Tag Archives: bike

Lofthouse Colliery Cycle

Well, after getting obsessed with cameras for a while, I am now back to cycling a bit more. I think the Tour De France might have had some influence, but without Sagan and Cavendish it was a close call.

I am back in the UK for a month and the weather is playing ball. Today I took out my two bikes from my shed and checked them over. They seemed ok, but the tyres needed a pump.

Then I set off on a very short ride around a local trail just to check the gears. I didn’t want to go far in case anything happened….like a tyre going flat.

I am lucky to live next to an old colliery that has been repurposed into a walking and cycle trail. Here is a video I found on youtube about the site.

It will amuse anyone who knows me because of the accents. (See, I have changed my voice so you can understand me better)

Anyway, it was a short jaunt today, just dipping my foot into the water, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it and how easy it was on my eBay bike. The trail is part of the Wonders of Wakefield cycle route.

Hopefully, I will get to do some other parts of the route before I return to Japan.

And here are my tiny stats.


RinRin and Free Pears

I have actually been cycling a fair bit recently, but I have gotten out of the habit of adding blog posts. I have been obsessing with my camera blog instead. Yesterday I did go for a blog worthy ride, but despite the million cameras I have, I completely forgot to take one with me. Therefore no photos of my fellow riders or need for pseudonyms.

The destination for the trip was the good old RinRin Road, which of course I have written about before. Here and here and here.  I made a new map of the road because I could. You don’t really need a map until one point where the road disappears for a little while.

I even added two toilet stop and parking places 🙂

Anyway for this ride we headed to the lower stop at Fujisawa as there was a special event… Free pears from Ibaraki for cyclists. Who can resist?

Here is their website about the event, from which I stole the featured image. Hopefully you are using a web browser that will automatically translate the site from Japanese. And here is their Facebook page so you can find out about more events.

I live about 12-15km from the road depending on the entry point. There are a few teachers now living in my area so we made a village trip. Two of the attendees were children and most of us had not ridden much recently. That made for a slow ride. As you can see from the stats at the end of this blog our average speed was 12km an hour. To be honest that is not bad considering two children and two mamachari bikes with no gears.

It is a straight road to the RinRin from our village, but not the best for cycling on so we stuck to the paths, which is not legal, but much safer and rarely stopped.

Anyway, it took us a while to get there as it was a hot day. By the time we did arrive we were thirsty and hungry. The pears were delicious. After some of us headed to the mall for icecream, then we all headed home for a nap.

Here is our route and stats. The others were really curious about the Strava suffer score. I can see that strava maps are still not embedding properly, which is disappointing.





Clifton Suspension Bridge and Bristol

And on with my recovery. I decided to go a little further afield for my next ride and incorporated it into a weekend away.

Recently every time I looked for the location of something or researched something the answer always seemed to be Bristol. I wanted to know which UK city was the most bike friendly, it was Bristol. I then found out that Bristol was also named the UK’s first cycling city.

I also love bridges, for some strange reason, and wanted to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge. The location of said bridge, Bristol.

I wanted to get a camera fixed, the location of the camera shop – Bristol. Sorted, I had to go. So I booked my very first AirBnB room, loaded up the bike in the pope mobile (Renault Kangoo to you). You can quite easily fit two bikes in this car/van without taking any wheels off. And a shout out to my hosts, thanks for the lovely breakfast and warm welcome.

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Oh my god, Bristol is hilly. I had not read that anywhere. For someone recovering from a bad back that was not the plan. In the end I decided to walk and ride around the area. If Froome can run without a bike in a bike race, then I can push a bike up a hill.

OK, so first stop on my route was the bridge. It is very high, really high. Apparently 330ft above the water. Not good for someone afraid of heights. Plus it did seem quite narrow and I am sure the barrier should be higher. Cycling or walking over it is free, but £1 for cars. I saved £2 by cycling. I can buy a new pair of pants.

Once I was over I went to the visitor’s center then sat for a while wondering where to go next. I noticed a large green area just hill away. This turned out to be Ashton Court. It was lovely and the route to the main house was all down hill. I was not looking forward to the push back up.

This would be a great place to spend the whole day. There is even a mountain bike center. As I already had a bike I didn’t visit, just stopped for a sandwich in a stable converted to a cafe.

Then it was back up the hill and across the bridge to the Clifton Observatory.

Around this point you are forced to walk even though it is flat, due to big letters painted on the paths saying NO CYCLING. Spoilsports.

Finally I ended my journey with a trip to the zoo. I felt like I had cycled far and wide. But it turned out I only traveled 10km. Here are my stats.


And here are some zoo photos for fun.

Finally, cycling Pugneys and Sandal Castle

Well, what a crappy run of luck. Influenza A and probably B, bad back yadda yadda yadda. I have not been running or hardly on a bike for a couple of months maybe more. To top it all, the day before I leave for my summer in the uk something happened to my back again and I was in excruciating pain in the mornings for over 4 weeks. I ended up with daily pain killers and a back brace.

BUT guess what. I am almost ok. I am finally able to cycle around and about, though for 20km at the most. I can work with that. I can build on that.

So where did I go for my first cycle?

Just around my home town in the UK, Wakefield. There are quite a few cycling routes around and a number of websites with details. Including this one. When I had to visit my mum in the hospice I had to go up Ouchthorpe Lane every day. Boy it was hard and it only got a little easier. I really struggled this time and almost gave up, but I didn’t. Then I trundled off to a local country park and a castle. There is always a castle somewhere nearby in the UK, though they are not always intact.

Sandal Castle is on a mound and you can see it from quite a way off. But for some reason I couldn’t find the road from Pugneys Country Park. I eventually stopped to ask an old bloke walking his dogs. In typical Yorkshire fashion he replied, “Can you not see it on top of the ruddy hill?” I said I could, but did not know the best route. So he then informed me, “Well, its best to go along that path, but hark on that bloody farmer has just ploughed the damn field again.”

True enough, I pushed my bike over the field and up the side of the moat. Once I caught a couple of pokemon on the castle I headed home. Feeling refreshed and happy.

Here is my route and stats. It turns out I wasn’t as slow up the hill as I thought. It was my second best time.


Ok, so barring a change of luck I will add more rides.


Kokaigawa Towards Toride

Yeah, a sunny, none-windy day and I am not sick!!

I was so happy to get out on what still feels like my new bike today. I went along my usual route towards a lovely park, but then I thought, “Why do I alway turn at this point? What is the other way?”

So I decided to check and I am so happy I did. It was gorgeous. I was in a great mood so I might have had rose colour glasses on. I rode all the way to what seemed like the end of the road/cycle path. I am sure there was a little further I could have gone, but I haven’t been out so much lately so I decided not to push it. In the end I did just under 50km.

Here is my route. Seems like embedding Strava still does not work..only on the preview.

There seemed to be some work being done on one side of the dyke/levee, maybe due to the recent flooding. This website has a ton of information about that.

Along the route I saw two huge Koi-No-Bori ready for Children’s Day on the 5th May.

I spent a long time looking at them, they are so beautiful. They also made me think of the children of Kumamoto and how they will be celebrating this festival. I still get alerts on my phone telling me there are large earthquakes there quite often. Here is a website with information and ways you can help. Myself and Japan have really had a crappy year, well, things can only get better.

Here are some photos of the koi-no-bori.

I also stopped for a rest under some wisteria, which is out in force right now. Japan really is a beautiful place in the spring.


Rinrin and Cherry Blossoms

I haven’t been riding as much as I would like recently. Mainly due to weather, health and new hobbies. But despite a sore throat that later turned into tonsillitis I got in my rental car and drove to one end of the Rinrin.


I have written about this road before. If you live in Japan or visit at this time of the year and like cycling then this ride is a MUST.

Why? well look at the photos and see. The road is lined with cherry and plum trees so there are blossoms galore.

At some points it was like riding through snow and unlike Tokyo it is not so busy.

As it was a little windy going out I only went as far as the castle ruins then turned back. You can see by my speeds that the wind made it an easier return. There were a few people taking advantage of the recent, rare blue sky. I even saw a film crew shooting an advertisement..or TV Show, not sure.

Here is my route and stats.



Surprise Cycle in Negombo, Sri Lanka

After everything that has happened lately I decided to extend my layover on the way back to Japan. I was supposed to be in Colombo, Sri Lanka for 20 hours, lovely thought,  I changed it to 5 days. I booked a place that was close enough to the airport to be convenient, but far enough away to relax. I looked at the ratings on booking.com and chose a place with a high rating with good value. It is in the middle of nowhere so unless you like your own company or are with friends who are adventurous, it might not be the place for you. If you like relaxing and can keep yourself occupied then it is perfect.

I am sure I read this quote once, “If you are bored in your own company then your company isn’t very good.” I am not sure who said it, wrote it..or if I made it up myself, but I think it is true.

Anyway, I love it here…I am the only guest in the whole complex. The cook showed me how to make roti and took me to her friend’s house for tea and biscuits.

But, I can only sit around for so long and asked if they had a bike..the cook lent me hers for the morning. As you can see from the map, there is one road. I could either go north or south. As I walked north yesterday I headed south as far as my butt could stand..or sit.

Here is the link for the ride details.

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This is a strip of land separating the sea and a lagoon.
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It is north of the capital and close to the airport.

If I had my giant bike I would have thought about going all the way around the lagoon. But this is the bike I had…

No gears, a bit flat, seat too low..but beggars can’t be choosers…brakes worked though.
My first stop. Basically if I didn’t stop at the churches I might not have stopped at all. This is quite a religious country.


No lock, but this seems such a friendly, safe country.

At first I was worried about the traffic, they seemed to drive a bit crazily on the drive from the airport. But here I felt very safe, even with no helmet. The buses and trucks always beeped when they were approaching and gave me lots of space.

I saw lots of school boys on bikes, all going a leisurely pace. I seemed to be going quite quick in comparison. A few of the boys cycled by the side of me and chatted, asked questions. They seemed surprised when they asked where I was going and I answered I didn’t know.

Even the dogs are relaxed.


Another church, a little man let me in this one to wander around.


I stopped for churches and puppies.
Eventually I won its trust, but not being able to offer a home there wasn’t much I could give other than a smile.
When I got to this canal I saw a beautiful blue bird. It looked and acted like a kingfisher, but I couldn’t get a photo.
I did see this nest though.
Later I saw I had captured a bird inside.
and another kind…but no kingfisher.

After a quick search I found the bird I had seen, an Asian Fairy-Bluebird. The entry says it is usually seen in pairs and I did see two, so I definitely think this was it. So not a kingfisher..they are elusive.

Yesterday a man invited me into his hut for tea, he had nothing but was willing to share. I said no and regretted it. Today a fisherman asked me to sit and chat. I said yes. He invited me out on his boat tomorrow morning…I said no, I am not that much of a risk-taker.

In all I rode 14km and my butt felt like I had done 60+ I am not sure I will borrow the bike again as there is only one road. But it was a lovely experience.