Ushiku Swamp and Wind
I was really looking forward to getting out today and exploring the new areas on the map I recently created. But today sucked for a couple of reasons, the biggest one being wind. Not wind of the flatulent kind, but wind of the atmospheric kind.
I could hear the wind as I set off, could feel it on my car, but a friend once said to me, “If you don’t cycle in the wind in the Japan, you don’t cycle”. It’s fairly true, it can be quite windy here, quite often. So off I set.
My destination was Hebinuma Park, near Ushiku Swamp. I had put a place mark for the swamp on the map and when checking today there was an area to the right that looked interesting, the small lake. You can see it on the map below.
It looks fairly big on the map and I love cycling around lakes. But when I got there I was greeted with this sign.
Another, no dog, no bike, no bbq, no fun. BUT it is winter, there is absolutely nobody here, so who would know. Off I go, taking care to stick to paved roads. I may be rebelling, but I still care for the environment. Pretty soon I could see this was not going to be a good spot.
Barriers and ropes all over the place, plus barely any paths.
And when I do find a path there are steps.
Which is a shame as it was a beautiful day..apart from the wind.
Nothing to it but to head to the next area, Ushikunumamizube Park near Ushiku Swamp. This place look much more promising and another lake.
As you can see by water the wind was still blowing. I didn’t notice it at the first place due to the trees. This place had no trees and I had a lot of trouble staying upright. When I stopped to take a photo I had to lay my bike down as it promptly fell over.
The park was very small and there was nothing really to see there. However, it is a good parking space and there is a toilet block. I headed off clockwise, but it was a struggle. As you can see from the photos above there is a good road here, but I gave up. I barely made 5km the whole day. Maybe if I had been on a better bike I might have tried harder, but on the yellow bike I felt I was almost going backwards.
There is lots of advice online about cycling in windy conditions. Most of the information is for very fit riders or groups of riders in a peloton, but what about the recreational, podgy rider?
- Get down. Ride in a tucked position if you can do so comfortably, elbows in, get as low as you can.
- Gear down and take it easy. Use a lower gear, you will pedal more but it will take less energy. You will use twice as much energy when cycling into a 10-mph headwind
- Don’t wear a loose fitting clothes. Baggy clothes will act like a sail and slow you down. Try to wear tight fitting clothes.
- Try to start rides heading into the wind. When you start you have more energy, when heading back the wind will push you along.
- Watch for cross winds when cycling on roads with traffic. You might get pushed into the traffic.
- Get shelter. Pick a route with trees, buildings, stone walls or other wind blockers.
- Keep a good mental attitude. Stay positive. Wind, day after day, can beat you down mentally. But head winds actually help improve fitness.
Ushiku Swamp looks like it might be a nice ride on a better day so I might return. The one thing that was fun today was turning around and heading back to my car. I decided to see if the wind would push me along. It did. On a flat road I checked my speed and it was 14km/h without pedalling. Cool.