Tsukuba Explore

Phil

Maximum Pace
#1
Thomas, Sergey and I are planning a Mt. Tsukuba foray for this Saturday (Nov 21). We'll be exploring new routes/roads north and west of Tsuchiura and would love more company...

http://www.mapmyride.com/route/jp/Chiba/950125843310957974

Starting at Sakura, we'll head directly north to Tsuchiura, then onto the cycling road to Tsukuba and up and over one shoulder of the hill. Return via the same route.

Note starting point will be at the Futago Park, right off Rte 65. I'll have the car there if you want to stow bike bags etc. Roll-out from the park by 9:45 am.

Mapped route is 145km, but the loop from Tsuchiura to Tsukuba is just a rough guess, and with the ride to and from the station total kms will likely be north of 160km.

Fairly brisk pace to fit it all into daylight.

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.

You could also do the first 2/3 of the loop, then return directly to Tokyo from Tsuchiura by train (or bike).
 

Nadrew

Cruising
Jul 30, 2009
32
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okubo
www.kokoloo.net
#4
Wondering if I can keep up?

Hey Phil,

I want to tag along, but never did that distance and never at the speed you guys go. Do you mind if I start out with you and just go as far as I can? I don't want to be a drag and ruin your guys good time. But, I really do want to start going on these rides!

So, if that's cool, I'm down.

Andy
 
Jan 14, 2007
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japanichiban.com
#5
Er, yeah. :eek: This is a future event... Date fixed.
Time is flying... I am getting confused with the dates too lately.

I have to work that day unfortunately...and Tsukuba will start getting too cold and somteims icy up top soon.

There is a ramen shop at the top hill climb near the chairlift. Maybe a good spot for you guys to have some food before you head back. I've been planning to ride fr0m home to the ramenya and then come home for months now.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#6
Andy > It would be great to have you along, hope to see you there! Not race pace by any means, and most of the route is pretty flat (until we get to Tsukuba). We'll be passing Tsuchiura station twice if anyone wants to bail out or only has time for a half-ride.

Pete > Sorry you can't make it, I was hoping you'd be able to ride out and meet us around the lake at least. Thanks for the ramen info though; sounds perfect for lunch.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#7
Meeting place

Guys, are you all okay on finding the park?

If riding from JR Sakura, use the north exit. Turn right at the lights at the main road, then left onto the 65. Go up and over the hill through the old town. Turn left at the lights at the bottom of the hill (Rt 296) then right opposite the museum at the next lights to get back onto 65.

About 3 kms along the 65 you'll descend into a broad rice paddy plain, with the lake to your left. Park is basically a small parking lot with benches on the left side of the road by the lake. Boasts a small conical hill with gazebo on top and statues of elephants, for some reason...
 

thomas

The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
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#8
Thanks for the directions, Phil. I hope that this time Sergey and I will be on the same train. Should be child's play to find the park. :)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Dec 23, 2008
66
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tokyo
#11
Gents,

I am in for the jaunt tomorrow.

i have a fortnight's worth of british beer and roast dinners that needs to be sweated out. Hopefully i can keep my worn latern rouge tucked away, but good to know that there are bail out options.

See you tomorrow

Dave
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#12
Note on train

You probably know this already, but if you're coming from the west on the Chuo line, it's usually easier to change at Ochanomizu to the Sobu local (just cross the platform), and again at Kinshicho (down the stairs to the adjacent express lines). Two norikaes, but better perhaps than trekking through Tokyo station.

David > It's been a while--see you tomorrow!
 

Nadrew

Cruising
Jul 30, 2009
32
0
16
okubo
www.kokoloo.net
#13
Thanks guys!

Thanks for sticking with me for so long. I appreciate it! After you guys hit the nitrous in Tsuchiura, I continued on to Tsukuba San. I was only able to climb a little bit, so I u-turned and headed back to Tsuchiura Station, bagged up and rode home. Joban kind of sucks around 5pm. From Matsudo - Nippori is quite crowded. People stepping on my bike... Yamanote was also packed.

Anyway, thanks again. It was really nice meeting you all. Had a swell time. I will continue training and try to pick up my pace and learn to climb.
 
Jan 14, 2007
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japanichiban.com
#14
Thanks for sticking with me for so long. I appreciate it! After you guys hit the nitrous in Tsuchiura, I continued on to Tsukuba San. I was only able to climb a little bit, so I u-turned and headed back to Tsuchiura Station, bagged up and rode home. Joban kind of sucks around 5pm. From Matsudo - Nippori is quite crowded. People stepping on my bike... Yamanote was also packed.

Anyway, thanks again. It was really nice meeting you all. Had a swell time. I will continue training and try to pick up my pace and learn to climb.

You may have had better luck on the Tsukuba Express....that would have allowed a bit of extra time riding around Tsukuba as well...the mountain is a killer but there are good rides around the base as well...

Wish I had gone.. I had to be a speech contest judge today.... 50 speeches one after the other...:eek:uch:
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#15
Report

Phew, that was a tough one. Many, many thanks to Thomas, Sergey, Andy, and David for the excellent (and patient) company today!

A last-minute decision meant we met at JR Sakura instead of the park, and we were all gathered and ready to roll by 9:30 or so.

The first part of the ride up to Tsuchiura was exactly the same as the Lake Kasumigaura ride Thomas and I had done two weeks earlier, a reasonably flattish route directly north across the Tone plain.

At Tsuchiura we fueled up and quickly found the cycle path. For the first couple of kms it was filled with pedestrians (maybe some kind of walking event?), but it cleared as we left the city. We were riding into a fairly brisk headwind that made us work hard as we took turns at the front. Andy had been having hamstring cramps on the way north, and unfortunately it was at this point we lost contact with each other.

The path itself was not bad, except that it had (a) a lot of gates with intersecting roads, and (b) in front of each gate a 止マレ (Stop) gouged out of the surface of the path rather than painted on--it got a bit tiresome bouncing over these every 200 meters. However, the path was largely empty and offered great views of the ever approaching Tsukuba.

We weren't sure where to turn off, but eventually followed one of the signs on the cycle path that pointed us up the hill. We thought we were taking the 139, which, on my map, is a bold yellow line curving gently and directly to the Rt 42, our ultimate goal. However, this road got narrower and narrower and rougher and rougher and, most ominously, steeper and steeper. Eventually we were fighting up a rough, pitted concrete track that was so steep that our front wheels were lifting off the ground with every pedal stroke.

The "road" ended in a short flight of steps that, amazingly, placed us on the side of 42. Relieved to be on a normal road again, we resumed the climb. Sergey, Thomas and David buzzed on ahead while I struggled along trying to keep a young kid on a hybrid in my sight. Sergey was in fine form and a frisky mood; not content with crossing the shoulder of the mountain, he led us up to the cable car station to complete the climb (though not the summit). I grimly followed, passing a long, motionless line of idling cars, their passengers engaged in that most quintessential of Japanese fall season activities--sitting in a traffic jam on a hill.

The descent was fast and vertiginous. Tsukuba rises directly out of the Kanto plain, so when the road curved around the edge of the hill it seemed as if we were riding in air, with nothing but a dented guardrail between us and the impossibly broad and flat land far below. (The final descent was also made more "entertaining" by regular series of extremely tall speed bumps that were impossible to avoid, jarring our hands from our bars and knocking chains off cranks--traffic control madness!)

We found the cycle path again with little problem and raced with a tail wind back to Tsuchiura. At that point it should have been easy sailing home, but I somehow contrived to lose route 34 while riding on it, and we ended up zig-zagging through somewhat picturesque but increasingly baffling countryside--it seems, I was, ahem, heuristically challenged. Our cause was not helped by the gang of jokers who had stolen every...single..road sign in Ibaraki. Anyway, we asked directions twice from pedestrians and eventually found our way again.

We were running late as a result, however, and the last hour was a nervous sprint through the gloom of Inbanuma with only two lights between the four of us.

We arrived back in Sakura at 6pm. I for one was utterly knackered. I'm not used to combining the long north Boso hammer rides with substantial climbing, and the legs were, and still are, protesting most emphatically.

All in all, a fantastic day out, thanks to the great weather, new roads discovered, and superb company.

Andy > Great to meet you and many thanks for coming out. My sincere apologies for not saying a proper goodbye in Tsuchiura. Really hope to see you at another ride soon!

Thomas, Sergey, David > A pleasure as always, and thanks especially for your patience and good humor as I led you on that random ramble of southern Ibaraki...
 

thomas

The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
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#16
Phil, thanks for organising the ride and for the great report. It certainly was a tough one, my legs still feel like lead. Racing along a dark narrow cycle path at over 30 was a psychedelic experience that haunted me well into my dreams last night. :)

Thanks for the ride, gentlemen, Andy, it was nice meeting you.

tsukuba_explore_02.jpg
tsukuba_explore_03.jpg
 
Dec 23, 2008
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#17
Gents,

Many thanks to you all for a most excellent day. Great company on a great ride in good weather and nice scenery - what more could you ask for.

Phil - many thanks for organising things.

Now that the endorphin rush has worn off, i feel about 80 years old this morning but it was most definately worth it.

See you next time

Dave
 

kpykc

Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
804
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#18
Tough ride, but a great 1-day adventure!
Finally, Tsukuba-san, a long time dream of mine, is conquered.
Thanks for organizing, Phil, and I hope to see you again soon :)