Japanese Advice – OT
I’ve been to Japan before (for work), but never tried to do much of anything beyond walk around Kamakura and oggle Daibutsu one day. Work is sending me back, and I was wondering if it might be easier to oggle/use some of the cycling infrastructure they’ve got there (I don’t remember seeing much, but I was working 20 hrs a day).
Anybody have any pointers for the 17 extra minutes I might have during which I’m not working or sleeping? I’m reluctant to play in traffic, but a trail or two would be fun on a rented bike, but I dont’ remember seeing anything like that as possible.
If it matters, I’m staying near Shinagawa station (Tokyo area) and working in Kehin (nothing to do there, it’s manufacturing far as the eye can see).
Have you read (Talking Heads) David Byrne’s “Bicycle Diaries” ? He takes a folder with him as he travels and has a chapter about riding in all these different cities. Alas no Toykyo. Places like Berlin, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Syndey. It has some funny stories in it that might inspire you.
I’ve never read that (it’s on my reading list for the winter, so often recommended!), but found out there’s places to rent near our hotel, and learned that the laws in Tokyo are pretty much like Pittsburgh. Lots of people on the sidewalk, though, not hipsters either, but they’re moving slow, and often head down side streets. I have yet to see a Japanese hipster on a bike.
They do have bike registration here, I think it’s a free sticker kind of thing, but I’m not sure.
I’ve also noticed TONS of folders, like easily 25% of the bikes I’ve seen so far are folders. And locking bikes up, at least in Takanawa, is more a suggestion of security. Most bikes I see have a cable lock immobilizing the back wheel but not fixing the bike to a stationary item. One bike (folder) had a cable lock threaded through the brake/shifter cables and around a railing as the only lock.
Might just be the area I’m in, I’ll get to explore more this weekend.
re: “I have yet to see a Japanese hipster on a bike.”
If you can, check out a place called W-base, in Shibuya-ku, looks pretty sweet. The system isn’t letting me do a link right now, for some reason. Somethin interesting going on Saturday morning. Have fun.
Your observations sound about par for the course. I was living just north of Tokyo this summer, and don’t think I ever saw a u-lock. Most of the bikes I saw were either cheap 3-speed basket bikes with just a rear wheel lock, or super-high-end road bikes that were never left unattended.
There’s some nice riding out in the countryside (including a few rail trails), but I never had a bike with me on my city excursions. One good strategy is to look for rivers (especially towards the edges of the urban areas), where there is often a path along the levees.
edmonds – this place? http://www.w-base.com/ I have no idea what’s going on this Saturday (looks like a few things, from the promo posters), but if I can it looks like it’s worth a trip.
escargonaut – we’re staying right near a viaduct type thing (maybe canal?) with nice trails, and I’ll ask about trails/country side. It would be nice to find bikeable trails near Kamakura, hopefully that’s “country” enough
If you need to name a bike part just add a “u” to the end of its name and you’re good to go:
ball bearings bo-o-ru be-a-ri-n-gu ????????
Yes, that’s the place I was looking at! The website “prolly is not probably” has a review, in English.
The thing on Sat that looked interesting is the “Playhard Riding School”, 10:30 am. Could be a hoot.
search “prolly is not probably tokyo bike shop”
Ooh, there’s hipster bike culture in Osaka. Only Japanese hipsters are different looking from Americans. We saw many overly made-up couples riding on BMX style bikes. The boy usually drives while the girl rides on the handlebars, but sometimes it’s the other way around.
Hey, any chance you’re going back to Kamakura? I just lost my Daibutsu phone charm and I’d love to score another one!
I could recommend some non-cycling things to do around Tokyo if you’re interested, we were there almost exactly 2 years ago.
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