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Ride Tokyo cycling July 2023


May 22, 2023
Hi all,

I'll be in Tokyo for most of July with work, staying near Tokyo central station. I'm a keen cyclist and am currently training for an Ironman in August so I am aiming to get plenty of training in whilst in the city. Given my lack of cyclist colleagues and Japanese language skills I believe the kind people of this forum will be my best option... yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

- are there any go-to routes in the city for pre-work rides? In London I often cycle in Richmond park or regents park which are very popular pre-work, looking for something similar i.e. limited traffic lights and cars
- any good group rides I could look to join either before/after work? I saw this thread and could be keen to get involved although it seemed to have died down since 2020 https://tokyocycle.com/threads/tuesday-morning-tama-training-thread.6329/


- Any races, group rides or road cycling events taking place within a few hours of Tokyo during July I should check out?

If weekday riding is limited I will do most workouts in a gym and try to rent bikes for long rides at the weekends. Livelo and Gs Astuto both seem like decent rental options but please let me know if you recommend any others for racing-oriented roadbikes. If weekday options are great I'll look at bringing my bike out with me, although this seems less likely.

- any good 50m swimming pools? For running I'll probably do laps of the Imperial Palace gardens and/or Oda Field track in Yoyogi park, but appreciate any other suggestions

You probably already have their info, but Triathlon in Tokyo (TiT) seem like the best people to contact for info on regular training meetups in central Tokyo. https://www.triathlonintokyo.org/
There is also some overlap between TiT and a foreign-oriented running group called Namban Rengo: https://namban.org/

For pre-work riding, I hear a lot of people ride around the Imperial Palace. I live too far away to have any first-hand info on it though, so best to ask TiT members for that.

There are a few 50-m pools in central Tokyo too, though TiT should have the best info on that as well.
I can't answer your questions. However:

The temperatures will be in the low or mid thirties, and the humidity will be high. Coming from (usually) cool Britannia, you might be wise to acclimatize yourself.

Bring a bike. Not your superduper triathlon bike but instead your "winter bike" (shorn of mudguards) if this is a bit ratty; and if it isn't a bit ratty then an unfashionable and unloved (by the fad-following masses) bike. Why? Because renting a decent bike is going to be expensive or fiddly or both. If you instead have a bike with you all the time you can go for a ride at any time, on a mere whim. (If your superduper bike were hurt in transit, cue for rage, despair, or both.)

When you arrive in Tokyo, buy a bag for transporting the bike in a train. Then you'll be able to get to the start of, and return from the end of, interesting rides. Yes, you could ride out and ride back, but doing so would be likely to add 40 to 60 km (each way) of urban cycling that will be dull, irritating, or both. Better to shorten the ride and use your time+effort more effectively/enjoyably.
Thanks GrantT and Microcord for the replies. I haven't come across TiT but will definitely check it out. I came across Namban Rengo and was hoping to join some evening sessions. Good to know they're affiliated with other swimmers/cyclists too - should be helpful for tips.

Yep, I'm bracing myself for the temperature/humidity not least having to wear a suit during the day. I'm sure it'll take me some time to get used to, but also good to get some hot weather training in. Good advice about bringing my bike, I feel you might be right - thus far rental looks to be well over $100 USD per day for a decent bike so over the month it will really add up, surely better to bring my road bike out.

Solid advice about getting the train - here in London I'm happy to save on the trains and deal with trafic lights for half an hour but I'd much rather pay for more time in the mountains/countryside whilst in Japan. Do the rinko bags fit in a jersey pocket or is there some smarter way to store them whilst riding?

Anybody here got experience cycling round the imperial palace in the mornings? Mainly interested in how stop/start it is, i.e. traffic lights, cars, pedestrians. Anywhere within 30 mins of central Tokyo where you can get relatively uninterrupted riding?
Palace cycling is only on Sundays. It's a short route, only 3k. Racing or excessive speed discouraged.
It seems there are no sessions in July unfortunately, thanks for sharing though. Can I understand that these sunday events are car-free cycle sessions? Is it possible to cycle round on normal mornings with cars? In Regent's park in London for instance there are no cars before 7am but even with the cars it's relatively nice to do 5-6k laps
Yeah probably because it's too hot and humid in JulyAug. It really saps the energy. The Palace periphery is mainly a running course and is set up with locker and shower stations. Cycling could be possible but with traffic and speed limits enforced by the large police presence.
Some of the most compact bike bags can be stuffed into a jersey pocket. (These tend to be fragile or fiddly to use or expensive.) But most are too big. This time of the year, you can stuff it into one of your bottle cages; however, in July you'd be wise to use both cages for bottles.

Just bring a medium-to-large saddle-bag with you. This will handily accommodate bike bag, spare inner tube, multitool, tyre levers, showerproof jacket, lock, junk food, and more. Your bike will not look cool, but your lower back will be more comfortable.
Yogi is talking about something entirely different.
This is the segment on Strava for the cycling loop around the Imperial Palace: https://www.strava.com/segments/7011915
Looking at some of the activities for that segment this year shows people riding there regularly on weekday mornings, both Japanese and English-speaking riders. Not sure what the traffice light situation is around there, but they seem to be able to keep a fairly decent average pace.
The only real option for uninterrupted riding within 30 minutes of central Tokyo is the Ara River. There is a wide mixed use path along it for a fair distance.
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