Planning for a longer trip, alot of questions

kvsieb

Cruising
Dec 31, 2008
5
0
11
Germany
#1
Hi,

after almost two years of absence, I will finally be able to return to Japan at the beginning of March for another year.

For my first tree weeks (from the 7th to the beginning of April) I want to ride from Tokyo to Fukuoka or Kagoshima, depending on how fast I will be. This should be around 2000 Km depending on the route I take. Now this is actually my first time to undertake such a long ride and I'm in the midst of planning out everything as meticulously as possible. However there are still some points I am not quite sure about.

This is my setup right now:
I am going to take my bike with me to Japan by plane (It's this one with a slightly different setup (mud covers, nexus gears etc.) http://www.bergamont.de/cms/de/02__bikes/speed_bikes/detail/beluga-speed)
I will have two Ortlieb pannier bags on the back, a small frontbag with a mapholder and a small backpack with an integrated hydrationpack.

In addition to this I now have several other things to consider: Am I going to take a tent and a sleeping bag with me?

Do I need dedicated winter bikingshoes or is a summershoe with combined neopren overshoe and thermo inlay sufficient? I was checking the annual mean temperature of Tokyo and some other places I plan to visit and it didn't seem to drop below 5°C very often. Especially since I will be moving south and west, I expect the temperatures to rise pretty quickly to maybe even 20 degrees during daytime. Under these conditions wintershoes could be too hot I think. It would on the other hand suck to freeze my toes off during the first (possibly) cold week of riding. Also which gloves would be good under these conditions, as I tend to have low blood pressure and thus cold hands and feet during winter.

For my upper wear, I just ordered some merino clothing from http://www.groundeffect.co.nz/ which is an amazingly cheap producer of bike gear from NZ, highly recommended.

Another thing thats really bothering me is my unability to plan my route decently since good maps of Japan aren't available here. Now I could do all this with google maps but unfortunately it doesn't have any usable topographic information. So if I plan for example 100 Km for one day, I still don't know whether there are going to be alot of climbs on that particular route.

Now I found this website: http://www.japancycling.org/v2/cguide/part1/ which features quite a nice route. I was orgininally planning to move south of the Fujisan along the coastline, since it's probably less mountaineous than crossing directly through nikko and the japanese alps. However I wanted it to be a scenic ride and there isn't alot of nature on the route through shizuoka I guess.

Are there any other things I should consider?

Communication won't be a problem by the way.

Phew, thats it for now. Thanks for any advice. :bike:

Vincent
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,497
628
133
Kanazawa
#2
...
Now I found this website: http://www.japancycling.org/v2/cguide/part1/ which features quite a nice route. I was orgininally planning to move south of the Fujisan along the coastline, since it's probably less mountaineous than crossing directly through nikko and the japanese alps. ...
Vincent: Heading into the alps (Nagano-Shirakawago) in March might not be the best plan...(snow!). So I'd second your idea to stay south.

I don't know if you noticed, but that other site also has a forum. So besides whatever advice you may get here, there may be some responses there from riders who have done that particular route, parts of it, or who have tried alternates along the way (e.g., instead of looping north out of Tokyo).

And tho it may be out of date, there's also a hospitality list there.

Finally, you don't say what will happen after you get to Kyushu--a ferry or a train ride back to Tokyo? If so, then have you considered reversing your plan? Take a ferry to Kyushu first, and ride from there back to Tokyo. Earlier March would then be in the warmer part of the country, and you'd presumably be back in Tokyo at the end of the month.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#3
Three quick answers

Shoes: Regular shoes + covers will do you fine, I'd say.

Elevation: If you plot a route using MapMyRide.com or similar, there is an option to view the elevation profile of the route.

Mountains Routes: Can be very snowy well into April, especially on the Japan Sea side of the country.
 

kvsieb

Cruising
Dec 31, 2008
5
0
11
Germany
#4
Thanks for the input guys. Yes, I was actually planning to put my bike in a rinko and take the next shinkansen back to Tokyo finishing the track. Doing it the other way around sounds very reasonable as well. Wunderground.com doesn't give me a huge difference between Tokyo, Kagoshima and Fukuoka for the wheather in March though.

Since it seems to take a pretty long time, I didn't consider a ferry. I wouldn't have to disassemble my bike in that case though, right? The prices don't seem to justify the amount of time it sucks up. Two days to go to Shikoku for a hefty 9000 Yen. I think the Shinkansen to Fukuoka is about 13.000 Yen.