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Ride VeloViewer tiling in Japan

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,048
1,149
Much obliged! Nice to know that the rindo approach to the tile doesn't exist anymore. Thanks.

I've noticed that another hiking trail in the area has disappeared. I wondered if it was just a map error or if they've updated the map to reflect now impassable trails. (Blue line is the route that is now gone.)
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Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,269
2,975

Gok

Maximum Pace
Dec 22, 2016
215
339
@Gok Heck of a ride! Nice write up. (The committee approves.)

So, if I wanted to bag the tiles up around the Nippara caves, I'd best wait for a Sunday when the construction crews are gone?

And @Half-Fast Mike Is the tile up by the stone quarry also best done on a Sunday?
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Sorry for late reply @Karl .
I went up there pretty late; around sunset so the crew was packing up. It was a Saturday.
The trail went on but was pretty gravelly which would have killed my 25 C so I decided to stroll up there. Pretty sure you can ride up there with your gravel beauty, but not sure how far it goes...
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,992
2,300


With the rain forecast for Sunday, I decided not to go for my July century yet put just do a bit of tiling near Tokyo (94 km, on Strava). Originally I was also eyeing the NE corner of my max square but after a few wet morning hours and one small incident (see below) I decided to leave that for another day and settle for a stash of Kawasaki tiles.

If you like rusty, hissing, steaming industrial wonders, you don't have to ride all the way to Fukushima Daiichi.



Kawasaki has an amazing array of them on huge man-made islands created in Tokyo bay, mostly in the 1960s and 1970s (the rubble from digging subway lines probably came in quite handy). Many of these sites are linked to fossil fuels in one way or another, whether as refineries, gas plants, steel works such as the various JFE sites or thermal power plants such as this JR one with its mountains of coal:







It seems highly ironic that just a meter or two of sea level rise from rising CO2 levels would probably drown all of these. The huge size of these reminded me of the amount of money and political clout that will have to be taken on to decarbonize the economy.

The biggest of all the islands was Ogishima, which is inaccessible except to motor vehicles that can use the expressway crossing its center. The rest of the island is only accessible to people working for JFE or the other companies with plants there. Higashi-Ogishima is accessible via a pedestrian tunnel from Chidori park (entrance on the side of the ventilation tower for the road tunnel), but that actually means only the roads and some public parks, not the sites of the factories and warehouses that occupy most of the island and its periphery.



It was on Higashi-Ogishima that I had my first puncture of the year. A nail had firmly embedded itself into my rear tire. I fixed it in the rain with my only spare tube. I cursed myself for not having replaced the other spare tube that I had used to fix my daughter's bike a few months ago or to buy more rubber glue for my puncture kit for patches that I had used up on fixing ride mates' bikes. I later bought a new tube of rubber glue at a local bike shop.

I passed near Haneda and a few shrines on the way home, by which time it had stopped raining.





One thing for sure, you really do get to see many aspects of Japan during tiling that you would not normally see.

As an aside, in this blog post I am using a new way of hosting images that allows me to load them off my own domains on my own web server without having to copy them all there. It's like a caching re-sizing front end to my image library on a local machine controlled by revocable access keys. No more messing around with Google Photos to get it to still do things that Google no longer wants it to do!
 
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Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,048
1,149
Mountain tile sure make you work for them, but I still prefer them to city tiles.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,992
2,300
@Karl I prefer mountain tiles too, absolutely no contest. I'd rather pick up one mountain tile than half a dozen city tiles, but the truth of the matter is, Half-Fast Mike did not become the Tile King of Japan by hiking mountains. He did it by riding the, uhm, boring bits that most of us would have avoided unless we got lost.

Once you start in central Kanto, most of the tiles it takes to grow your max square will be found in flat terrain full of houses, shops, traffic lights and more houses. Much of it is not interesting in the sense that I would recommend anyone to visit any place there in particular, but it's still interesting because it's real. You get a sense of proportion of what makes up Japan as a a country.

I don't know how much effort I will put into collecting Saitama suburbia tiles -- probably not as much as Mike did (who I will never seriously rival as a tiler). But probably also more than I would have thought possible a while ago.
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,048
1,149
@joewein "I don't know how much effort I will put into collecting Saitama suburbia tiles -- probably not as much as Mike did (who I will never seriously rival as a tiler). But probably also more than I would have thought possible a while ago."

Getting to new tiles in the mountains requires about 4 hours on the train (round trip), so with the short days of winter and the rainy season, my mountain tiling 'plan' (hope, wish) is way behind schedule. So, until things dry out, I've started eyeing more of the urban area that Mike currently 'owns.' But, yeah, never going to seriously challenge the King of the Tiles. I think there may be some OK riding along the rivers though. So that's where I'm going to start.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,992
2,300
I added 23 tiles to my collection today, all around the NE corner of my max square, finally bumping it up from 21x21 to 23x23. I only left at 15:00 and more than half of the 86 km I rode was just to get to the first tile / return from the last one.
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,048
1,149
@joewein With the rain and before that, Covid restrictions, my max has been stuck at 28x28 for a long time. The only way to increase it much is to get out into the mountains around Okutama and Chichibu and do some hiking as well. Yesterday felt like an actual end-of-the-rainy-season day, so maybe there's hope. The other option is to slog through Tokyo and Saitama tiles and build my max in the flats. Problem there is I just can't get psyched to spend a day dodging cars and waiting at stoplights vs. enjoying the mountains.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,992
2,300
@joewein With the rain and before that, Covid restrictions, my max has been stuck at 28x28 for a long time. The only way to increase it much is to get out into the mountains around Okutama and Chichibu and do some hiking as well. Yesterday felt like an actual end-of-the-rainy-season day, so maybe there's hope. The other option is to slog through Tokyo and Saitama tiles and build my max in the flats. Problem there is I just can't get psyched to spend a day dodging cars and waiting at stoplights vs. enjoying the mountains.

Karl,
You definitely didn't take the easy way to your Max Square (not that there was an easy way to a 28 by 28!). You cleaned out all of the Tanzawa Mountains, a lot of hiking and steep gravely rindos, I am sure! If you base your max square at the Shonan coast, then Tokyo bay will soon limit your eastern boundary, forcing you into mountains to the west and north. My 23x23 is already further north and biased more towards flat parts of Kanto.

Here's my high-tech tracking sheet for yesterday's progress. I didn't use a pre-designed route, only Google MyMaps, Goggle Maps and this paper sheet:

My other efforts have been similarly (dis-)organised, minus the paper sheet.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,992
2,300

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,269
2,975
Saitama has its rewards
That's true. Hidden amongst the pachinko parlors and used car lots are some nice bits. Except in Tokorozawa (which stinks) and Kasukabe (just... a hole).

I've done most of Saitama; 109 tiles left, all in the mountains to the west, but mostly tileable. It just takes me such a long time to get there. I counted 31 tiles that require hiking (H). And there are 10 tiles that appear to feature neither road nor trail (X), and thus will likely remain forever uncollected by me :cry:

saitamadammit.jpg
 

stu_kawagoe

Maximum Pace
Jun 23, 2018
899
945
That's true. Hidden amongst the pachinko parlors and used car lots are some nice bits. Except in Tokorozawa (which stinks) and Kasukabe (just... a hole).

I've done most of Saitama; 109 tiles left, all in the mountains to the west, but mostly tileable. It just takes me such a long time to get there. I counted 31 tiles that require hiking (H). And there are 10 tiles that appear to feature neither road nor trail (X), and thus will likely remain forever uncollected by me :cry:

View attachment 20614
Couldn’t see the wood for the trees for a second there!
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,048
1,149
Here's my high-tech tracking sheet for yesterday's progress. I didn't use a pre-designed route, only Google MyMaps, Goggle Maps and this paper sheet:

My other efforts have been similarly (dis-)organised, minus the paper sheet.

I'm the opposite. I spend a lot of time trying to get maximum 'tileage' out of a minimum of distance. Lazy, I guess. I generally don't ride the same route twice if I can help it, so planning helps to avoid re-climbing a route for a tile I could have gotten.

Feels like the worst of the rainy season is over so maybe I'll be able to finally get some new mountain tiles pretty soon. Hope so anyway.
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,048
1,149
YESSSS! Sunny day, no rain, and a weekend. So, yesterday was tiling day. Been so long I hardly remember what it is like to explore the mountains.

Got up to the mountains by train to avoid the traffic around Ome. Right away, the climbing began, but scored a quick tile, so can't beat that. The rest of the day was a slog. Lots of steep climbs so my pace was really slow (course, that's par for the course with me anyway). Rewarded with 13 shiny new tiles and a great day on the bike. I needed that.

My trusty steed. IMG_1250.jpeg . The reservoir. IMG_1254.jpeg Butterfly nomikai. IMG_1258.jpeg
Nauture. IMG_1260.jpeg The path to the left leads to the summit. IMG_1262.jpeg
The tree blocked the path. Probably could have scrambled over but had bagged the tile so... nah. IMG_1263.jpeg
The path was in really good shape. Might offer future tiling possibilities. IMG_1264.jpeg
The road had washed away, leaving this drainage thing protruding out into space. IMG_1266.jpeg
Views from the climb. IMG_1269.jpeg
Down from the climb, grabbed one more tile then up and over this toge to Nishi-Agano station and back home. IMG_1272.jpeg
Don't think I realized how much I missed the mountains. Great day out there although I'm gonna need a rest day.

(Here is the route if anyone is interested in the details. https://www.strava.com/activities/3886771920)
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,048
1,149
Yesterday was about getting up in the mountains and bagging some long wished for tiles. It was a bit cooler up there and with the trees providing shade it wasn't all that bad. So, started out at Okutama station and bagged a quick tile after a short but quick climb. On to tile two. Again a relatively short climb but on gravel this time. Now it was on to climb three, just before the Nippara limestone caves.

This one was a challenge. Mostly a rock garden all the way up and more suited to hiking than biking so walked it. Slow going but rewarded with beautiful waterfalls and views. Bagged the tiles (or so I thought) and headed back down.
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I skipped the road up to the caves because traffic had backed up all the way from before the tunnel to as far as I could see up the road to the caves. I guess with the combination of the weekend and the long holiday, everyone decided to head up there. I knew I had to come back up there anyway for a serious hike-a-bike so just said, "Nah."

Further up the road, I had two more gravel filled climbs. I took the one that forked to the right and went up to the gravel pit. Again, it was pretty gravelly. Wished I had brought my Surly with the 40c tires instead of my Ritchey with some Schwalbe 30c CX tires. Doable, but slower on the narrower tires. Got up to the gravel pit, walked around, took a picture or two, bagged two more tiles (or so I thought), then back down for the final climb of the day.

It was getting late so hustled up the climb. Smaller gravel and partially paved at the bottom so took less time. Got rained on at the top, which was refreshing, except for the serious thunder and lightning that had me pretty nervous for a while. I was hoping that with a bit of hiking at the end of this climb I could bag just one more tile, but the hike looked to be a very serious one, even if short, so figured I'd best turn around and figure out another way to bag it if possible.
IMG_1365.jpeg IMG_1375.jpeg
On the way down, and near the bottom of the climb, I met my first bear in Japan. It was on the road and moving toward the railing. I stopped and let it do its thing. It climbed over the railing and disappeared down the slope into the forest somewhere before posing for any pics. How rude! I think it was a cub, pretty small anyway, so was on alert for mama bear. Waited a bit till I figured the coast was clear then headed on down the road to Okutama.

A much longer day than anticipated with all the climbing and hiking and gravel. Left the house weighing 76.5 kg and came back weighing 73.2 kg, even though I tried to stay well hydrated all day. I guess that's what 2.5 hours in zone 4 will do for you.

Oh, and I will never forgive Garmin for robbing me of 3 hard-earned mountain tiles. I bagged them, saw the arrow on my Garmin following my route to the end, but it didn't register the tiles. I have pics to prove I was there! Honest! IMG_1369.jpeg
Perhaps @Half-Fast Mike has written a "Tile Denied" program that he has sneakily planted on my Garmin? Gonna have to figure out a backup plan so I don't lose those really hard to get tiles again.

For inquiring minds: https://www.strava.com/activities/3915820284
 

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Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,269
2,975
Perhaps @Half-Fast Mike has written a "Tile Denied" program that he has sneakily planted on my Garmin? Gonna have to figure out a backup plan so I don't lose those really hard to get tiles again.
Key @Karl - yeah it's so frustrating when that happens. I promise I haven't been hobbling you, buddy. Was gonna check your data – not for giggles, but to see if there's anything I can suggest. However, I don't see the ride on Veloviewer yet. Have you clicked through to your ride in VV to have the VV Explorer script check every data point, rather than just the 'outline'. That sometimes resurrects missing squares (and occasionally, steals some).

The only other thing I can thing of is that you're not getting data points while walking - Garmin might misinterpret your slower pace as GPS vagaries and not record new data points. When I get off the bike and continue on foot, I always turn off the Auto-Pause feature for this reason.

There's something funky with your data in any case. Climbing up the last rindō it indicates you gained much more elevation than you lost riding back down the same road. I suppose this might be related to funky barometer readings as it coincides with the rain you mentioned.

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Re-plotting your ride as a route shows a very different elevation profile at the end.

Google ChromeSnap 001.jpg

And examining that route in VV shows which tiles it would hit.

I remember the gravel pit well - very strange that you 'missed' bagging those tiles.

Google ChromeSnap 002.jpg

Congratulations on not becoming a bear's breakfast!
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,048
1,149
@Half-Fast Mike said, "The only other thing I can thing of is that you're not getting data points while walking - Garmin might misinterpret your slower pace as GPS vagaries and not record new data points. When I get off the bike and continue on foot, I always turn off the Auto-Pause feature for this reason."

I think this is the problem, although I was careful to notice that the arrow indicating my location was tracking properly and showed I had gone where I intended (to the area where I should have bagged the tiles). It happens at the very end of the route when I'm likely going slowest due to the steepness of the incline (and being dead tired). I think it has to do with the auto-pause feature, so will have to turn that off, but I don't understand why it would track my location without marking the data points correctly. Wouldn't care so much if I hadn't lost the three hardest tiles of all. My head spins at having to repeat two of three climbs (o_O).

I know I lost a lot of elevation as well. Also noticed the funky elevation data on the descent to Okutama.

I just clicked through on the VV site so the ride should be updated now.

Thanks for your help. BTW, how much ransom do I have to pay to turn off the "Tile Denied" program? 😉
 
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Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,048
1,149
Another nice (but long) day on the bike. Expanding my max blob on the Izu peninsula. The plan was to start at Odawara, climb to Hakone, meander down the peninsula a bit, cross the ridgeline, descend to Atami then return along the coast to Odawara. Looking at the elevation profile on Strava, I thought most of my climbing would be done after the climb into Hakone. But, Izu being Izu, that wasn't ever gonna be reality. Duh! (For inquiring minds: https://www.strava.com/activities/3935226165 )

It was a nice ride up to Hakone. Not too many cars. Arrived behind schedule due to the climb and the heat, but made it.
IMG_1381.jpeg
IMG_1382.jpeg Decided to try for a tile that was accessible only by a path, which I thought would be rideable. Instead, much of it was overgrown, so would have been good to have a machete. After hacking my way to the tile, a couple kilometers, I hacked my way back. All the hiking and hacking put me well behind schedule, but rewarded with some nice views of the lake and a shiny new tile. (Sometimes I doubt my sanity.)

IMG_1385.jpeg
IMG_1391.jpeg The next part of the day was spent up along the skyline, then descending on some steep and busy roads. The road quality was not all that great so had to keep the speed down while watching out for cars and potholes at the same time. Always a fun time. The little detour off the main highway (at the 43 to 45 km mark) was very nice...paved, tree-lined and quiet.

Next it was up and over the ridge and through the tunnel. The nice thing about the tunnel was it was nice and cool. The not so nice thing was the cars and trucks. Not a fan of tunnels.

Steep descent into Atami. Really pretty fishing village/town. Took a couple pictures but they don't do justice to it.
IMG_1395.jpeg
Finally, I headed up the coast, back to Odawara. Nasty traffic, bike lane blue arrows were meaningless on these narrow roads so praying the drivers were watching the road and not texting. Some nice views along the coast but much prefer the less trafficked west coast.

Long day in the saddle, a few meters short of 2,000 m climbing (which is a first for me). The views made it all worthwhile. Only saw one tiny little reddish snake all day. No bears.

Oh.. and all tiles registered. I turned off the auto-pause feature, so maybe that was it. Thanks for the advice @Half-Fast Mike
 
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