Sun, Nov 4 - Nichitsu autumn leaves

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,445
921
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#1
This coming Sunday Jose (Jayves) and I will be following on Pete's (Yamabushi's) trail from last weekend for some autumn leaves viewing around Nichitsu ghost town in Chichibu.

We'll be meeting on the east bank of the Tamagawahara bridge on the Tamagawa (多摩川原橋, R19 / Tsurukawa Highway) at 05:30 on Sunday, Nov 4.

From there we'll ride up the Tamagawa to Hamura and Oume, following Pete's suggested route over Yamabushi-toge to Chichibu.

In Chichibu we'll probably grab a bite to eat, then head west on Pete's Nichitsu loop up to the ghost town and back.

The pace will probably be one notch below Pete's rides as I am not a very strong climber, but we're hoping for some nice views in fine weather (if the forecast is to be believed).
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,445
921
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#11
The weather was ideal for this kind of trip: Very sunny and clear like a winter day. The colourful leaves were beautiful, we really couldn't have asked for more.

First some pictures:

Workers' dormitories:

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Public bath house:

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The tunnel at the top:

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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,445
921
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#16
I only had enough energy and time for the pictures last night, but here is a more detailed report:

I try to do a long ride (12 hours and more) at least once a month. This was one of the most beautiful rides of the year, but it was also one of the more challenging ones (maybe the 4th hardest), because of how mountainous the route was and because of how cold it was already.

Jose and I both wanted an early start and we agreed to meet at 05:30 at the Tamagawa bridge near Yanoguchi station. I got up at 04:00 (after less than 4 hours of sleep), planned to leave at 05:00, but ran 10 minutes late because I decided to get changed again to be better prepared for the cold. I wore Uniqlo corduroy pants and long johns instead of cycling shorts with extra set of tights on top. I wore up to three t-shirt layers (various Uniqlo) plus a wind breaker (Uniqlo), a scarf and ski gloves while descending from the tunnel.

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While climbing I stripped down to a short sleeve t-shirt while it was 9 C. At the higher altitudes it was around 3 C. The day before I got myself a Carradice Barley saddle bag to carry clothes, raisin bread and the obligatory bananas, which was just the right size for this kind of trip.

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After meeting up we cycled along the Tamagawa to Hanmura and then on to Oume. After a 20 minute stop at the station conbini, we headed into the mountains, climbing Yamabushi pass and descending into Chichibu via the Yamabushi-approved route.

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We had a nice 50 minute bakery lunch and coffee at a mall, then set off for the big autumn leaf viewing loop.

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The back roads were great, some of them almost totally deserted of cars. At other spots there were many parked cars and people walking around with tripods and fine SLRs to capture the splendid seasonal views.

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For the first time ever the mountains surrounding me were so high and steep that I lost my GPS reception for much of the area near Nichitsu (from the reservoir up to the tunnel), only locking in occasionally when we made brief stops. Being stationary probably made it a bit easier to pick up the satellites.

The trees became more colourful the higher we climbed. At the top most of them had already shed their leaves.

The climbs weren't as insanely steep as on Deej's temple loop, but steeper than Tomin no Mori, and did I already mention that it was cold?

Though we never stopped for very long, we stopped many times for pictures, as these were a main goal of the ride. Thank you for your patience, Jose!

We got back to Chichibu around 18:00 and just had enough time to pack the bikes and get some food before hopping on an express train back over the mountains. We were out there for 13 hours, which breaks down into 5:30 from Tokyo to Chichibu, just under 1 hour lunch, about 4 hours from Chichibu to the tunnel above Nichitsu, a short break getting changed before the descent and finally about 2 hours back to Chichibu (mostly downhill, but bits of climbing too).

Thank you, Jose, for great company on a great ride. Thank you, Pete, for a great route and inspiration!

Pete, here are pictures from other side of the tunnel:

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And Here is the trip on RideWithGPS