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Indian Summer In Yamaguchi(16 posts)

Indian Summer In YamaguchiGeoCyclist
Nov 8, 2003 4:03 AM
I had a beautiful 100 km ride in summer like weather today. It was overcast when I left the house, but the weather quickly changed after I passed over the coastal mountain range. About 30 km into the ride I was wishing I hadn't worn the long sleeve jersey!
Indian Summer In YamaguchiGeoCyclist
Nov 8, 2003 4:08 AM
I call this Shinkansen Hill, as it is starts right next to the Iwakuni bullet train (Shinkansen) station. This is how the Japanese build roads over steep hills in narrow valleys; switch back a 16 percent grade from the bottom to the top! This was the first hill of the day to warm up the legs.
Switchbacks to make a grown man cry...Akirasho
Nov 8, 2003 8:42 AM
... I'm getting misty eye'd just looking at it...

Be the bike.
I hope you got to do those switchbacks on the way down, too!The Walrus
Nov 8, 2003 4:11 PM
Wotta treat that looks like!

One "weird" thing I've noticed in your photos is the tile roofs are red or dark brown--up around Kansai it seemed everywhere I went the tiles were blue. Any idea where the transition occurs?

What sort of reaction does a
i gaijin
in Lycra usually get there?
Roof Tiles & LycraGeoCyclist
Nov 9, 2003 3:16 AM
Funny thing is, I've never ridden down this hill. I've always used this climb to get me into the next valley and onto another route home. I've yet to plan a ride that has me coming back down this hill. Once I've explored all the different hills and valleys, I'll probably plan a return route going down this hill.

The predominant roof tile colour is brown or red; however, there are a few buildings with blue roof tiles. The local myth is blue roof tiles bring bad luck.

For the most part, the locals aren't really surprised to see gaijin out cycling. What really gets their attention is the tandem bicycle we ride on weekends. I have yet to see another tandem bike in Japan. One of my buddies will be getting two recumbents at the end of the month, and I'm sure these bikes will get some looks.
Indian Summer In YamaguchiGeoCyclist
Nov 8, 2003 4:10 AM
I had to take a photo of this tree in full autumn colour.
Indian Summer In YamaguchiGeoCyclist
Nov 8, 2003 4:23 AM
Crossing one of the local rivers; sorry, but I don't have the name!
Indian Summer In YamaguchiGeoCyclist
Nov 8, 2003 4:28 AM
Classic Japanese house, complete with strong hold (located to the left of the main house). These small buildings were used as safe havens from the maraudering bandits.
... you must have just missed it!!!Akirasho
Nov 8, 2003 8:42 AM
... rode by the same spot just a few minutes later...

Sorry, I know I'm bad...

Be the bike.
Indian Summer In YamaguchiGeoCyclist
Nov 8, 2003 4:34 AM
The reality of cycling! This is route 2. I have to cycle 7 kms of this road to get from my house to the mountains. I thought I should post a pic of the not so nice roads that I have to ride!
Looks like a great place to ride. Are the drivers...rwbadley
Nov 8, 2003 9:05 AM
courteous to cyclists?

It looks like you have good bike lanes there.

I love to see these pics, thanks.
Yes!GeoCyclist
Nov 9, 2003 3:26 AM
I'd say the majority of the drivers are very good about giving a cyclist plenty of space. You will not find good shoulders (as pictured in my photo) on the majority of roads. As a result, the cars have to pull into the on coming traffic to over take cyclists. This can be a bit intimidating to cyclists who haven't done any cycling in Japan; as they don't want to ride their bike like they are driving a car on the road. I find it best to take a good part of the lane instead of hug the side of the pavement.
Thanks againwitcomb
Nov 8, 2003 6:21 PM
I have never known Japan to look like this before. My understanding, the ignorant one, was that Japan was almost entirely city with no free open space like that. Of all the places in the world to go for a cycling vacation, I never would have included Japan. However, I think I'll add that to my list.

I find it interesting that one would not need to know Japanese to get by, thats good to know.

Thanks for the info, keep the photos coming
Japan is great for cycling; however, the weather isn't the best!GeoCyclist
Nov 9, 2003 3:45 AM
If you visited the Kanto plain (Tokyo - Yokahama area) you would be in the middle of one giant city. Once you get away from the major cities you will find open countryside. This is true for all the islands of Japan. I live on the Southern end of Honshu (the largest of the Japanese Islands) where there is an abundance of forested countryside and small towns / villages. I am planning a trip to the volcanic plateau of Kyushu (Southern Island) for Thanksgiving. If the weather holds, this will be a cycling trip. Nothing like cycling during the day and hitting the thermal baths at night. I was on the Northern end of Kyushu two weeks ago, and the cycling prospects looked great. Hopefully, mount Assos will prove be another great cycling destination.

I've been on a few cycling tours in the NW USA, and I'm beginning to think Japan in the Autumn would be a great place for doing organised cycling tours. Food and accommodation outside of the large cities can be found for a fairly reasonable price.
A few questions.cydswipe
Nov 9, 2003 6:53 AM
It would be awesome to live in Japan. I always wanted to visit. So, are there bike shops? I mean, I see pics of swarms of bikes in China etc. How many other cyclists do you see with gear like yours? How do the Japanese hold pro cycling in their culture compared to the U.S' almost dismissal of the sport?
Thanks for the awesome pics!
Hopefully, a few answers!GeoCyclist
Nov 9, 2003 10:44 PM
There is an abundance of bike shops all over Japan; as the Japanese still use bikes as transportation. The majority of the bike shops carry a limited selection of commuter bicycles; however, there are a few bike shops that cater to the serious road and mtb cyclists. It is not uncommon to see Japanese out cycling on high end equipment, and my little LBS has quite an inventory (Trek, Cannondale, Kline, Look/Time, Specialised, Mavic, and of course Shimano equipment); however, there is a distinct lack of Campy equipment. Go Figure! My LBS has asked me to road test a new CF Basso frame this week; as they want a comparison against my De Rosa King. There are a number of Pro cycling events in Japan. One of our local riders competed in the Hawaiian Iron Man race this year. It seems that Triathlons are pretty popular around this part of Japan. As I don't know the language, it is a bit difficult to follow the local cycling news; however, I'm thinking of working on my Japanese so I can race next year (amateur of course!).

I'll try to get a photo of my LBS posted in my next ride report. I hadn't thought of posting one before, and it sure hasn't been for lack of opportunity to take a picture; as it seems I'm at my LBS at least once a week. Last week I started riding a new set of Mavic OP wheels with DA hubs, 14/15 DB spokes, and brass nipples that my LBS built for me. I got my bent Shimano 7701 wheel serviced by Shimano and returned in 7 days. So, service is pretty good!

Ride On!