Monthly Archives: June 2015

Lake Teganuma – Walk and Ride

First free and sunny day of the summer break. So off I go. I looked at my places to cycle map and decide on Lake Teganuma. It is about an hour away, flat, and apparently has a cycle path most of the way around. I found a place to park and invited a couple of friends for a short work at the beginning of the jaunt. I had chosen the only paid parking lot around the whole lake, we soon walked passed another that was completely free and almost empty. I moved the dot on the map to that place.

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Look at that sky!! Look at it 🙂

It is rainy season here and I have missed the blue sky. I wish I had brought my blue giant bike, but I wasn’t sure of some of the roads and decided against it. In the end it was a wise decision, but that was due to my own poor choice of paths not the lake’s fault.

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The path at the start was great, perfect for cycling and walking.

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Look I have friends!!! Tree-Hugger is pregnant and over-prepared man is the father. That one time he wasn’t quite so prepared 😉

Anyway, they came for a walk and to explore so I pushed my bike for a couple of kilometers. The whole lake is ladened with geocaches so we searched for a few. In the end I found six and then gave up as there was too much stopping and starting, plus there was a massive spider guarding one of them. It frightened me off a little. Huge HUGE!!

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It really is a lovely place to go for a walk. There are lots of benches, a bird museum, from 1st July there are water features too, and in wisteria season, loads of, well, wisteria

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At this point my pregnant friend was done in and had to satisfy the urge for curry. So from this point I cycled. The statistics and map of the rest of my journey can be found here. The gap in the track is where we walked.

At this point there seemed to be an influx of birds, did they know about the museum. Look, three little birds. All different kinds.

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Duck duck coot

And then swans galore, actually a “wedge” of swans, who knew? There were loads of birds around the lake, perfect if you happen to run a bird photography group.

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Later on the cycle I passed a shrine with a huge rock carving of a sumo guy. I stopped to take a picture and almost missed the actual dojo on the ground further away. The shrine is called Genshima Shrine and can be found at coordinates 35.840905, 140.142412. I found nothing about it on the net, so if you know anything please add a comment.

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This box had a peep hole. Usually I wouldn’t do this, but as it is in the middle of nowhere and it is not like you are going to do the peeping….I took a picture of the inside.

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And on with the ride. The path is better closer to the actual lake. The paths around the tributaries are none existent. That means if you have a road bike stick to the lake side. I will go back and do it again in wisteria time, with my road bike and stick to the path. I decided to go a bit further as I am a super rider now 😉 That meant I got to see the sumo shrine.

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The writing on the path says walkers this side, cyclists this side. They are big letters aren’t they. You would think that it would be easy to follow. Hmm.

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It was a lovely day. I took my time, but still got a Queen of the Mountain on Strava, though I do think they need to change that QOM as there wasn’t any Ms, but still, I do love a QOM.

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Bye, bye bumble

I gave my bumble bike away this week. I just wasn’t using it. For me, it was too heavy to take on trains and too uncomfortable to take in my car and ride a long way. I would rather take the wheel off one of my other bikes.

So the reason I started this whole blog was the bike and the bike now lives with a friend. I didn’t ask for money or anything in return. I am just happy someone will use bumble and take it places…because it is not an inanimate object.

🙂

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Bye, bye, bumble.

Upgraded and Serviced, Giant are Awesome

ok when I say upgraded, I don’t mean my whole Giant bike, I mean bits of it. A friend gave me some vouchers for a Trek shop, so I went for a look. The bikes were very expensive, the shoes were expensive, even the bags were expensive. So I used my vouchers to get new gloves and a new phone holder as mine were a bit tatty…but the bikes were beyond my meagre finances.

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Just up the road was a Specialized shop too, today would be a cycle to all the cycle shops day. The Trek shop was friendly, but basically I was left alone to wander about. It was posh and a bit expensive. The Specialized shop also seemed to be expensive, not so friendly either.

So I decided to cycle to the Giant shop, I do have a giant bike after all and I thought, well I can’t get a new bike, but I can get some new handlebar tape. Plus my gears had been jumping a little so a service was a possibility too. When I walked into the shop I was immediately approached by a friendly staff member, so I took advantage. I tried on some shoes, I asked questions and all the time the staff were great. In the end I bought the shoes, new pedals, handlebar tape, and got my bike serviced. It’s not even a special bike, just an older model, a bit beaten up too. But the staff treated me like I had bought a pro bike. I love Giant.         

I knew the old pedals were stuck, I tried to take them off before and failed miserably. The Giant staff did it and said the thread was broken, but it is ok now. There were a few other things that needed addressing, but they did it all for the $30 service.

Now, I have never used clip on shoes before and was a little nervous. But again Giant service was awesome. They put my bike on a stand and gave me training. They made sure I could clip and unclip before I left the shop. They told me how to do it safely. On my 10km journey home I did not have a single issue and loved my spanky new stuff. I even gave my bike a wash.

Kasumigaura Circuit

Yesterday I finally had nothing to do so I decided to complete a goal I had set at the beginning of the school year, cycle around the main part of Lake Kasumigaura. I had cycled the smaller section before, but this part is about 97km around.

Here is the activity information.

Setting off from the park I felt great, but had a nagging feeling of, “what the hell and I doing, I have only cycled 50km recently.’ My English brain said, “it’s fine, it’s flat…a kids could do that.”

I started at Kasumigaura Park, free parking, toilets, windmill…what more could you want? It was busy, by 9am the car park was full. Luckily I have the world’s smallest car and could squeeze in a reduced size bay.
          

I had a bit of a wander around the park then headed anti-clockwise, against my nature but I had been that way before for about 30km along. A little way up from the park is Yokaren Peace Memorial Museum. I haven’t visited there yet, but a friends says it is very interesting. It has information about kamakazi pilots who set off from this area.

A little further away I arrived at this hill. It is next to a shrine. Being the start of the trip I felt fit and ambitious. Last time my friend tested himself by trying to get to the top. I failed miserably. So I decided to try again.

  

…and failed again, worse. My back tyre slipped on the green stuff, I put my foot down to stop myself falling, got a cramp in my other foot. Decisions, hit the deck and stretch calf or stay upright a deal with the pain. Nothing in it, hit the deck. I ended up with my bike hitting my knee which I knew would leave a big bruise. I carried on with the ride, nursing my pride.

  

At the 30km mark you get to a 7/11, which is the furthest I have been on the trip before. Time for breakfast and look at a swallow nest that had some fledging chicks…duck and avoid incompetent chicks. At this point I met a group of about 10 riders also doing the trip. And, see the lady getting out of the car, a parent from my school. The car is full of students from my school too. I was suddenly a star and got lots of attention.

  

After avoiding birds and minding my manners it was back on with the trip.    

I got a new shirt on eBay 🙂 it caused a lot of stares along the way.

  

The road around the lake is mostly like this, with very few cars. A couple of times you have to via away from the lake, but basically you have a 90km+ safe route. Not many places in the world you can say that.

 

At around 50km there is a great place to stop for lunch and a dip in a foot onsen. The pizza was delicious. 

  

  

Here is a location picture. I am using the iPhone app, so a map dot is tricky.

  
The foot bath was great. And now for the second half. 

To help me get through it I split the whole thing up into 15km segments in my head. I watched an interview with Bradley Wiggins and he said he did that for the hour challenge. Ok, so about 7 segments, I had done 3 and was on the fourth. Just 15km I could do that. I passed the group again at this point, one of them had a puncture. I realised with dread I didn’t have a puncture kit on me, stupid, fingers crossed is not the best strategy.

I was fine until the 80km mark. At that point I realised I had never cycled this far before and my butt really started to complain. The last segment was awful and I cursed everyone and everything.

Finally I managed to get back to the park. I sat/lay down on a bench and texted a friend. Then I looked at the GPS, 98km.

 

98!! Ok I had to do 2 more, had to. But then the strava challenge this month was 115km, could I do that?? By God I would try. And I did. I now had the right to buy this shirt. Earned the right.
 

It is $120, not sure though. My very shaky legs say I earned it, my wallet and brain says my skeleton shirt is fine. Not sure I will ever earn another though.

I am incredibly proud of myself so I might get it. I cycled 117km or 70miles in 6.5hours. 

I put on 50spf suncream and still have lovely farmer’s arms.  

The next day the only thing that really hurts is my new bruise from the fall.  

But at least it is a heart 🙂

Mount Houkyou and a break

I feel like I haven’t been on my bike for ages. It’s the end of a school year and that means reports. And for me that means working weekends as I don’t like working early or too late at school. Every report session means I have to write 30,000 words, with evidence, proof read many times. A dissertation on student achievements. And just when you think you have finished, a child does something you said they absolutely couldn’t and you have to rewrite them. Bless the little cherubs. Every teacher in the world hates writing them. If they say they don’t they are crazy or lying.

Anyway, I got sick to death of them this weekend and went out twice. First I went on an hour ride in honour of Bradley Wiggin’s and the hour challenge. I was so close, really….of course not. But on Strava.com I am first on two of the segments I created. I made them near my house and nobody else has gone on them yet 🙂 So I am the first for a day at least. I managed 22.2km, so less than half the world record, but it was windy. When I got back I tried to finish the reports, but failed. I was close to that too.

It did mean I was confident I could finish on Sunday, so I went for a cycle around Mount Houkyou. I had previous made a route when a student (8 years old) gave me a map and said it was a nice place to go. So I thought I would take her advice. I also added a few shrines to the route. I have been going up and down Mount Tsukuba recently, but I thought I would just have a pleasure ride today. Here is a gallery of photos from the route. It seems to look weird on the iMac, but click on a photo to see the full view.

Here is my route. At one point you can see I start going up “Furits Lane”, which I think is supposed to say fruits as there are many “fruits” about. But I couldn’t remember the elevation of the road and it was a pleasure ride. So I changed my mind. When I checked at home I found it was much steeper than my usual up and down route. There was also a huge snake on the road, but I always end up stopping and watching them slither away… and forget to take a photo. All in all a lovely day, and I finished my reports.