Visiting Tokyo

Feb 14, 2015
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#1
Hello Everyone,

I am visiting Tokyo in the last weeks of March and first week of April for two weeks +. I have lived in Tokyo before for 4yrs and can speak Japanese passably. I used to commute to work and cycle around Tokyo years ago but not really racing or group riding.

I am looking for some guidance on two main things:

  1. Weekday training rides,
  2. Weekend longer rides

I am a competent cyclist and compete regularly so I am looking for a reasonably fast bunch. I will be staying near Ikebukuro, but will be bringing a soft bag so that I can get on densha or chikatetsu.

  • I have seen a RCC ride for Wednesdays around the Palace for example but no details on start time etc.
  • I have seen the Otsuki 4.5 ride which seems like a good one.
  • I see there is a JRCC race in Shizuoka but it seems a bit family orientated (28 Mar)

Anyway, any helpful suggestions gratefully received,

Andrew
 

GrantT

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
1,594
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Setagaya
#2
Hi Andrew

There is a good cycle path along the Arakawa River, which is not far north of Ikebukuro. Have a look on Google Maps. Riding along Route 17 you can be at the river in about 20 minutes. Just upstream is a small lake (North-East side) and some good asphalt for training during the week. A couple of TCC guys ride it before work putting in rides like this.

Is RCC Rapha Cycling Club? From what I hear they might not be a particularly quick group though I've never ridden with them. @Musashi13 has though.

As well as the guys riding around that small lake in the morning, if I'm fit I'll be doing some weekday training on small hills across the Tamagawa river (West side of Tokyo). Personally don't know where the serious group training happens on weekdays.

Near that lake on the Arakawa is also the meeting point for most at least reasonably fast weekend TCC group rides. They will be posted the Thursday or Friday before in the Unofficial Tours and Short Runs section of the forum. We ride north along the Arakawa to climb a few mountains in Saitama, then either take the train back or ride back depending on the strength of character of the individual.

Otsuki 4.5 is an amazing route so definitely do it if you can find the time. Snow should be gone by then. Might even be a TCC group ride doing it one weekend while you're here but I wouldn't count on it - best get out there and just get it done!
 
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Likes: Andy in Tokyo

Musashi13

Maximum Pace
Aug 27, 2012
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Ichikawa, Chiba
#3
There are regular rides from the Rapha shop on both Wednesday and Saturday but as @GrantT stated they are not particularly fast or engaging. If you are an RCC member there may be more they can organise for you but you'll have to contact them directly through the RCC forum or email the concierge directly. If you fancy a Rapha ride the best thing to do is go all social media like a 12 year old girl and follow CCTYO on Twitter and Facebook, as there are regular-ish rides further afield to hills and such like. Social rides but not "Social" rides if you catch my drift;). You'll have to be fast, though, and watch it like a hawk, they fill up quickly as there are limited places available.

Find the TCC group on Strava and see if you can contact someone who rides the area you'll be in/close to and see what they say. More rides will pop up here but there are many who meet through this site then contact eachother via different methods and hardly ever post rides again..:cool: I see you, I know who you are!

The last weeks of March I am free to ride whenever so contact me. I'm just outside the greater metropolis area on the east side so in no way conveniently situated for an easy meet up but I'm not averse to jumping on a train or starting early to meet in the middle.
 
Likes: leicaman
Dec 16, 2012
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Tokyo
#4
Welcome @ft_critical. For weekday training your best bet is to follow @GrantT's advice and use the cycle path along the Arakawa river. It's quiet on weekdays so you can hammer it without fear of crashing into a plague of kids on mamacharis. I don't know of any group rides you'd be interested in on weekdays, I'm afraid.

Personally I wouldn't recommend cycling around the imperial palace on weekdays, or any day for that matter: it's more for showing off flashy bikes on a Sunday afternoon than actually training.

You might be interested in the Saturday rides which are usually posted by our resident Yorkshire reject, @leicaman. The pace can be quite brisk. If you are looking for a really good walloping then the Sunday rides occasionally posted by @Mlac Peek or @theBlob should be right up your street.

The Otsuki 4.5 is definitely something you should do, even if nobody else is up for it. I'll be organising a ride for that, but unfortunately not until the end of April.
 
Likes: leicaman

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,474
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Asakadai, Saitama
#5
Hi Andrew

As others have said, there doesn't seem to be any advertised weekday training. @theBlob and @Mlac Peek do laps of a big lake between Toda and Niiza but you'd have to be up pretty damn early to catch them there.
I generally head to Northern Saitama for rides into the mountains. Rides at that time of year will generally be between 150 and 200km with around 2500m of climbing. Looking at my schedule for March/April, I'll most likely be doing a ride on Sat 28th March and possibly on Sunday April 5th (I'm doing a running race on March 21st/22nd so those dates are out for me, but perhaps others will be out riding).
Hope to see you out on the bike.

Ps are you bringing your bike with you?
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,863
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#6
Yes, Mpeek and I can usually be found from around 6am weekday mornings hammering out a quick 35km or so on the morning training course on Arakawa. You can search for a thread called Arakawa TT or something for details. A variety of rides happen, recovery, Short sprints, 2-5 min intervals, 20min LT massacres and 1 hr hammer sessions. depends on the day really. From Ikebukero (maybe 80km total) you might have to leave at 5am or so to meet us.

Actually I am out with an injury at the moment so I may or may not be back in decent shape by then...
 
Feb 14, 2015
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#7
Dear All,

Thank you for your great responses. I do like the look of the Aya Lake rides, 5am start is no drama. I have strava staked TCC, @Mlac Peek and @theBlob (sorry) so I see what it is about. I will also keep my eye out for weekend rides on this forum.

If there is no Otsuki 4.5 I will steal (download legally actually) and follow someone else's Strava file so I don't get lost.

I will be bringing a bike, not sure which, depends on the weather outlook (I know, limited chance of remaining accurate) @leicaman.

Thanks for the ride offers to @leicaman and @Musashi13, I will get in touch again closer to arrival.

See you soon,

Andrew
 

GrantT

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2012
1,594
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Setagaya
#8
Click here for the Otsuki 4.5 route on ridewithgps.com. From there you can download it as a TCX course (or GPX track/route) from the "Export" tab on the right.
 
Feb 14, 2015
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#9
Hello again. So we are all set, departing on Sat 21. I would be keen to ride Arakawa on Friday 27th morning plus a Saturday 28th ride if there is one planned. I have loaded Kawagoe to Mt Dodiara into my Garmin as a back up. I noticed with some alarm the gradients in Japan are steep. I looked at the video of last Saturdays ride and noted that it was still cold which was useful intel also - thanks.

So how would I recognise anyone on the training course at Arakawa - sorry I will be without a phone (which I am pretty excited about truth be told?
 

Mlac Peek

Peek pace master
Jun 12, 2012
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Toda, Saitama
#10
So how would I recognise anyone on the training course at Arakawa - sorry I will be without a phone (which I am pretty excited about truth be told?
Hey @ft_critical, welcome to Japan. I'll be on the course every morning this week from just after 6am. Your best bet is to follow the road around the lake and river bank at a leisurely pace and keep your eyes peeled. It's not difficult to spot other riders and there aren't that many at that time in the morning. Give me a shout/wave your arms/act like a monkey and I should spot you too.
 
Feb 14, 2015
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#11
Hey @ft_critical, welcome to Japan. I'll be on the course every morning this week from just after 6am. Your best bet is to follow the road around the lake and river bank at a leisurely pace and keep your eyes peeled. It's not difficult to spot other riders and there aren't that many at that time in the morning. Give me a shout/wave your arms/act like a monkey and I should spot you too.
Thanks Mlac. I will see how I go tomorrow - Friday. I probably won't be in the area until about 0630 depending on navigation. Sorry for the late reply but I have been in Kyoto sans bike.
 

Mlac Peek

Peek pace master
Jun 12, 2012
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Toda, Saitama
#12
Cool, I'll look out for you. Looks like I have some free time tomorrow too so if you're up for it I could take you up to see the views from some local mountains. 160ish km out and back. Let me know if you're interested and I'll prepare accordingly.
 
Feb 14, 2015
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#13
Sorry Mlac. I, predictably, got lost en-route. Beautiful, spot - Aya Lake. I could see Fuji-san as I rode around. You are really lucky to have such a beautiful training spot. I will get better organized next week.

Thanks for the offer of a ride. I could probably only make 100km without being in trouble with my family.
 

Mlac Peek

Peek pace master
Jun 12, 2012
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Toda, Saitama
#14
No worries. Yeah, it's a great spot and very convenient - best time to see Fuji San is usually early in the morning anyway, and during winter you can see it nearly every day.

I did a few laps of the backstraight and bank while I waited for you, and then headed up river for what turned into a classic 186km ride - lots of cherry blossom up in those mountains. Check out the route on Strava if you're interested. I'll be doing something similar (though probably not as long) on Sunday if you're up for it - though I notice @leicaman has posted a ride for Saturday, which you might prefer (unfortunately I am not free on Saturdays).

Anyway, I hope you get some decent riding in, and please come and train on the course any day of the week if it suits you. Give me a shout and I'll meet you on the bridge that crosses the lake. Cheers.