level up, I could reward myself with more efficient parts.

Why leave the bicycle at the station? Ride it all the way to your destination. Otherwise, get a utility bicycle to use in short commutes. It will better survive the jostling that happens.

A nice bicycle will attract thieves, even in Japan. You'll want to review lock up strategy if you get something nice.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,429
874
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#5
I think the vast majority of bikes stolen in Japan are mamachari (basic shopping bikes), as people are too lazy to walk back from the station and grab somebody else's bike. When police officers do spot checks on bike registrations, they almost always check male mamachari riders, at least in my experience. Road bikes do get stolen too, unfortunately and often get sold for parts. I do not worry about theft a great deal, but I use a decent lock which I always keep on the bike.

I second JackTheCommuter's advice about not riding to the station. If you're going to ride at all, ride to your destination. I live 12 minutes from the nearest train station. On rides of 5 km or less the bike wins hands down and even up to an hour or less I could usually get to the same destination on foot and by train at most 10 minutes quicker than by bicycle.

For example, today I rode 15 km from Setagaya in the west to Shimbashi in the east of Tokyo. It took me 50 minutes by bike. A quick check on Google maps quotes between 44-49 minutes by train for the same destination from my house. Even if I add in the time for changing out of a sweaty shirt, that's not bad at all.

My son rides 19 km one way to school every day and insists the train would be no quicker (and a lot less fun). He gets 1,000 km of exercise a month in the same time he would spend sitting on trains, while saving about 13,000 yen a month in commuter tickets.
 

Omykiss

Warming-Up
Aug 13, 2012
4
0
1
Sumida
#6
Wow, thanks for all your informational responses and welcomes! I guess I didn't mean decent, being that it is going to be my first road bike, I'm trying to stay under $1000 USD. I am interested in commuting to and from my area to my school, just not sure if i am totally comfortable with riding a bike on these small roads and all this traffic yet, especially since I have never been a commuter before, just strictly trail riding.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,429
874
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#7
The really small roads I find much easier to travel by bike than by car, where they would make me feel claustrophobic. However you need to keep your speed down wherever there are lots of pedestrians or shopping bikes.

There are plenty of bigger, multi-lane roads and you'll probably stick to them crossing Tokyo if you want to go fast, but you'll need to get used to them. There's definitely a learning curve. It took me a while to get used to properly watching the road behind me to check for cars and motorbikes coming up from behind when changing lanes or avoiding parked vehicles. In some ways the faster one goes on those big roads the easier it gets as the speed differential with motor vehicles decreases.
 

Omykiss

Warming-Up
Aug 13, 2012
4
0
1
Sumida
#8
Thanks for the info Joe. I'll have to do a bit of research on the best path of travel, but I think you've talked me into saving a bunch on a commuter pass for sure. Now to find out if my school has an adequate way to protect my bike from thievery.
 

j-sworks

Maximum Pace
Feb 5, 2012
1,199
48
68
Tokyo
#9
Wow, thanks for all your informational responses and welcomes! I guess I didn't mean decent, being that it is going to be my first road bike, I'm trying to stay under $1000 USD. I am interested in commuting to and from my area to my school, just not sure if i am totally comfortable with riding a bike on these small roads and all this traffic yet, especially since I have never been a commuter before, just strictly trail riding.
For under a thousand US I'd say your best bet is a used bike on Craigslist or yahoo auctions, or here. You could, as suggested, find a new bike to fit your budget but leaving yourself very little after taxes.

I say go used and ask questions about the bike to the TCC guru's ;) I have seen some great deals out there, and some real rip off's.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#10
Another option for used bikes is to check out the Cycly chain; there's a big store in Shinjuku with a good stock of built bicycles...

http://www.cycly.co.jp/shop/index.asp

Note that they may be surprisingly non-cheap in many cases, but they'll have a decent selection that you can browse. This is assuming you're close to average Japanese height, btw; if you ride a 58cm or bigger, forget used (except maybe the classifieds right here).

Whereabouts in Sumida are you, by the way? Lived in Ryogoku for a few years, it's an under-appreciated part of Tokyo...
 

Omykiss

Warming-Up
Aug 13, 2012
4
0
1
Sumida
#11
I live in Higashisumida. Which is nice because I do live about a block away from the Arakawa River bicycle road (whatever it's called).Pretty much on the borderline of Edogawa. I'll start keeping an eye out on the used bikes!