Monthly Archives: February 2015

Edogawa and Sekiyado

Ibaraki finally decided not to rain, blow a gale or snow for at least a little while. That meant I could get out and fulfil my “healthy me” lifestyle, well, at least until the end of the ride when I gorged on toasted cheese sandwiches. I got my bike loaded and a book playing through the old kindle. Ready for the 45 minute drive.

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I decided to go to one of the places on my pre-made choices map…Edogawa River starting at Sekiyado Museum which you can read about here and here. After the ride I took a look around, 200yen. There are no displays in English, but a helpful man gave me a pamphlet. I looked around the first/ground floor and then sat down to read the information, whereupon I was pounced on by the helpful man who said I had not finished yet, there were 4 floors, 4…take the elevator/lift (this is a bi/language post) and pushed me towards it. The top floor has views of Mount Fuji, if you have binoculars and good eyesight.

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The castle is built on a super-levee and the museum tells you how it was built and has information on local famous people. The grounds of the castle are covered in weird swimming animals, perfect place for a picnic really.

Anyway here is a map of the museum/castle. There are plenty of vending machines, a toilet, and a carpark/parking lot..and that is it I am done because I had to look that up. The route has none of these things so stock up and, well do your business.

This was by far the best cycle path I have ever cycled on, even better than the Rin-Rin, but not as pretty.

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Parts of the path are “regular” other parts are HUGE! like a two lane road, but with stoppers to stop cars. There are a couple of glider-ports along the route. I saw one coming in to land and I waited a bit up from the landing point thinking it would need a bit of space to stop..nope, they almost stop dead, quite impressive.

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Along the route there are way markers to say how far it is to the end. The road goes all the way to the ocean, but I am not fit enough to check it out yet. I ended up going about 25km along the route then I looked for a bridge to the other side and there wasn’t one where I was so returned back along the same route.

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Along the route there are the usual for Japan roadworks and huge trucks, but get this..bikes have the right of way and men with sticks stop the trucks for the bikes 🙂 There are even plastic flowers on the fence, I have never seen that before and stopped to take a picture. See above. At this point a bit of a weird thing happened. I was taking the picture when an old man who was cycling a bit behind me stopped to look at the construction information. He started chatting to me and asking me where I was from. Throughout the whole conversation I was distracted by his outfit..or rather what was not hidden by his outfit. He was wearing cycling shorts, but without any padding..and they were soooo tight. I could tell he wasn’t catholic, but he had been blessed by someone. Seriously, he was proud. So proud that he asked me to take his picture whereupon he basically stuck his hips out and said “ta daaaa!!!”. He then asked to take my picture, sure, not weird at all. When I started writing this blog I found he had photobombed my flower picture.

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Not a great picture, but I wasn’t trying to take a picture of that.

Anyway back at the castle, after speeding away from sausage man, I stopped to take pictures of the trees. They are just blooming now and in about a week or so they will be stunning.

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Around this area is a random bridge made from Sheffield steel.

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So, to review…one castle, about 50km, gliders, inappropriately placed bridge, blooms and a sausage man. Good day 🙂

You can find the course here, but really just follow the flat bike road.

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Good Intentions

I packed everything last night, check the bike, pumped the tires and off I set. I was hoping for a 50km+ day. Just over 6km in my front tire went flat as a wet fart. I started walking back, giving up. Then I thought, NO. I packed a puncture kit for a reason and it is the front tire. So I popped off the wheel and started to take off the tire and remove the tube. I scrapped my knuckles, swore, and got it off. No visible problem. I pumped it up and listened, felt. No problem and it stayed up. Hmph.

I put it back on and pumped it back up. Five minutes later it was flat again. Maybe a valve issue which I can’t fix yet, or I have no idea. So I called a friend and got a lift home. I will try again tomorrow. Anyway it did give me a chance to use the phone app for WordPress.

Now I am walking around Ushiku Nature Sanctuary with cycling pants on. At least I remembered to take off my helmet before getting in the car.

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Miyayama, Sannoudou, and a New Bike

I got a new bike this week. I say new, but it is second hand. I have been perusing a Giant catalogue recently and had finally decided on a bike that I liked…and there it was in a second hand shop. I have always liked their bikes as I was under the mistake notion that they were a British company from Nottingham where a lot of my family are from. And right now they are shouting…no, that is Raleigh bikes you idiot. So I bought an expensive bike from the wrong company. Giant bikes are from Taiwan, just down the road really. Bugger. Oh well, still a nice bike.

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It’s not yellow so I leaned it on a yellow post and put a yellow phone holder on it. The best thing about the new big phones is that phone holders are now big enough to hold my GPS. Being a road bike it doesn’t have a kickstand and I am debating whether it would be uncool to add one.

Unfortunately as it is a second hand bike I didn’t have much choice about sizes and that is important. This website explains in great detail about the right bike fit. I tried it in the shop and it seemed ok, but riding it is another matter. I will have to make some adjustments before riding it a long distance again. Like moving the seat forward and lowering it a little..just a little as there isn’t much room for it to go down.

And where to go? I decided not to go far from home as it was forecast rain and it was cold. Plus it is a new bike to me so I was a little nervous. This is also my first real road bike and I wasn’t sure how stable I would be. I ended up staying in the “tops” position for most of the ride, unless I was pretending to be Mark Cavendish.

I ended up skirting around Mount Tsukuba and heading to…

Miyayamafurusatofureai Park

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The route there passed by some shrines of course and the roads were nearly all empty. They were also flat and in fairly good condition. Here is the location of the park.

And now after looking at the website I linked to above I find there is a petting zoo! double bugger, I didn’t know that. What I did notice was loads of picnic squares and sakura trees. So, I think another ride in spring is called for, and a jolly good picnic or petting??

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I ended up at the back of the park with an impossible barrier. I thought and thought..how can I pass by this impenetrable obstruction. *finger click* I will walk under it. And there I was among the trees, hiking trails and the birthplace of Abe no Seimei.

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I wandered around a bit and bought some strawberries. There is a local produce shop there. Usually when I finish a ride I eat lots of crap, which has meant I have lost zero kilos! So after this ride I am going to eat strawberries.

After my persual and mini hike….by the way did you notice I kept my helmet on, weirdo, I always forget to take it off. Luckily nobody spotted me hiking in a helmet. Anyway, I set off back passing the site of the Battle of Sannoudou. The link is from Wikipedia Japan, but if you use Google Chrome it will automatically translate it. Ain’t technology grand. I found some English information here. I am not going to write about the battle as the two websites have all the information you might want.

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It doesn’t look very ‘battle-y’. But if you are interested here is a map..

By the time I got back home I was a little sore. I will alter my bike a bit before my next jaunt or swap it for a Raleigh 🙂

And here is my mapmyride route.

I hate wind!

It feels like each weekend lately it has either been raining, snowing, or winding..is windy.

Today was no exception, but I decided to go out anyway. Due to the weather I decided to cycle around where I live. I knew if I went anywhere in my car I probably wouldn’t get out, just sit and ponder the gusts and life.

So I dressed up and off I trotted, peddled.

On another post I wrote about how to handle cycling in the wind. I took all my own advice. It helped but gosh it was windy today.

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And as you can see by the pictures I live in quite a flat..no wind break area. Makes for a pleasant ride..not. But I went anyway, once more into the breach..for Harry, England, and Saint George! Though I don’t know anyone called Harry.

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The strange building above I have been told is some kind of cult type thing. But I have never been in and don’t have the guts or Japanese to ask the man at the gate. What I do find interesting is the beginnings of a new road heading straight for it, but in fact nothing has progressed on that front for ages? Hmmm suspicious.

Anyway, my ride today was cold, windy, and browny-grey, apart from the sky.

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There are a few small shrines along the route, but it is not a ride like last time.

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Around this bridge I saw a bird of prey in the sky, maybe a hawk, carrying a HUGE fish. Honestly it was as big as the bird. I have never seen that before, only on TV.IMG_2231 IMG_2232

At this point I had to decide whether to follow the dyke type road or get some shelter at the side on a crappy road. I did a bit of both.

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Look at the wind! This flag was full on straight.

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IMG_2239 And why did I go out..because it is the 1st of February and I am going to try and get a cross of activity on each day. Oh, I am not going to burn tomorrow, it is the garbage day for burnables.

I won’t post a map because quite frankly it was rubbish. I used mapmyride again and prepared the map before I went, but I thought a river had a path at the side of it..which it did, but had a ruddy great fence too so I couldn’t get on to it. Score for the day 40km gusts, 26km distance, pooey attitude.