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Rainbow Bridge...


Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
Last night, a few weeks ago, my friend Simon and I decided to go out on an all-night bender! We rode from Kanamachi, in Tokyo's north-east section, and decided to do a semi-nostalgic ride to Odaiba – where we'd first ridden to after I'd bought my original $150 MTB from Cost-Co.
Straight down Meiji-dori, and then after turning right onto Wangan-doro we found ourselves in Ariake; on the Odaiba man-made island, where we stopped for aahh…. refreshments! We both felt we were riding really well, with ave.speeds of 36km/h on some of the roads.

It was now about 2:30am, and with a few "refreshments" under our belts, I came up with the idea of crossing the "Rainbow-Bridge" at night while the traffic was light – From Odaiba to Shibaura-futo.
There has been talk amongst some of our members about doing certain "bridge" or "tunnel" rides late at night or early in the morning, when there is little traffic. But so far, none of us had attempted such a proposition.

As the instigator, I take full responsibility, and it took me about… ooohh, 15 minutes to convince Simon that, "It just has to be done mate!"… while he vehemently argued that, "we're gonna get busted dude!" Anyway we set off at about 3am to find the start of the road across the bridge. Then things went a little … iffy…


As we crossed through the first toll-gate barrier (at about 35km/h), we could hear the guy there shouting at us, but I was sure that if we just "keep to the left", all would be fine.
There is a long roll up from there, but we just kept pounding the pedals to give us as much time as possible – we were going up the bridge at over 20km/h, and we thought we had it all sorted….

About 300m from the top (middle) of the bridge is quite a wide steel-grate section that we assumed was only to prevent cracks in the bridge when it sways due to the wind – we have, all of us, ridden over many similar obstacles without incident.
This one however, is different! It seems that there are bicycle-specific tyre-spikes built into them. We both saw it coming up, and did our best to bunny-hop over it. But on an up-hill climb, lifting that rear tyre is not so easy.

Full Blow-outS (plural)!
Simon came past me and continued for another 30m before he too had to come to a stop.
We had both blown out our back tyres. We knew that only had a several-minute window of opportunity before the police came, so we settled into "quick-punc-fix-mode". About 5 minutes later, an emergency-response / maintenance truck turned up and started putting down flairs on the road to avert traffic, just as Simon & I were getting our spare tubes in. The police were only minutes away…

Both myself and Simon were a little bit worried about getting arrested big time in a foreign country (and me, just one week from my wedding), so we "discussed" how we might make it out intact. From the experiences we've all had – Thanks to Philip for his "insurance" write-up – and general knowledge gained from other crazy stuff that's happened, both Simon & I decided that we would have to "play the dumb, ignorant fool gaijin" if we were to make it out alive!
It is actually very difficult for me sometimes to pretend that I don't speak the language, and both Simon & I were very close to slipping a few times – Particularly in the Patrol-Car, with the driver whining about how "bicycles are illegal on highways…" and I had to pretend I had no idea what the guy was saying.

Needless to say, the cops did eventually turn up. Our bikes were put onto the service-truck, and the two of us had to ride in the back of the patrol-car to Hinode!
In that sense, we can both say that we did in fact make it to the other side of the bridge… without either of us commenting on what that loud-mouthed-prick with a gun in the driver's seat was complaining about.

All's well that ends well!

The police dropped us off in Hinode, and after taking our names & serial numbers, they let us go. Soon after that, the truck with our bikes showed up. We were just a stone's-throw from Shinbashi, so we stopped in at another convenience-store for another "refreshment". It was now about 4:30am.

We rode home our separate ways from there, and that was that!
T & S

BTW: Simon looked at his punctured tube afterwards, and found not one, but 2 identical slits on either side. They are some heavy duty spikes!
If I have any advice at all, when trying a similar ride, stop first! And carry your bike over those steel-grates.

Pic 1: Simon fixing his puncture 1/3 of the way across Rainbow bridge.
Pic 2: Simon with the nicer of the two officers (getting let go in Hinode).
I'll bet you're glad you were nabbed by "Peace Keeping Officers" not "Law Enforcement Officers", eh?! :cop:

Great stuff!
Ha! Fun read Travis. Glad you're still a free man for the wedding.

I think I've identified the problem, btw. You see, there were only two of you... What you needed was a full team of TCC domestiques who could cover your rear. Their jobs would be to distract the PKO squads, hand over spare wheels when needed, and propel you and Simon up the road to victory. As it was, you were like Cadel Evans vs CSC. The will was there, but without the support...
Rainbow Bridge extra

Simon here!
Sometimes, ye get busted..... As my long-time riding mate and all around Aussie maniac said, we did indeed try to blast over Rainbow Bridge late one night, not long ago.... and found ourselves in the back of a patrol car, having just managed to repair blowouts inflicted by a clever piece of machinery on the road. I'd just like to add..... that, I was in a very similar patrol car only three days earlier, having riden about 100km overnight, strayiing willy-nilly onto an expressway as the sun climbed the sky...... don't do that.
Simon, Travis, excellent!

I have always been dreaming of crossing the bridge once. I believe however you should rather take the expressway beneath the toll road. Next time... :D

Anyhow, never do that wearing your TCC jerseys... :warau:
Highway would be the last place to cope your speed with cars, guys.
Anyway, let's have fun with bike.

Wonderful idea, fantastic story. I only can dream about having the courage to do something like this. I believe that what makes living in Japan so wonderful: By being a foreigner who is naturally expected not to understand Japanese, one is not fully subjected to the Japanese law. And after that one can even write about playing the stupid foreigner card on a public website.

As a civil engineer I just would like to add that the purpose of the so called "extension joints" which punctured your back tires, is not to prevent "cracks in the bridge when it sways due to the wind" but to allow for extension of this very large piece of steel due to extension and contraction from changes in temperature. The displacements because of wind forces are rather small. This is of course, if the design of the bridge is properly down. Sometimes it doesn't work out and then engineering students all over the world can see an interesting movie of the Tacoma bridge during their otherwise boring lectures.
Man, they seem to have been prepared for bikes trying to do that! Its good to know!

Ponyman... the scrapes keep coming....

very interesting read!

great story

That was a great story. Made for a riveting read!

How was the traffic actually on the bridge? Any close passes by cars?

I tried once to cross the Rainbow Bridge on my bike from the Hinode side (Shinagawa side) and didn't even come close. However, I did walk over it once, which is something I'd recommend doing as it's a pretty unique experience.

Simon, Travis, excellent!

I have always been dreaming of crossing the bridge once. I believe however you should rather take the expressway beneath the toll road. Next time... :D

Anyhow, never do that wearing your TCC jerseys... :warau:
Your dream can now come true.

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