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The Flattest Ride in Kanto (Sat 7th)


Maximum Pace
Sep 1, 2007
Okay, maybe not as flat as a straight river ride, but pretty darn flat...

What: Gentle(?) hammer around Kasumigaura Lake, Ibaraki (145kms)
When: Sat 7th
Where: Sakura Windmill (see course map) at 9:30-9:45 AM, back about 4PM?


North from Sakura up the Inbanuma path, across the Tone then on to Tsuchiura (passing the world's largest Buddha on the way). From there around Kasumigaura Lake to Sawara, returning on the Tone River. More than 2/3 of the route on low-traffic bicycle paths with few gates. Excellent for long uninterrupted hammering and pacelining. Broad, flat scenery.

Note that the starting point is the windmill at Sakura, not the station. I'll be parking at the windmill if you want to stow bike bags etc, but you'll have to carry your stuff the 4km or so from the station.

Riding out you'd use the 296 and turn left at the 新臼井田 crossing.

Train options are JR Sakura (佐倉), Keisei Yukari-ga-oka (ユーカリが丘) or Keisei Sakura.

If JR, a good option might be the Airport Express Narita for Narita (JR快速エアポート成田・成田空港行), leaving Tokyo at 08:10 and Kinshicho at 08:18. Arrives in Sakura direct at 09:06, which should give you time to unpack and ride to the start point.

You will have to find the windmill on your own from the station, so please bring a map! Easiest way is to get on the 296 and turn at the 新臼井田 crossing. I'll post better directions if anyone needs them.

In so far:
Link fixed

Thanks for the heads-up, Lee. I'd copy-pasted the ellipsis in the URL. Should work now.
Change of route

As it looks like it'll just be the three of us, we've decided to change the ride into an exploration of Tsukuba. No map as we're not sure of the route yet, but it will probably be an extra 20km or so (160km+) and, of course, some climbing.

Pace will be fairly speedy in order to fit everything into daylight hours.

In case you want to be a late join, meeting place will be Sakura JR, south exit, 9:06 AM, roll-out 9:30 am at the latest.
flat ride, flat out

sat , bummer can't do it.

might catch you phil for a quick ride monday however if your around.

DT aka trucksan
David, yeah sorry, figured you couldn't make it. Might be up for Monday if I can get ahead of work Sunday. Will pm.

I dearly wish I could join, but a work/family combo have conspired to thwart my Saturday cycling ambitions. More early morning One-Kan hammering for me.

Have a great day, fellers -- the weather is looking fine!

Quick Report

Thomas, Sergey and I had decided to do an explore of the Mt. Tsukuba area, but when I arrived at Sakura only Thomas came down the steps of the station. Sergey had apparently been caught out by track construction and train scheduling changes out at Tachikawa, and though he made super-human efforts to reach Sakura, the train gods were determined to keep him away.

The end result was that it was just Thomas and I on for the ride. The delay meant that time would probably be too tight for exploring Tsukuba, so we opted to do the original lake route.

The weather was perfect, and the wind as kind as it can be in that area, so we made good time north to Tsuchiura. We passed the Inbanuma Lakes, crossed the Tone, stopped briefly to photograph the giant Buddha at Ushiku, then to Tsuchiura. Here we turned right to follow the lake path.

There was a persistent headwind on this stretch of the route, and it was a bit of a relief to break for a lunch of soba and beverages...

After turning the corner of the lake the wind shifted to the side, and we again made good progress...until that is, we ran into a friendly lab carrying a mouthful of plastic bottles who suddenly wandered across our path. We had to grab our brakes hard, and I skidded a looong way on the asphalt. I'd just about got the fishtailing bike under control when I heard a sudden whoosh and the flopflopflop of a flat tire.

Upon investigation, it turned out I had managed to burn a good 4cm gash in the tire, taking out the tube as well. After a bit of a search, Thomas produced a boot that he had stowed in the saddle bag, so we patched things up as best we could and carried on, my rear tire wobbling precariously and bouncing me up and down with every revolution.

We completed the last 10km of the lake, crossed over to Sawara on the Tone, and then finally enjoyed a decent tailwind. My rear tire flatted once more (on the thick, sharp edge of the boot), but using Thomas' spare tube (the last one we had), we managed to limp home, a little behind schedule but still finding time to enjoy the dusk on the mirror-flat water of Inbanuma.

Thomas > Many thanks for the great company, your patience, the tire boot and the tube! I'd still be walking home if not for you...

Sergey > Really sorry about the misadventures on the trains, I know what a haul it can be from doing the opposite direction. Hopefully see you on the west side next time.
Sergey, sorry you couldn't make it! While waiting for you we actually imagined you in a jacuzzi spoon-feeding a gorgeous lady with kaviar, phoning us every 30mins to tell us how much closer you were. :D

Phil, thanks for the glorious ride and the report. Your scalped tyre added a bit of drama, but even the wobbly patch couldn't slow you down. Out of training? No way!

As for the labrador: your reaction was first class. I already saw myself jumping over the bar like this.

Looking forward to the Tsukuba exploration!
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