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Ride VeloViewer tiling in Japan

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,401
3,278
Needless to say, @Half-Fast Mike already explored it over 4 years ago
Best to get ahead of the curve! Wow... I've been tiling for that long. I remember that day clearly - and I remember Gominoshima being distinctly inhospitable at the time; all steel walls, bunds and cofferdams; a windfall for the manufacturers of fences, and signs that read 「関係者以外立入禁止」. It might be the first time I drove a car to do some tiling by bike.

cross country cycling course built for the Olympics, which will be maintained as a recreational area
An Olympic-class cycling course that is impossible to reach by bicycle. So much Japan. My FAX overflows with irony.

Chichibu (on Strava, report to follow)
I shiver with anticipation. You have new tiles that I have yet to claim. The tiles within the Nicchitsu Loop, like all good loops, slowly eat away at me...
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,197
2,831
With Saturday's tiling ride in Chichibu I'm now at 33 by 33 for my MaxSquare, one up from before and the same as @Chuck's. Now it's just a question if the RideEveryTile Leaderboards will get updated before Chuck hits 34x34, which seems only a matter of time.

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I used Chuck's graciously donated route for the crucial tiles. To get it all done in a day, I decided to drive to Chichibu by car, start from the Michi no Eki near the town centre and if possible, do my September century (at least 160.9 km) the same day. However, it was really Tiles vs. Miles: The more tiles I wanted to clear, the more hills I'd have to climb and that would take more hours of which I didn't have too many, once I took the 130 km or of driving each way into account. A century is definitely easier if it doesn't include any time wasted on train rides or driving that doesn't count towards the goal.

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It was about 09:45 when I left my car at the Michi no Eki car park heading for the Familymart to stock up on drinks and food for a day in the wilderness. I wanted to make sure I wouldn't run dry as on the Otoge adventure with @microcord. Luckily it was quite a bit cooler. It was about 25 deg C when I started and dropped as low as 17 deg C at the highest point of the ride. I never wore my windbreaker but on the descent I certainly could have.

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I headed west to the Urayama dam that we always pass on the way to the Ghost Town or to Mitsumine Shrine, then followed Rt73 on the east side of the lake. There were signs warning not to feed monkeys. I later met one on the gravel road. It was pretty big and crossed the road about 50 m ahead of me. Fortunately it either didn't notice me or wasn't interested in the food I carried.

There were many signs warning of bears on the routes I took that day, not just that one gravel rindo. Luckily I didn't meet any. That's always a major worry in the mountains. Though not many people I know have ever sighted any bears in the wild and therefore it seems to be a rare experience, it's not one I care to make.

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There was a small mountain road on the south side of the lake that took me to the edge of my first tile. After that I continued on Rt73 to the last village. Near there there are some sculptures exhibited on both sides of the road, from a red long-nosed tengu to a sphinx.

It seems weird that there are two Rt73 ends both sides of the mountain that are essential unconnected, yet there is a road parallel to these dead ends that does connect the two sides (via Arima Toge) but that isn't called Rt73. Maybe there's a plan somewhere in a drawer to connect the two ends with a tunnel (50 years from now)?

At the village I turned off onto the rindo. This is where I had my last cellphone access for a while.

The first part of the rindo has tarmac and is not particularly steep. After a few km the tarmac ends and it turns into gravel. Then it gets steeper and eventually there's a gate. This is where the real fun starts. There will be no cars and you can not expect anyone to find you and help you if you're in trouble. Unlike at many other rindos I didn't encounter any hikers or cyclists or forestry workers. I didn't even hear that many birds.

It was very rugged. The road was not in terrible shape, but the wetness made it hard to ride on even with my 42 mm tyres. 55 mm knobbies probably would have worked better. The two gears I used the most was my lowest gear (21 gear inches) and my two feet gear (i.e. pushing the bike).

I used Google Maps with the KML overlay for the tiles and also Maps.me to check where I was relative to the tiles. The second tile (first tile on this rindo) was easy to get, but the third one was to the south of a bend in the road which turns west there, so it's just out of reach. At the point the river that the road follows was too wild to follow uphill (south): It would have been like bouldering up a waterfall. I had no choice but to climb further west to the point where the rindo passes closely to the intersection of four tiles. According to the map, it would only just enter one corner of the desired tile #3. It was tile #2 and #3 that I was after for the 33x33 MaxCluster. Everything else was optional.

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After much biking and hiking over gravel I got to the four corners, at close to 1,000 m of elevation (more climbing from Chichibu than from Musashiitsukaichi to Tomin-no-Mori and mostly on gravel). To complete Chuck's route and grab all the tiles he grabbed I would have to climb another 400 m, then descend 200, then climb those 200 again and then descend back down to the lake. I settled for the 2nd column of tiles (the ones needed for a future 34x34) and turned around. I was so glad I was descending with hydraulic disk brakes. With the gravel roads I had to use my brakes almost all the times as I could never risk letting the bike get up to speed and hit sharp edged gravel at that speed. It felt like the descend took almost as long as the climb, but at least the descent was easier on my fingers than the climb was on my legs.

I was really relieved when I got back to the gate. The descent from there to the village was easier. Back at the dam I refilled my water bottles from the tap of the public toilets and ate some of my food. By then I had given up on the goal of completing a Century the same day as the tiling. I would have been on the bike almost until midnight, to drive home 130 km afterwards. Nah, let's do that another day!

Next I explored three tiles just south of Rt140, the road out to Mitsumine and the Ghost town. They were not that scenic and pretty slippery in places. When moss or lichen overgrows much of the road you know it never really dries up, but when wet it's always slippery. I avoided crashing but the rear wheel often slipped and I had to be really careful. The three tiles were not that important for my MaxSquare but they would add enough tiles to connect my tiles from the Mitsumine loop to my contiguous main cluster.

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On the way to Ogano I passed a village where every single house had stuffed, near life-sized dolls outside. The settings looked typical for rural life, with many of them looking like elderly people.

I picked up 7 tiles near Ogano, the last two in darkness. I headed back to Chichibu, trying to get to an Indian restaurant before the 20:00 SoE-imposed restaurant closing time. I made it to one about 20 minutes before that, got my curry and nan within 5 minutes and finished it all exactly on time.

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The drive back to Tokyo was smooth.

On uploading my activity to Strava, I found that tile #3 was missed even though the map clearly shows that the rindo runs inside of it and that's where I rode. Fortunately my backup recording (RideWithGPS for the most crucial part of the rindo) did better and after uploading it also, VeloViever recognized all the tiles. This is exactly why I have always made backup recordings of crucial parts of activities for hard to get tiles. At least one of your devices should get it right!

Now I just have to decide on my Century ride later this month. At the moment I'm thinking of a Miura loop as it's been a while I went there.
 
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Chuck

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,256
1,426
With Saturday's tiling ride in Chichibu I'm now at 33 by 33 for my MaxSquare, one up from before and the same as @Chuck's. Now it's just a question if the RideEveryTile Leaderboards will get updated before Chuck hits 34x34, which seems only a matter of time.
I've been trying to knock out some of the tiles I need IOT move my base up above Tokyo Bay. Been enjoying Saitama area. Gotta say, it is also nice to spend a day tiling and come back with more than a few tiles as is my normal experience with hike-a-bike tiling.
I headed west to the Urayama dam that we always pass on the way to the Ghost Town or to Mitsumine Shrine, then followed Rt73 on its east side. There were signs warning not to feed monkeys. I later met one on the gravel road. It was pretty big and crossed the road about 50 m ahead of me. Fortunately it either didn't notice me or wasn't interested in the food I carried.
Every time I go up to the dam, I see monkeys. They seem to think they own the place and don't look all that friendly.
There were many signs warning of bears on the routes I took that day, not just that one gravel rindo. Luckily I didn't meet any. That's always a major worry in the mountains. Though not many people I know have ever sighted any bears in the wild and therefore it seems to be a rare experience, it's not one I care to make.
I've seen only one so far and we both skedaddled.
Next I explored three tiles just south of Rt140, the road out to Mittsumine and the Ghost town. They were not that scenic and pretty slippery in places. When moss or lichen overgrows much of the road you know it never really dries up, but when wet it's always slippery. I avoided crashing but the rear wheel often slipped and I had to be really careful. The three tiles were not that important for my MaxSquare but they would add enough tiles to connect my tiles from the Mitsumine loop to my contiguous main cluster.
Yep. I learned the hard way how slippery the moss can be.
I picked up 7 tiles near Ogano, the last two in darkness. I headed back to Chichibu, trying to get to an Indian restaurant before the 20:00 SoE-imposed restaurant closing time. I made it to one about 20 minutes before that, got my curry and nan within 5 minutes and finished it all exactly on time.
I'm thinking you only do cycling IOT have an excuse to eat curry.
On uploading my activity to Strava, I found that tile #3 was missed even though the map clearly shows that the rindo runs inside of it and that's where I rode. Fortunately my backup recording (Ride WithGPS for the most crucial part of the rindo) did better and after uploading it also, VeloViever recognized all the tiles. This is exactly why I have always made backup recordings of crucial parts of activities for hard to get tiles. At least one of your devices should get it right!
In the mountains, especially when you don't go very far past a tile border, I do the same. I start my Garmin watch GPS. On the flats around Saitama I've had no issues though so I don't bother. Might come back to bite me someday, but so far, so good. And yesterday's ride went fine with my Garmin 530. I guess deleting old activities freed up the memory and that must have been the issue. But I recorded the ride using Strava as well, just in case. Wish RWGPS or Strava allowed me to overlay my tile borders on my route maps.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,401
3,278
33 by 33 for my MaxSquare
Great ride and great result. Thank you for the report!
It seems weird that there are two Rt73 ends both sides of the mountain that are essential unconnected
Agreed weird. It's definitely a thing I see around the place. Here's another one in the wilds of Gunma - both ends are on my shopping list! In the case of Saitama r73, there is at least a trail between the two ends.

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I settled for the 2nd column of tiles (the ones needed for a future 34x34) and turned around
Ludwig the Rindōmeister and I did the whole of that rindō on mountain bikes. It definitely gets wilder before the end, although I don't remember the climb back up being hard. We'd hoped to find a way through to the Chichibu Rindō on the other side of the ridge, but there was none.

If you, @joewein, or @Chuck, or anyone else with a tiling need would like to borrow a mountain bike, I have two nice ones that aren't doing anything these days. Let me know.

I picked up 7 tiles near Ogano
Cool. As I was saying, the tiles of those valleys on the inside of the Nicchitsu 'Ghost Town' loop are calling me. Getting them all in one day might be a bit much.

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joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
3,197
2,831
Here's another one in the wilds of Gunma - both ends are on my shopping list! In the case of Saitama r73, there is at least a trail between the two ends.

Another one is the southern part of Rt76 in the Tanzawa mountains. It swerves to the west in the valley while the small road going up to the tunnel at the top is no longer called Rt76 - just as if they were thinking of building a base tunnel through that mountain, which of course they will never do.

Ludwig the Rindōmeister and I did the whole of that rindō on mountain bikes. It definitely gets wilder before the end, although I don't remember the climb back up being hard. We'd hoped to find a way through to the Chichibu Rindō on the other side of the ridge, but there was none.

If you, @joewein, or @Chuck, or anyone else with a tiling need would like to borrow a mountain bike, I have two nice ones that aren't doing anything these days. Let me know.
Thanks for the offer. Checking the elevation profile of your ride against where I turned around, your total elevation gain on that rindo was double of mine, with the remaining climbing to the highest point and the down and up on the most remote part. But it got you the tiles you wanted. Maybe if I was in company and had already settled for fewer tiles elsewhere that day, I would have attempted it.

As I was saying, the tiles of those valleys on the inside of the Nicchitsu 'Ghost Town' loop are calling me. Getting them all in one day might be a bit much.

I had mapped them as part of the route on my GPS, but it was clearly not going to happen on the same days as the gravel tiling.

I'm thinking you only do cycling IOT have an excuse to eat curry.
No excuse ever needed for that :) I have at least 4 Nepalese restaurants within a km of my home.
 

Chuck

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,256
1,426
No excuse ever needed for that :) I have at least 4 Nepalese restaurants within a km of my home.
I was in Germany a couple years back and noticed that curry wurst was a thing. It was pretty tasty. Wish it would come to Japan.
 

Chuck

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
1,256
1,426
Thanks @joewein One more ride up around Okabe and I'll have moved my square up above Tokyo Bay and should get to 34x34. Trying to knock out some longer rides before shorter, colder days of fall and winter arrive.

And you were right. The riding gets much nicer as you move out away from central Tokyo. I've been planning routes that avoid main roads as much as possible and it has been really nice riding. I grew up on the farm and have been enjoying watching the farmers work the fields and observing the different techniques. Plus the scenery was great and traffic volume much lower.
 

Half-Fast Mike

Lanterne Rouge-et-vert
May 22, 2007
4,401
3,278
that's gotta be the wurst thing ever
Quite coincidentally on this theme, sausage brunch in Karuizawa the other day. This place. Very tasty, especially after climbing the hill to get there.

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So went for a slight revenge ride with Tim a.k.a. GS Astuto and Channing, who was visiting for the first time. A few weeks back, Tim and I tried to get up to Usui-tōge, and were rained out. This time was much more pleasant, and easier as we stayed on the road instead of the gravelly and naughty strictly-pedestrians-only disused train route.

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There were, inevitably, a few detours to collect missing tiles along the way. For these, I was happy I brought Niner.

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Annoyingly I missed one of them - a very short one that completely escaped my attention while flying down the hill back toward Annaka. Went back to claim it on foot the following day. It was so short that it wasn't even worth getting the bike out of the car.

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Meanwhile, back at base, an unexpected but enjoyable project was to get this old treadle-power sewing machine working again. I wonder if it can somehow be connected to Zwift ...

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New tiles: 4 +1, and extended my cluster to Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture.

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