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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,216
2,872
Just saw this today. Not sure if it is in place yet.
It seems to be in place, the policy is live on their website. Sounds like they won't apply the 62 linear inch rule to it then, only the per bag weight limit and bag count.
 

kmartin

Speeding Up
Sep 21, 2014
41
19
I moved back to the UK two years ago or so but love checking out this site to stir my memories of the awesome cycling experiences I had in Japan. For those that worry about the inattentive Mama Chari or taxi driver this is what we have to deal with when cycling near London.
Richmond Park is a very popular 10km cycling loop. Not something you need to worry about doing Meiji Jingu loops.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
3,731
1,947

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
1,794
1,596
Lucky me and my German friends. A buddy found a shop near my hotel that rents gravel bikes and hardtails for 50eu a day. Not sure i will get much riding in during the week, so it will be cheaper and less hassle!!!
For the record, that’s what I did on my last trip to Chile: I just chartered a bike guide with a bike. That was definitely the right choice for me, I ended up with a way nicer mountain bike (a Pivot with top-shelf components) and no worries. Since I flew via the US, I would have had to “tatemae check in” my luggage again. (I’m not sure why, but when I fly to Chile via the US, at Atlanta or LAX I need to pick up my luggage and then put it on another conveyor belt a few meters further, ugh.)
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,216
2,872
For the record, that’s what I did on my last trip to Chile: I just chartered a bike guide with a bike. That was definitely the right choice for me, I ended up with a way nicer mountain bike (a Pivot with top-shelf components) and no worries. Since I flew via the US, I would have had to “tatemae check in” my luggage again. (I’m not sure why, but when I fly to Chile via the US, at Atlanta or LAX I need to pick up my luggage and then put it on another conveyor belt a few meters further, ugh.)
In the US you always need to pick up your luggage at the first port of entry and then drop it off again if you have a connecting flight, regardless of whether this is a domestic or an international connection. I've flown Japan - Houston - Buenos Aires (without a bicycle), same thing. It's not just a formality, it's a window to arrest someone for breaking a law.

I've had guided bike tours in cities including Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Singapore and Vancouver/BC. They're great fun, especially with the right guide.

Though my other bike is a folding bike, I have only taken it outside of Japan once (to Germany, packed in a cardboard box) and that was great fun. On top of that I did a one week tour of Italy and Switzerland together with my son on two of his bikes. I did not have to pay extra in either case due to airline policies and frequent flyer status. While the Bike Friday was fine on the ANA/LH codeshare flight, the Araya had one of its wheels tacoed by Italian or Qatari baggage handlers, which is why that Araya now has a 650B dynamo front wheel :) (Thanks, GS Astuto!)

Most of the times that I rode bikes abroad, they were either one day rentals or bikes borrowed from friends or family, or (in Barbados) a local guide and amateur racer who does great tours around the island. It simplifies planning a great deal and, depending on airlines baggage charges, could also work out cheaper.
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
3,037
4,541
I like to ride early - this is my biggest regret of not bringing the bike. :(
My car is parked outside the hotel. There is a paved bike trail less than 10m from my back bumper. UGH!
I would have ridden this morning If I had my bike. However not all is lost!
I saw the Outdoor Rec on Ramstein has MTBs for rent as well! So there is hope!
Reality is that pre work rides are my best bet for a ride. No shop is open that early - so probably pre work runs followed by a weekend ride or two. But I am also Keen to hop in the car and explore further distances. I am a bit conflicted.

For those wondering about US military bases... The Air Force is the cream of the crop for amenities. Ramstein makes Yokosuka look like a complete Ghetto. To be fair, it makes Yokota look pretty bad too. This place has a lot of $$$ invested in it. I will be at Sembach tomorrow, so I will see how that base is situated as well.
 

OreoCookie

Maximum Pace
Dec 2, 2017
1,794
1,596
In the US you always need to pick up your luggage at the first port of entry and then drop it off again if you have a connecting flight, regardless of whether this is a domestic or an international connection. I've flown Japan - Houston - Buenos Aires (without a bicycle), same thing. It's not just a formality, it's a window to arrest someone for breaking a law.
I figured this is something lawyers came up with. I also often have to leave the security area (the part of the airport that is only accessible after a security check with a valid ticket), change terminal and then enter again. In most other countries, I don't need to do if this is a layover stop for an international connection.

When arriving from abroad in Japan, unfortunately, I even need to claim my bags and check the bags back in. Not exactly my favorite pastime after >15, >30 hours of travel time.
I've had guided bike tours in cities including Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Singapore and Vancouver/BC. They're great fun, especially with the right guide.
I can recommend Veloguide. They have a valet service and the Chilean guide they found was absolutely top notch. He literally went to pick me up from the heart of the protests during a state of emergency. They are pricey, though, but I got my money's worth.
Though my other bike is a folding bike, I have only taken it outside of Japan once (to Germany, packed in a cardboard box) and that was great fun.
I used cardboard bike boxes on all my moves. The worst that happened was that customs ripped a hole in it, not knowing that I had surgically put two bike boxes together to give me slightly more space and a ton more protection. I was lucky the towels I put in plugged the hole (think tire sealant). The big downside is that these are supremely unwieldy. My wife mumbled something about me not bringing a bike with me on my next move. So now I am the proud owner of a bike box with wheels.
Most of the times that I rode bikes abroad, they were either one day rentals or bikes borrowed from friends or family, or (in Barbados) a local guide and amateur racer who does great tours around the island. It simplifies planning a great deal and, depending on airlines baggage charges, could also work out cheaper.
Especially if you just want to spend a day on the bike and/or want to go to a remote location that you have never been to, a bike guide is really great.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
3,059
1,479
Out this morning, windy. Light rain just started and wx says rain tomorrow and thursday.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,216
2,872
I used cardboard bike boxes on all my moves. (...) The big downside is that these are supremely unwieldy. My wife mumbled something about me not bringing a bike with me on my next move. So now I am the proud owner of a bike box with wheels.
For the June 2018 trip I bought a cheap foldable luggage trolley with bungee cords for 2,500 yen to help move the cardboard box to and from the airport at both ends. I packed that into my suitcase before checking in the box.

The cardboard box was a full size bike box scrounged off a local Cycle Base Asahi. I cut it down in size a bit as the folding bike didn't need all that much space. I don't remember if I had to get it under 62 linear inches or not.
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
3,037
4,541
I brought trail shoes and road shoes - just like bikes, I have a pair for everything.
I threw on the road shoes thinking that would be the plan. Just run down the paved path and look around a bit.
It seems I am just as back about road running as I am at road riding....
I saw a jeep road and ran past it about 200m, but then had to turn around and go into the woods a bit.
Then I saw a trail off the jeep road....

So - 7km later I finish with a 5km trail run in the middle of a 7km run.

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Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,426
3,336
After Thursday's ride [report here], on Friday we continued (without a tiling agenda) toward the Japan Sea coast, mostly following the first day of a coast-to-coast group ride I'd done in 2007, but in reverse. The process of snagging the old route, reversing it, and syncing it to Garmin was fiddly but almost worked in the mobile Stravr app. Some changes were automagically introduced - most notably a route along the east of the river when passing Nagano... and thus by happy chance a few new tiles.

We rode 67 km following Chikumagawa downstream, crossing it six times (two not strictly necessary but there was a cool bridge); 10 km 'inland' around Nakano to get lunch; a last river crossing; a 5 km / 260 m climb from Iiyama; and finally a 40 km downhill and runout through Myōkō to the coast at Naoetsu. Total 133 km.

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The Chikumagawa bike path was longer than I remembered. Maybe it's been extended? But it's been several years and I was going in the other direction. Anyway it was fun.

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Stunning countryside and mountain scenery all day.

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Coming down the hill: a 40 km descent into Niigata Prefecture and all the way to the beach.

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At the Italian restaurant, we definitely overcompensated for calories consumed while riding!

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Where shall we go next?
 
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Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,426
3,336
Where shall we go next?
Serious question. We had no fixed plan for Saturday. From Naoetsu/Jōetsu the distance along the coast is roughly equal NE to Niigata or SW to Toyama. Either city would be a good place to get the Shinkansen back towards Kantō. The wind forecast made the decision easy for us; we went to the beach and turned left, not knowing what to expect at all except a tailwind.

It was WONDERFUL

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Just a few minutes after we hit the road, a coastal cycle path advertised itself: 久比岐自転車道 is apparently mostly the route of the former JR Hokuriku line. This took us 32 km, all the way to Itoigawa; sometimes on the sea wall, sometimes on cliff sides and through brick tunnels, sometimes through villages. We could see the outline of the Noto peninsula stretching across the horizon all day.

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The next 40 km or so were on the coast road with cars and a few trucks, but the drivers were courteous and considerate. Along this section, the mountains basically drop straight into the sea, so I guess building and maintaining a special bike path in addition to the coast road would be prohibitively expensive.

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Then as soon as the mountains receded a little for the Kurobe plain, another cycling route popped up. Follow the blue lines all the way to Toyama!

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And so, for the third day in a row, we finished our ride around sunset and ate too much ;-)

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I'd definitely recommend this section of the Japan Sea coast - Naoetsu to Toyama - to anyone who fancies a change of scenery. It was a fantastic day on the bike.
 
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jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
3,059
1,479
It's good to hear that last section where the mtns come down is so do-able. Never done it, always wondered.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,426
3,336
that last section where the mtns come down is so do-able
Definitely worth the trip if you want to ride somewhere new!

I now find that the other official long cycle route in Toyama-ken runs nearly 60 km from downtown Toyama to the outskirts of Takaoka, up the Shōgawa for a while, and then follows an old railway route to Oyabe. Had I known about that, we might have tackled it on Sunday morning before coming back.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
3,059
1,479
Interesting that one end of that is 石動駅. I knew that name from someone in my school office (石動さん), then much later noticed it on a map. I asked, and she was from that area. I only know the reading because of that--いするぎ--foreigners from outside of hokuriku probably wouldn't know.
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
3,037
4,541
Opted for a low end rental and just wandered a bit.

For those wondering - some woods, so farms, some villages. And I managed to stay on the road. Only a slight bit of gravel was involved.

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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,216
2,872
This weight limit sign for bridges with special mention of tanks brought back memories of growing up in a country on the front line of the cold war. Yepp, these tank signs are everywhere.

I also remember the noise of low flying fighter jets drowning out the teacher's voice in class or the periodic ABC alarm siren tests (always held on a Tuesday at 10:00 so that by checking the time you could reassure yourself that, no, nuclear war probably had not started yet). I grew up with three US bases in a 20 km radius from my village, one of them a nuclear warhead depot so we would have been a prime target for Soviet missiles.

Enjoy the bike! Looks like the weather is pretty decent. I love the autumn colours!
 
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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,216
2,872
s800.jpg

On Saturday I rode my first randonneuring event in 6 months (229 km with 2,794 m of elevation gain, on Strava).

The past two years have not been good for randonneuring, as for so much else. Many brevets were postponed or cancelled due to the state of emergency or the "thorough prevention measures" in place in some prefectures.

I rode my first brevet in 2012, followed by 3-6 rides a year from 2013-2019. Last year I did a single ride, plus a flèche (24h long distance ride) postponed from spring to autumn.

This spring I rode another flèche, but no other events until now, only my personal at least once-a-month Century rides. So I was a little weary how it would turn out, since I wasn't really used to riding against the clock. If I get home an hour later, so what? Personally, I prefer to ride at my own pace and stop for pictures whenever I like. However, doing a fast-paced ride every now and then jazzes it up a bit. I discover where my limits are and how I deal with that.

With that in mind, when I got the chance to join the event whose official signup had already closed (because many of the sign-ups weren't going to ride after all), I jumped at it without looking too much at the details of the ride such as the course map or its elevation chart.

The course had 2,600 m of elevation gain, which is quite high for a 200 km brevet (about the same as the AJ NishiTokyo 300 km event). When I chart my own courses, I don't mind mountains in the middle but I usually avoid elevation gain as much as possible on the way out and also back, even if it means busier roads. Mr D. who organized the event clearly prioritizes low traffic over fewer climbs.

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The night before I cycled to Sagamihara and stayed at a ToyokoInn. At checkin (wearing my randonneuring gear with reflective vest) I was asked if I had a bicycle. When I confirmed, they suggested I take it to my room which I did.

As a preventive measure the 6:00 start had been moved to staggered starts of smaller groups 10 minutes apart, with each group only picking up their brevet cards 10 minutes before. A little after the 6:50 start time I set off, with about a dozen cyclists behind me. Even on hills people stayed behind and didn't pass me. Maybe it's easier to follow someone who follows a Wahoo Elemnt ;)

It had been drizzling when I left the hotel and it continued. I had brought a rain jacket but no rain pants or booties and chose not to use the rain jacket for now. The drizzle did not get stronger and half an hour into the ride it ceased :)

By the time we got near Uenohara I was starting to feel my legs and knew I had to eat something, so I pulled into a conbini and let others move ahead. I was worried because I felt somewhat exhausted not even one quarter into the ride. If I had gone too fast early on, it might take me some time to recover while going more slowly and I might lose a lot of time.

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The course explored Kyu Koshu kaido (Old Koshu kaido road, the historic precursor of Rt20), a hilly route north of Chuo expressway in Yamanashi. It passed above the Dangozaka service area and offered an impressive view of the mountain valley around Uenohara. Dark clouds everywhere but no rain. Here I climbed on my own but met a few of the others who were also riding alone.

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I did the steep descent with one other cyclist behind me. On the way to Tsuru I met others randonneurs and we climbed towards Kawaguchiko together. As we passed an udon shop, they decided to take a break there for a meal and I continued.

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The sky was cloudy at Kawaguchiko, particularly to the west, so I was worried I might get rained on a Saiko but that never happened. At the far side I stopped at a quiz point to get information needed to prove passage. While circling the lake I did calculations on what average speed was needed to make the one timed checkpoint, a 7/11 in Tsuru in time and was not reassured. I was behind the minimum required average and even with the descent from Kawaguchiko down to Tsuru I didn't think I had a lot of time spare.

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The next untimed quiz point was at Asuki Lake, a lotus pond. After that came the descent to Tsuru mostly on minor roads to avoid Rt139. That went pretty well, even if it was a bit slower than Rt139. I was disheartened when the road climbed again as I was getting close to Tsuru. I arrived at the conbini 140 km from the start with only 10 minutes spare.

Mr D. was there by car. He had done a test ride two weeks earlier and I had met staff member Mrs N. on that same ride when I rode to Saruhashi via Rt35. From here it was 60 km back to Machida via Rt35 and other minor roads. I kept my stop at the control short and started the climb towards Hinazuru pass near the Maglev Shinkansen track at Akiyama.

The other cyclists whom I had encountered again and again caught up with me on the climb and we carried on a conversation as we rode. The Chuo shinkansen track came into view before I expected it. The descent on the other side was fun: Strava says I set a personal record there.

Then came a golf course climb and another climb and another... There was much more climbing in the last part than I had expected. I was leading our group with my GPS in the darkness.

After the Akiyama descent the numbers were starting to look good. We were safely ahead of the 15 km/h average and might even break the 13 hours, i.e. with more than half an hour spare.

There was more traffic in Sagamihara and the roads were wet from earlier local rain that we had evaded all day, except in the morning. I didn't push very hard, just trying to keep a reasonable pace and keep everyone safe until the goal.

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We all felt great when we pulled into the 7/11 that served as the goal, where staff member Mrs N. welcomed us. Even after waiting in a queue to pay for my items to receive a receipt with date and time, I ended up with 12:59 as the total time taken.

We discussed the day's experiences with each other and waited with Mrs N. for another participant who was still supposed to be on the road but eventually we found out that he had abandoned the ride.

I rode the last 30 km back to Tokyo (including grocery shopping near the house). Today I am feeling quite good, better than after my last two long rides, despite the faster pace. I think eating and drinking more helped a lot, as did the moderate temperatures (18-22 C for the most part).

This ride will have been an excellent preparation for BRM1023 on the coming Saturday in west Izu where I will see many of the participants again. Now all I want is for next Saturday to stay dry!
 
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