What's new

Ride VeloViewer tiling in Japan

Half-Fast Mike

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

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,197
2,831
@Half-Fast Mike, it looks like I will have to try it from that side too.

Checking Google Maps and Streetview, as one takes the tunnel to the left of Matsuhime tunnel to the old Matsuhime rindo, as one emerges from the second tunnel in the loop, there's one road that goes through a tunnel to the dam and some kind of service road that splits off to the left before the tunnel which leads to one side of the actual dam below its crown. I don't see a gate at its entrance, so maybe that's also a viable option. Is that what you were taking or did you go through the tunnel towards the lake?

1630297796562.png

I still have a number of tiles to pick up between Matsuhime and Uenohara, so I have plenty of motivation to go back. I always like going back to Kosuge.

To grow my max square to 32x32 to catch up with @Chuck I would need two tiles southwest of Chichibu, on the Chichibu/Tamagawa watershed which would involve some hiking. Maybe I can even talk my wife into joining me for those tiles.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,401
3,278
I don't see a gate at its entrance, so maybe that's also a viable option. Is that what you were taking or did you go through the tunnel towards the lake?
There is a gate. That's where @Chuck is thrusting his arm through. There's a gate in the middle of the tunnel, too. Very definitely locked, and out of satellite view :-(
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,401
3,278
Friday off work again - that's going to be a regular thing for the rest of the year, as I attempt to use my accumulated paid holiday - so I headed up north for three more days of riding and labouring at GS Astuto in Annaka.

First order of business was the gathering of a few tiles on the northern border of my Max Square. One of them had eluded me on my previous attempt last November. Knowing that it's prime leech season, I was not keen to do any walking along trashed rindō next to (or in) rivers. So I'd mapped all available routes into the missing tile, hoping that one of them would be rideable.

20210827-081650-Exploring-Sano-&-Kiryu.jpg

Almost before I got my bike out of the van, a fisherman in his chest-high waders waddled up to me and warned me about the rampant leeches. The Leech Whisperer, they call him.

10 meters later, I pass my first "road closed" sign of the day. Yay! Before long...

20210827-082014-Exploring-Sano-&-Kiryu.jpg

...yep, the river is the rindō. Just maybe I can get far enough.

20210827-082239-Exploring-Sano-&-Kiryu.jpg

Nope. Not going to try to cross that. I like my blood where it is, inside me. Back down to the valley to try the next option.

20210827-095632-Exploring-Sano-&-Kiryu.jpg

And the next one was fine. Really nice, in fact. Hard-packed fire track. Ride up the rindō, secure the tile. Bounce back down to the car.

I then drove about 20 km over three passes through the mountains to my next ride, starting at the north end of the reservoir formed by Kiryūgawa Dam. I think this is a really nice road.

20210827-101644-Exploring-Sano-&-Kiryu.jpg
20210827-102029-Exploring-Sano-&-Kiryu.jpg

Eventually the road ended and it became proper rindō.

20210827-110716-Exploring-Sano-&-Kiryu.jpg

I could, and in retrospect should, have gone further along this one. Not urgent, but I'll have to come back this way for another tile. That's OK because it's very pleasant.

20210827-105416-Exploring-Sano-&-Kiryu.jpg

And then it was all downhill back to the car. Wheee! Total score for Friday: +5 tiles.

Sano.gif
 
Last edited:

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,401
3,278
On Saturday Tim and I set off early to explore a closed road around the back of iconic – I know I use that word too much these days – Mt. Myōgi, which is the main thing you see from the GS Astuto basecamp. A few km brought us past a reservoir and into rindō territory.

20210828-070816-Exploring-Myogi-san-Loop-Tim.jpg

Really peaceful. Until last year there was a citizens' lodge just around here, catering to hikers and mountaineers. But it closed down, so now there's no one but us bikers and the occasional logging party.

20210828-071631-Exploring-Myogi-san-Loop-Tim.jpg

I wanted a tile only accessible by hiking. Tim elected to remain and guard the bikes (and feed the leeches, as it turned out).

20210828-073641-Exploring-Myogi-san-Loop-Tim.jpg

The trail was alright to start with. Dry and free from vampire invertebrates, at least. I collected a lot of cobwebs on my face. Perhaps no one has hiked the trail since the lodge closed. There were a lot of old, dry leaves, making it hard to see where to go.

20210828-074235-Exploring-Myogi-san-Loop-Tim.jpg

Then I came to this gulley of slippery rocks. This was too risky for me without trekking poles, a rope, and an accomplice, so I turned back long before I could reach the desired tile. I'll try a different approach another time.

20210828-074856-Exploring-Myogi-san-Loop-Tim.jpg

More climbing on the rindō. Then a descent. Another climb.

20210828-082201-Exploring-Myogi-san-Loop-Tim.jpg

Then we got back to paved roads and a fantastic fun descent.

20210828-090448-Exploring-Myogi-san-Loop-Tim.jpg

The problem with coming out of the forest was that we lost the shade. The last climb was long and hot and tough. As we were no longer negotiating rocks, we felt like we should be going faster. But then...

20210828-095712-Exploring-Myogi-san-Loop-Tim.jpg

Just... wow! Score for Saturday: +9 new tiles. 13 km downhill back to the unforced-labour camp, to start rebuilding a shed I originally helped put up in Dec 2019 and then disassembled in the spring of this year before the move.

Annaka copy.gif
 
Last edited:

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,401
3,278
And finally... Sunday.

Went out for a solo ride in the early morning - a long sweep around the Kantō fringe foothills to colour-in an obvious gap in my cluster.

20210829-054035-Exploring-Annaka-Loop.jpg

Heading away from Myōgi-san this time. Mostly downhill or flat for the first hour.

20210829-055526-Exploring-Annaka-Loop.jpg

It would have been somewhat faster on my road bike than the full-sus-but-heavy Niner. With the cloud cover I even felt a little chilly at times.

20210829-064404-Exploring-Annaka-Loop.jpg

Looking back, from Takasaki, toward the mountains whence I must return.

20210829-074256-Exploring-Annaka-Loop.jpg

Ditto

20210829-080029-Exploring-Annaka-Loop.jpg

Plenty more rice fields where these came from.

20210829-085349-Exploring-Annaka-Loop.jpg

Little villages with their temples and shrines. Avoid bypasses and take the scenic route.

20210829-085913-Exploring-Annaka-Loop.jpg

Problem is, those bypasses bypass the 17% climbs.

Eventually I wound my way back up the valley, past golf courses and through farms.

20210829-101039-Exploring-Annaka-Loop.jpg

The expressway means I'm almost back to base.

20210829-101630-Exploring-Annaka-Loop.jpg

Just one last breathless climb. Ouch ouch ouch.

When I got back to base Tim was chatting with a customer who had come to collect his new bike. I sat down in the garden and began drinking water from the nearest bucket. Tim and customer are blablabla about good areas and routes to ride. Customer talking about people he follows on Stravr:

Customer: "...and some crazy guy called Half-Fast Mike JP"

Tim: "Yeah he smells bad but he's good to ride with."

Mike: "I AM RIGHT HERE"

Sunday's score: +31 new tiles.

It was dark before we got the roof back on the shed. Then a long drive home. Dead tired, but very happy. Definitely beats sitting at home watching YouTube all weekend.

20210829-192617-GS-Astuto-Renovations.jpg
 
Last edited:

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,197
2,831
Has anybody recently done Rt73 between Naguri-ko (Arima dam in Naguri) and Chichibusakura-ko (Urayama dam)?

I am looking at doing some hiking from that route, possibly from near the toge, to the Chichibu-Nishitama border to collect some missing tiles. Any idea of the road condition and how far I could go by car (in case I do the hiking with my wife who is not a road cyclist)?

1630643599550.png
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,401
3,278
Has anybody recently done Rt73 between Naguri-ko
It's been four years since I pushed my bike across r73 [Stravr], and the last time I cycled south beyond r73 to Arima-tōge was only a couple of months after that. So don't know road conditions these days.

1630649512633.png

From the east, you can probably drive as far as the old quarrying site at the end of the road. The site works are still visible on Google Street View, but everything was gone when we came through except some abandoned workers' housing in the forest along the trail. Not quite the Nicchitsu Ghost Town experience, but still a little spooky.

20170618-152459-buko-san-r73-exploring.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Chuck

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,256
1,426
Has anybody recently done Rt73 between Naguri-ko (Arima dam in Naguri) and Chichibusakura-ko (Urayama dam)?

I am looking at doing some hiking from that route, possibly from near the toge, to the Chichibu-Nishitama border to collect some missing tiles. Any idea of the road condition and how far I could go by car (in case I do the hiking with my wife who is not a road cyclist)?
This was last November, so not current, but might give you some idea.

 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,197
2,831
It's been four years since I pushed my bike across r73 [Stravr], and the last time I cycled south beyond r73 to Arima-tōge was only a couple of months after that. So don't know road conditions these days.

View attachment 32693
I didn't even know there was some kind of connection between the two ends of Rt73. A hiking trail by bike sounds like not much fun.

I last crossed those mountains via Arima Toge in August 2017 (on Strava). The top was shrouded in clouds when I was there.

Back then I took a wrong turn and ended up on a gravel road that got me some tiles that I wasn't even collecting yet.


This was last November, so not current, but might give you some idea.

Thanks, Chuck! Your km 13-40 gravel route would give me the tiles I'm seeking and more.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,401
3,278
Exploring Mito Northwest (+72T)

142.76 km; 1,405 m climbed; 6:59:09 in motion​
72 new tiles. And, rather unexpectedly, increase of my MaxSquare from 49*49 to 50*50!

I'd planned the route to start and finish at Mito station. However, as my co-conspirator Channing would join the ride, it was more convenient and economical to drive. Parked at the nearest likely spot on the route to the expressway exit and got rolling. It was a long day.

mitoNE.gif

20210910-153613-Exporing-Mito-NE-cc.jpg
Lots of this kind of scenery on the flat bits. Plenty of farm workers bringing the rice harvest, too.

20210910-093131-Exporing-Mito-NE-cc.jpg
Farmland roads winding their way up little valleys between low hills. Very peaceful.

20210910-090934-Exporing-Mito-NE-cc.jpg
It wouldn't be Japan without a bunch of vending machines. This seems to be where they go after retirement.

20210910-115357-Exporing-Mito-NE-cc.jpg
Just as we were leaving a Michi-no-eki after a break, Channing got her first flat in three years of riding. A friendly guy shouted from across the road that he had a floor pump in his car, and he lent it to us. Made the repair very much quicker.

20210910-123424-Exporing-Mito-NE-cc.jpg
Several little detours up-and-back-down steep narrow roads were needed to get the tiles. Pictured is one of the nicer ones. Many were still slick from the recent rain and not much fun to descend. No incidents, though.

20210910-135038-Exporing-Mito-NE-cc.jpg
Getting hungry by about 1 p.m., we started looking for restaurants on Google Maps. The first place we tried - a pizzeria - was closed all day. The second was a wonderful find. Big log house with a shady terrace overlooking the river, and excellent meals. We'd done 82 km by this point, and the majority of the climbing, but really did not want to get back on the bikes. We eventually left at 3 p.m.


20210910-173510-Exporing-Mito-NE-cc.jpeg
We weren't fast. Couple more slippery rindō and 50 km of wiggly tiling. The sun was setting as we approached Mito city along the river. With 15 km left back to the car, it would get dark soon. (No problem, plenty of lights.)

20210910-183936-Exporing-Mito-NE-cc.jpg
And amazingly, wonderfully, riding in the dark, we were treated to a firework display. With eerily perfect timing, it finished dramatically right in front of us just as we were finishing the ride.

Back to car for a stiff rub down with a wire brush. Checked my tiles, and was surprised and delighted to see an uptick in my MaxSquare.

maxsq50.gif

I've been passively obsessing/procrastinating about my unclaimed tiles on Akagi-san (top left) in Gunma for so long, I hadn't realized that this ride in Ibaraki would be enough to shift the whole affair to the right and increase it. Yay! Still need to do those rides in Akagi though. And cannot expand to the east without another kayaking adventure on Lake Kasumigaura. Yikes...

Where shall I go next.
 

Chuck

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,256
1,426
Exploring Mito Northwest (+72T)

142.76 km; 1,405 m climbed; 6:59:09 in motion​
72 new tiles. And, rather unexpectedly, increase of my MaxSquare from 49*49 to 50*50!
...
I've been passively obsessing/procrastinating about my unclaimed tiles on Akagi-san (top left) in Gunma for so long, I hadn't realized that this ride in Ibaraki would be enough to shift the whole affair to the right and increase it. Yay! Still need to do those rides in Akagi though. And cannot expand to the east without another kayaking adventure on Lake Kasumigaura. Yikes...

Where shall I go next.
Well done! Bumped up your max, riding through nice countryside, fireworks.... perfect day.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,197
2,831
Congratulations, @Half-Fast Mike!

I went to Chichibu (on Strava, report to follow) by car and rode 85 km to get 12 new tiles and bump my cluster by +25T, but more importantly I equalized Chuck's 33x33 MaxSquare by clearing the two tiles in a remote area south of Chichibu that had been missing. I still haven't done my Century ride for September.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,401
3,278
looks like you need just one single tile in the upper left corner to expand once again?
1631416186302.png

Exactly so! And it's an easy tile, except that it's 170 km away from my home.

The problem – okay, part of the challenge – with these mountains is that even when roads exist the roads don't go in convenient directions for me.

The main part of the challenge is developing routes that will be satisfactorily efficient for gathering tiles. The satisfaction is of course subjective. Where possible, I like to minimize the need to redo already-covered ground just to get one or two more tiles further up the road on another day.

1631420930226.png
For instance: getting the two tiles at the top here just needs a 2 km walk from the junction along the trail by the river, if it's not rideable, right...? But when I got to that spot a few weeks ago I found this:

20210827-111026-Exploring-Sano-&-Kiryu.jpeg

I don't know how much of the trail is bare rock that needs a rope. Maybe just a few more metres than can be seen from here. But it's definitely a job for hiking boots plus long sleeves and trousers, as opposed to my bike stuff. Will have to go back another day when better prepared.

I have various route plans ready, of course.

Should I try to do the SW and SE sides of Akagi-san in one long ride from Shibukawa (95 km, 2700 m), traversing tiles at the base I already have, and take a train back? Or do two separate loop rides on west (34 km, 1000 m) and east (37 km, 1200 m).

akagi.gif

There are advantages to both approaches. Main issue is that (by definition) I haven't been there before. When rindō are involved, there's no telling what condition the road will be in, and how much hiking/scrambling/leech-feeding will be necessary. It's easy to run out of daylight, which would be bad.

Fortunately, poring over maps is something I enjoy ;-)

I'll keep trying as long as I'm enjoying it.

Two tiles in Gunma will probably prevent my MaxSquare expansion from increasing beyond 61*61 - no roads, trails or anything. Just bare mountain. Long way to go before that, though. 50*50 to 60*60 is an additional 1,100 tiles.

1631422640687.png

1631422926855.png
 
Last edited:

luka

Maximum Pace
Jan 13, 2015
2,195
2,026
in any case, looks like you're gonna get 51x51, and maybe even 52x52 pretty soon. I don't share your enthusiasm for pouring over maps, but when neatly arranged in little videos like this, I'd gladly take the highlights and leave the rest out ;)
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,197
2,831
I went for a drive with my wife today, visiting the Central Breakwater man-made island in Tokyo bay after a seafood lunch in Tsukichi. The Central Breakwater is a void in my tiles because it's inaccessible by bicycle: The Tokyo Gate Bridge (aka "Dinosaur Bridge") on the northeast is off-limits to cyclists and so are the three tunnels that connect the island to its neighbours on the northwest and southwest, AFAIK. Needless to say, @Half-Fast Mike already explored it over 4 years ago :)

I did not record any walks while with my wife but will probably load my bike into the car and then explore the island properly, though it won't have much impact on the Max Square as I would eventually have to move its southern base quite bit to the north of the Central Breakwater island to be able to extend it far enough east to keep up with @Chuck's recent Saitama tiling...

Anyway, it was interesting. There are some container terminals on the southwest side facing Jonanjima and the "Tokyo Sea Forest" (海の森) cross country cycling course built for the Olympics, which will be maintained as a recreational area we are told (you mean, we get something in return for our 3 trillion yen in taxpayer funds?).

By far the largest portion of the island is still in various stages of landfill construction, from watery sections enclosed by breakwaters to piles of ashes from incinerators to grassland on top of fully-filled sections. This is where the ashes from your moyasu gomi left after burning it at an incinerator and your moyasanai gomi are likely to end up. Not all of this is visible from outside the fences, but you always have the birdseye view of Google's satellite view.

The initial breakwaters that laid out the exterior boundaries and protected the landfills from the waves of Tokyo Bay were already constructed 5 decades ago. This is pretty long-term planning by normal municipal standards. I am curious how far into the future current plans for landfills in Tokyo Bay extend. Given enough filler material, more and more of the bay could be filled in (240 km of tunnels for the Chuo Shinkansen should be plenty to keep it going). At the same time, rising sea levels will cause trouble for some of the existing man-made structures and low lying areas of the capital over the next couple of decades and beyond.

Screen Shot 2021-09-12 at 22.28.57.png
 
Top Bottom