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Ride VeloViewer tiling in Japan

Chuck

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,256
1,426
I noticed the RideEveryTile leaderboard hasn't been updated since May 3rd. How much are you paying them @joewein ?

I don't get why they don't update it on a more frequent basis. Should be pretty simple to keep it more current than it is. If tracking V V standings is the sites' raison d'etre, you'd think they'd want to keep it updated on a more frequent basis.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,401
3,278
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Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,401
3,278
I visited the new GS Astuto 'basecamp' in Gunma for 3 days - mostly to help the Smiths redecorate and fix up the abandoned house they bought and moved into a few months back, but with the hope of grabbing a few new tiles for my collection.

Objective achieved - kinda. On both rides I developed nasty pain in my right knee after 20 km, and had to quit. Enjoyed myself nonetheless, and new tiles were snagged.

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Ride 1: with Tim, an early morning sortie to explore the strictly walkers only path along the old rail line up toward Usui-tōge.


Only encountered a few walkers: one of whom educated us on how naughty we were being, and the others ignored everything but the fact that we were not wearing masks.


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Great to ride with Tim again, after so long. It was his first real ride in six months.


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The disused rail line, converted into a path strictly for walkers only. Actually I can understand why. The steel rails will be very slippery in the rain, and there are several longish unpaved sections with only deep gravel.

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The route goes through several unlit tunnels...


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... and crosses iconic Megane-bashi, normally seen from below.

Shortly after exiting the walking path, my knee started to really hurt, and it started raining. This was not forecast, but it happened anyway. We were soon soaked and miserable, and decided to turn around. The rain got heavier and colder, and ultimately we called Naoko for a rescue by car.


Ride 2: Solo early morning tiling jaunt


Rode north to the neighboring valley of "99 River" to gather a few tiles. Some lovely rindō action and early morning countryside scenery.

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Iconic Myōgi-san


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Hillside farm


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Perfect rindō coming back over the mountain ridge


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The Usui River valley, by Yokokawa Station

I thought to head further up the road toward Karuizawa to grab another tile on a side road, but my knee inflammation was flaring up again so I rolled down the hill back to base.

--
I don't know of a Tokyo DIY Home Improvement Club, and ultimately Astutoville will benefit the cycling community, so as a bonus you guys get this montage of the renovation work we were doing: walls, floors, ceilings. Insulation is a wonderful thing!

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..
 

Chuck

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,256
1,426
@Half-Fast Mike You've certainly been busy with home improvements lately. Tim's new place looks like it will be great. Is it going to be a B&B? Great location for it.
 

adventurous cyclist

turtle speed cyclist
May 16, 2019
945
970
Its raining too much . Maybe I should go rafting?
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,197
2,831
I am looking forward to my first visit to the Astutobase. You must have been a great help, @Half-Fast Mike! :tup
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,197
2,831
I really hope this succeeds!
Much of Tim's business has been in wheel building and a large part of that for export to other parts of Asia, which he can do independent of location (a bit like my IT career, I've been working from home for over 32 years now).

Tim had been growing his bicycle rental business whose main customers where foreign cyclists visiting Japan, but in April 2020 Japan became off-limits to non-residents due to Covid. Japan may re-open to business travellers and then tourists some time in 2022, but so far no date has been announced. Then it will remain to be seen what the post-Covid international tourism market will look like. I think that between the lingering effects of the pandemic and the reality of climate change, international air travel will never be the same again.

I do like the idea of having a house in the countryside, with more greenery around and more space. It's a dream I have too. I grew up in the countryside and am looking forward to comparing notes with Tim how he enjoys it, along with exploring the area around his base.
 

Chuck

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,256
1,426
After a long break from tiling, finally got up to Chichibu again. Started early in the morning and was at Chichibu by 9:20. Knocked out a couple tiles before heading north and up over a ridgeline. Was doing fine till I hit the climb. Maybe a combination of the heat and humidity or the grade but had to do the walk of shame (as if I had any) up to the top. Treated to some beautiful views at the top. Dramatic skies, beautiful scenery, great day on the bike, even if the heat did make things a lot tougher for this old man. Plus 40ish tiles, no change in max square.

 
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Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,401
3,278
I'm getting really close to completing Project Chiba. Yesterday filled another patch of tiles in the mountains to the northeast of Kamogawa.

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Exploring Kamogawa East (+10T)
Getting the first tile was unpleasant. Heading west from the beachside car park, to get to the tile border we had to pass a gate into a road by a river overgrown with long wet grass. Leech heaven, in other words. Not suitable for riding the road bikes we'd brought, so we had to walk.

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I was not fed-upon on this occasion, but my co-conspirator was targeted as leech-lunch and freaked out without much ado. We ran to the border, touch-and-go, and got our lower legs scratched to hell by the foliage.

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There were also a couple of landslides of brittle, sharp rocks, and several boggy sections, so we had to get wet and muddy shoes full of stones (and leeches).

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Went back to the beach, and the car, and washed off the unpleasantness. After that, anything on pavement would be a doddle.

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And so we climbed from the seashore up into the Bōsō interior. This road was steep, but not bad at all. A single car came down as we were going up. The driver was shouting to advise us that the road is not passable. Yeah yeah whatever...

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Ha! Not passable for your car, maybe. But after what we'd been through already that morning, these fallen trees were child's play.

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More climbing brought us to the pass, at 324 m ASL. Chiba doesn't get much higher than this. We carried on to get a tile and then returned past the temple and a lovely downhill along the beginning of the Yōro-gawa, which river has carved out its scenic and eponymous gorge.

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Went a little further than strictly necessary along the river valley to see Awamata falls. Cool spot. (Steep path down from the road though.)

Our return to the coast was uneventful. From there, took another detour inland for tiles that I already had but Channing did not. This brought us to the weirdest experience of the whole day...

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This long downhill through "Mitsui-no-Mori Millennia" was so strange. It looks like an Hollywood idealization of an American neighborhood. Perfect houses, perfect gardens and verges, perfect roads.

Not. A. Single. Person.

Seriously spookily empty. It was like riding through a Twilight Zone episode.

The rest was easy, along the coast and back, with the occasional snake in a tunnel (more freakouts). And back to cool off the surf. Two more tiles were gathered with a short walk from the car; we've both ridden r81 before, but didn't want to get the bikes out again for just 900 m. It joins up, so it counts.

One more little patch, then I'm done!

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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,197
2,831
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I got 13 new tiles north of Otsuki, but no change to my Max Square or Max Cluster because the new tiles are not connected solidly enough to the rest of my cluster.

I didn't plan this as a tiling ride but just accepted @microcord's invitation to an Otoge loop (report here). It was more memorable than outright fun. It would have been more fun on my NFE, the adventure bike because of the more comfortable tires and the hydraulic brakes for the long descent.

Checking the map at home, the border for the tile that includes Matsuhime Lake was very close to the road we took back to civilization. Maybe I could have gotten that with only a slight detour on foot from the rindo. But as it was, it was enough of an adventure for one day.
 
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