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Winter cycling in Tokyo


Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
Hi, everyone!

I am kind of new to the cycling world - and the autumn-winter 2007 will be my first "cold" expeince in Tokyo, after I've started riding. In this context, I have some questions to the more experienced members of TCC:

- is the late autumn / winter in Tokyo (and Japan, in general) suitable for cycling?
- what do you change in your everyday setup, when you ride here in winter (helmet, clothes, gloves, shoes, bike, tyres, etc.)
- how about long distance touring? Is it possible in colder seasons?

If this kind of topic has already been discussed, could give a link to it, please?

And the one which bugs me most:
- is it reasonable to buy a new bike now? (not to store it until the spring, but to actually ride it). I am thinking to buy a cyclocross type bicycle, I guess it should be ok for the winter, but I am not too sure.

Thank you.

Autumn to winter is very good for cycling in Tokyo, you should definitely have a bike now for it. Of course in January- Feb it is not a great idea to go anywhere high, but we have lots of lovely days at that time of year, so you really do not want to miss out. You need the right gear of course, long pants, thick socks a windproof jersey and jacket and raingear naturally, gloves with fingers. Once you have the right gear though you are set to cycle all year round.

I encourage you not to wait:D

Kanto is fantastic for winter cycling! A touque, gloves and sweater is all you need, and often not even that. Lots of blue sky and crisp, clear days. It'll snow--maybe--once in a winter.

If you're going long distance, stay away from the Japan Sea side of the Japan Alps (and the mountains themselves, obviously)... "Snow country" has earned it's name and then some :). I used to live in Kazuno, Akita...

Thanks for replies, Ash, Phil.

So, all I need is a bunch of warmer clothes, to avoid getting a cold burn, am I right? Guess, I've been over-analysing when thinking about how much stuff I need to get ready for winter. Thanks, I'll be looking forward to this experience :)

Phil, that corridor of snow looks awesome! But I hope the roads are not getting like this in Tokyo area :)
Long underwear

Yo Sergey,

How was your trip to Kyoto? Did you find good places to ride?

Winter in Tokyo? From March of last year through May of this year I did a short
commute of 20k each and every day (every night, actually), rain or shine. I needed
only 3 additional items to keep warm during winter riding: a pair of light-weight
tights; a long-sleeve undershirt of similar fabric; and a nylon cap, designed to keep
the sun off the head when hiking. The cap, turned around backwards like that of a
baseball catcher (or an late '80s rapper) and worn under the helmet, was critical
to prevent heat loss. The few times I forgot it, I felt cold. The high-tech long
underwear, usually made of polypropylene, comes a wide range of weaves,
treatments, and prices. I found the cheapest Jusco knock-off brand to be adequate.

If I was riding for several hours, out the Tamagawa or Arakawa, or riding wife my
wife (who tends to go slow), I would also take a fleece sweater in my pack. I can
recall using it only a time or time after a downpour or very late on a very cold night.

David aka TrufflesEater
Thanks, David, Kyoto was great - I've riden around the city and gone to mountains on different days. It was the first time I was riding the mountain roads - loved it A LOT! Some places were really hardcore and were quite a challenge for me and my hybrid - but that was part of fun :)

Thanks for the advices - very helpful!
Was in a similar situation myself and went to the shop last week. Long tights, top, gloves and socks etc. (the staff were very helpful and though all business was conducted in Japanese, partly resolved my queries between the different types of windbreaker, anoraks and so on ...).

Was hoping to use it all this weekend - imagine my disappointment when sunday hit 23 degrees.
watch for frost on bridges. thats about all down there in the balmy kanto. here we ride with spikes on our tires.
I got my 1st real pair of long pants.... used to just wear my summer stuff with long underwear or sports tights...


Subaru to match my new car..... :cool: (Forester Cross Sports) which put my new bike ideas on the back burner.....

Pretty much covered as far as winter wear goes now...

head warmers, neck warmers, arm warmers, 2 winter jesrseys, shoe covers for wind & chill. winter gloves, even use rugby socks, hokkairo and heat sports balms to rub into the legs on those extra chilly mornings.... Shimano shoes have big holes under the shoes that let in too much cold so only my SIDI shoes in winter....

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