Monthly Archives: September 2014

Rin+Rin= Rinrin

I cycled the other half of the Rinrin today. Please see my previous post for maps etc.

Oh apart from this map, which is a fascinating little street with a great shrine at the top of it.


All the houses down this parallel street seem to very old and traditionally Japanese, and the shrine is very moonish.

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There was also this cool tower with fire hoses strapped all around it….cause the house are so old and delicate.

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This area is on the bus route to Mount Tsukuba and I saw this cool bus with a cycle rack. I have never seen that before, how do you go about using one of those?

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And back on the Rinrin. This way heads towards Tsuchiura. I actually like this section the most, there seems to be more quaint areas.

 

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And of course the abandoned stations

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And a ninja castle. Well the ruins of Oda castle, which was attacked in 16th century and was never rebuilt. You can read a little about the Oda Clan here.

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There are also lotus field and when I went a few had gorgeous flowers.

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That’s about it for the Rinrin and here is the end or start depending on where you start or end.

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I had a bit of cycle around Tsuchiura, but not much as I had to get home which was a tiny trek. Plus there is a great cycle route around this area which I will write about on another day.

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I was so happy today that I even wore my SKY shirt, which made me very speedy. I even got lots of nods and waves from other cyclist. I am beginning to look the part!

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Just a Rin

Today I cycled to one end of the Rin-Rin in Tsukuba then cycled half the route. I will cycle the rest on another day as this trip was 75km for me. The whole Rin-Rin is about 42km.

I have cycled it before a couple of times so I was not too bothered by not finishing it today.

Here is a map of the start of the Rin Rin from Iwase.

And here is a link to a map of the whole RinRin route.

My cycle to the starting point took me 40km, I used my gps to avoid going uphill. It was a perfect day for a ride. A porridge day, not too hot, not too cold.

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The vegetables were out and so was I.

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The butterflies were out too.

I had planned on going to Mcdonalds for breakfast, but when I arrived at the RinRin I was so happy that I just kept cycling. I didn’t go out last weekend and felt a bit hard done by, what with my nice clean bike and all. Then I realised how lucky I am, not going out one weekend and I feel sad. It means I go out a lot and have loads of places to go.

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This is the map at the start of the route, the real route. Just to prove I was actually there. The rinrin is an old railway route that was turned into a cycle path. It is also lined with cherry trees so is stunning to ride along in the spring. It is a great route at any time of the year though. With rest stations (bathrooms) along the route, a 7/11, cafes and places to hire bicycles, plus it is flat…what more could you want?

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There are abandoned stations along the way which are perfect for a rest or a picnic. And handy mile markers so you know how far you have come or gone.

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Of course there are great views of Mount Tsukuba all the way along the route.

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This is one of the places where you can hire bicycles. There is a shop around the corner where you can get a key to a lock. This place also has car parks and is on the bus route if you don’t want to cycle there.

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This time I got to mile/km marker 19ish and stopped for a coffee at the place I usually stop. At that point I checked my map and if I finished it and went home it would be a 90+km day and I wasn’t up for that. So I decided to quit and go back another day from that point to finish it and then cycle home.

Each time I go on this route I stop at

ピットストップつくば北条

Which you can find here:


I recommend this place for a number of reasons…

  • It has a car park and they don’t mind you leaving your car while you cycle
  • The coffee is great and only 300yen with a biscuit
  • The lady who works there speaks English and is very friendly.
    • She remembered me from a year ago and could chat to me about my summer holiday, bit spooky but nice
  • I think they have bikes to rent and equipment to fix bikes
  • There is a clean toilet
  • You can get food at certain times of the day, but just ask the kind lady
  • It has the best cherry trees nearby
  • And best of all it is almost half way between the two ends if you don’t want to cycle up and down the whole thing twice.

I enjoyed today, when I first cycled this route I could not make 25km, so I am pleased with today’s efforts.

 

Clean bike speedy bike.

I took my white bike for a service today. Since I had the tubes replaced the brakes have been a bit loose and the chain slipped when I pushed hard up hill. Reading online let me know I probably needed a new chain or cog-thingies. The super bike guy said the chain was stretched..actually he said, “チェーンが伸びている” and I went, “eh?” And a handy friend translated for me. So a few hours later I went to pick it up…and wow, it looked like a new bike!
He had cleaned the whole thing…take a peek…

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The axel-thingy

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The sprockety-thingy

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The brake holding thingy..I am so technical today.

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He even cleaned and oiled the rusty bolt holding on my re-moveable back rack.

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I was so impressed that I went for a little jaunt around the area, just 7km, and I decided to rename my bike speedy. I even got a wave from a passing cyclist, I mean a proper cyclist with shorts and top and everything. That doesn’t happen often here.

I am definitely going for a ride tomorrow. Thank you handy Japanese service man.

Kokaigawa River

There is a small road that runs along the Kokaigawa River near Tsukuba in Ibaraki, Japan. This river is very long and from my starting point I could have gone north or south. This time I chose north as the weather forecast said it might rain and I knew the way home from the north side.

Here is where I started from.

 

If you go here during the cherry blossom season the south route has hundreds of trees…another reason for going north this time. Look out for the next post around April or May. Incidentally if you are every around here during July the park where I started from has a water feature for kids to play in that is pretty awesome. The huge slide is pretty cool too. Adults can only play when nobody is watching so no pictures here. I know the map makes this place hard to see, but it is at the bottom of the reservoir.

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There is a free car park and two toilet blocks here. And on with the journey. As this route follows the river it is pretty flat and as it is quite rural there are quite a few hidden treasures along the route so keep your eyes peeled.

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I cycled along for a while until I saw a sign for a local temple. This is also a good place to cross to the other side of the river. if you don’t cross here you might get lost later or run out of road. This temple looks deserted most of the time but it is quite active. They have festivals, bonfires for daruma in the new year and lots of other activities..including taiko drumming. A friend of mine loves this temple and made a wiki page for it, which you can find here.

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This shrine is so friendly there is even a sign in English demonstrating how to pray.

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As you can see I am on drippy today as I am fairly close to my home, no car journey today.

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This is the view from the bridge. This bridge is quite old and was damaged in the 3/11 earthquake. It has now been repaired, but its use is restricted to small vehicles.

As you cycle along there are many small shrines, so if you are not in a hurry stop and take a look.

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There is Mount Tsukuba.

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My destination today was the Aeon mall in Shimotsuma. I have never been to this mall, but it was like most other malls in Japan. And look at that sky…no rain today, the weather man lied.

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Of course being a mall there was an abundance of choices for lunch, but no buns dancing..disappointing.

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Hmmm pizza. At this point I had cycled 26km, 10km to the park and 16km from the park to the mall. I have earned a small pizza.

Across the road from the mall on the right be looking at the map..if you move it up a bit to Shimotsuma, is Kokaigawafureai Park. This has a funky building in the shape of a butterfly. There is a small museum type thing inside with examples of other insects, I think from memory, I didn’t go in today. The reason for my non-entry is the fact that on the ride I got in the face by a large grasshopper and near misses from other. I was all insected out.

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This place is a perfect place for a picnic and if I had remembered it was here I would have bought a sandwich or bento at the mall and ate it here. There are many things for children to do and a few things for adults too. Like a mini golf course and lots of flowers!!

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Look at the size of those sunflowers, my hand is huge by the way, I really needed a banana for scale. (my hands are tiny)

As I was cycling I decided to use an app I downloaded a while ago, but never used…imotion. It takes stop motion videos on your phone or ipad. Here is one way of the cycle, 16km in 4:31 minutes.

I will do this trip again as it is good exercise, easy, and accessible for me. It is better with a friend though…you know who you are….now all my friends are going “me”…yes you 😉