Tag Archives: yellow

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.

Just a Rin

Today I cycled to one end of the Rin-Rin in Tsukuba then cycled half the route. I will cycle the rest on another day as this trip was 75km for me. The whole Rin-Rin is about 42km.

I have cycled it before a couple of times so I was not too bothered by not finishing it today.

Here is a map of the start of the Rin Rin from Iwase.

And here is a link to a map of the whole RinRin route.

My cycle to the starting point took me 40km, I used my gps to avoid going uphill. It was a perfect day for a ride. A porridge day, not too hot, not too cold.

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The vegetables were out and so was I.

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The butterflies were out too.

I had planned on going to Mcdonalds for breakfast, but when I arrived at the RinRin I was so happy that I just kept cycling. I didn’t go out last weekend and felt a bit hard done by, what with my nice clean bike and all. Then I realised how lucky I am, not going out one weekend and I feel sad. It means I go out a lot and have loads of places to go.

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This is the map at the start of the route, the real route. Just to prove I was actually there. The rinrin is an old railway route that was turned into a cycle path. It is also lined with cherry trees so is stunning to ride along in the spring. It is a great route at any time of the year though. With rest stations (bathrooms) along the route, a 7/11, cafes and places to hire bicycles, plus it is flat…what more could you want?

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There are abandoned stations along the way which are perfect for a rest or a picnic. And handy mile markers so you know how far you have come or gone.

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Of course there are great views of Mount Tsukuba all the way along the route.

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This is one of the places where you can hire bicycles. There is a shop around the corner where you can get a key to a lock. This place also has car parks and is on the bus route if you don’t want to cycle there.

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This time I got to mile/km marker 19ish and stopped for a coffee at the place I usually stop. At that point I checked my map and if I finished it and went home it would be a 90+km day and I wasn’t up for that. So I decided to quit and go back another day from that point to finish it and then cycle home.

Each time I go on this route I stop at

ピットストップつくば北条

Which you can find here:


I recommend this place for a number of reasons…

  • It has a car park and they don’t mind you leaving your car while you cycle
  • The coffee is great and only 300yen with a biscuit
  • The lady who works there speaks English and is very friendly.
    • She remembered me from a year ago and could chat to me about my summer holiday, bit spooky but nice
  • I think they have bikes to rent and equipment to fix bikes
  • There is a clean toilet
  • You can get food at certain times of the day, but just ask the kind lady
  • It has the best cherry trees nearby
  • And best of all it is almost half way between the two ends if you don’t want to cycle up and down the whole thing twice.

I enjoyed today, when I first cycled this route I could not make 25km, so I am pleased with today’s efforts.

 

Kokaigawa River

There is a small road that runs along the Kokaigawa River near Tsukuba in Ibaraki, Japan. This river is very long and from my starting point I could have gone north or south. This time I chose north as the weather forecast said it might rain and I knew the way home from the north side.

Here is where I started from.

 

If you go here during the cherry blossom season the south route has hundreds of trees…another reason for going north this time. Look out for the next post around April or May. Incidentally if you are every around here during July the park where I started from has a water feature for kids to play in that is pretty awesome. The huge slide is pretty cool too. Adults can only play when nobody is watching so no pictures here. I know the map makes this place hard to see, but it is at the bottom of the reservoir.

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There is a free car park and two toilet blocks here. And on with the journey. As this route follows the river it is pretty flat and as it is quite rural there are quite a few hidden treasures along the route so keep your eyes peeled.

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I cycled along for a while until I saw a sign for a local temple. This is also a good place to cross to the other side of the river. if you don’t cross here you might get lost later or run out of road. This temple looks deserted most of the time but it is quite active. They have festivals, bonfires for daruma in the new year and lots of other activities..including taiko drumming. A friend of mine loves this temple and made a wiki page for it, which you can find here.

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This shrine is so friendly there is even a sign in English demonstrating how to pray.

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As you can see I am on drippy today as I am fairly close to my home, no car journey today.

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This is the view from the bridge. This bridge is quite old and was damaged in the 3/11 earthquake. It has now been repaired, but its use is restricted to small vehicles.

As you cycle along there are many small shrines, so if you are not in a hurry stop and take a look.

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There is Mount Tsukuba.

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My destination today was the Aeon mall in Shimotsuma. I have never been to this mall, but it was like most other malls in Japan. And look at that sky…no rain today, the weather man lied.

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Of course being a mall there was an abundance of choices for lunch, but no buns dancing..disappointing.

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Hmmm pizza. At this point I had cycled 26km, 10km to the park and 16km from the park to the mall. I have earned a small pizza.

Across the road from the mall on the right be looking at the map..if you move it up a bit to Shimotsuma, is Kokaigawafureai Park. This has a funky building in the shape of a butterfly. There is a small museum type thing inside with examples of other insects, I think from memory, I didn’t go in today. The reason for my non-entry is the fact that on the ride I got in the face by a large grasshopper and near misses from other. I was all insected out.

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This place is a perfect place for a picnic and if I had remembered it was here I would have bought a sandwich or bento at the mall and ate it here. There are many things for children to do and a few things for adults too. Like a mini golf course and lots of flowers!!

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Look at the size of those sunflowers, my hand is huge by the way, I really needed a banana for scale. (my hands are tiny)

As I was cycling I decided to use an app I downloaded a while ago, but never used…imotion. It takes stop motion videos on your phone or ipad. Here is one way of the cycle, 16km in 4:31 minutes.

I will do this trip again as it is good exercise, easy, and accessible for me. It is better with a friend though…you know who you are….now all my friends are going “me”…yes you 😉

Yakuo-in Temple, Mount Tsukuba

Today was a rainy, rainy day. It started bad and I thought it would get worse, but I had decided to go cycling come rain or shine. I didn’t quite expect quite so much rain though.

It wasn’t raining when I set off otherwise I might not have gone to be honest. I got down to checking the bike..the white one not yellow. There was no way I was attempting a trek, not a jaunt, on the bumblebike. The tyres seemed a little flat so I got down to pumping them up….

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…and then the bike fell over and snapped off the valve ppppssssssssssss, flat.

Luckily I live in Japan and a 15 minute walk led me to a bike repair shop, a new back tyre, 2 new inner tubes..maybe I need brake pads? nah not now. And off I went..in search of a temple on a mountain.

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It was a bit cloudy and rain had been forecast for later, I could see the mountain in the distance….and then I couldn’t, the heavens opened and didn’t stop much for the rest of the day. By this point I had already got my bike repaired, cycled 10km, so I though bugger it and carried on.

IMG_1567 Nope, no mountain here.

This is my white bike, a name??champion the wonder bike? snowy? I think after today it is “drippy”. Please meet drippy, I am not painting it yellow to keep in with the title of the blog.

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I use this bike for longer rides and today was going to be about 50km and up a mountain. I usually take a GPS to guide me as there are many back roads around here and I easily get lost. It also works out routes for bikes based on speed, distance, or elevation. Today I chose elevation, can it get me up a mountain without the “UP” part. Plus it helps me geocache.

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I think I am the drippy one!

 

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I love my GPS and it is waterproof. By this point it was raining so much I couldn’t see through my sunglasses so I took them off and attached them by some velcro on my torch.

 

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Another good thing about Japan is the frequent convenience stores, combinis, selling hot coffee and having conveniences. They are indeed very convenient…hey, where the hell are my sunglasses?? What the?? someone stole them!!! No this is Japan, one of the safest countries in the world, apart from earthquakes, typhoons, floods, tsunamis, nuclear accidents… but things general don’t get stolen or people get hurt. I refuse to believe it and I am proved right after backtracking a kilometre and there they were on the floor.

By now I am 4km-ish from the temple and GPS and geography fail me as the rest of the journey is uphill. I am happy to say I cycled in my lowest gear all the way up. I am happy to say it because I don’t have a problem with lying through my teeth. I did manage 200 metres, next time it might be more. Slowly does it.

 

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Even though it was raining, it is summer and the rain was warm. It was refreshing and kept me cool. I was wearing gloves so my hands didn’t slip on the  handles, but it did give me crinkled fingers..hate to think about my crinklebum.

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I finally arrived at the temple and due to the weather it was completely empty. It is called Yakou-in Temple and was established in 782 AD. There isn’t much in English on the net, but what Google translated it has something to do with dried yam medicine. It is also the start of a walking trail up Mount Tsukuba. It has a three storey pagoda and lots of big chinquapin trees, some 400 years old…can you see them?

 

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After a quick look around, and finding the cache, it was time for the fun part….GOING DOWN!!!!

I have to say cycling or freewheeling down a mountain in rain is truly exhilarating, should have got those new brake pads though. The roads really do get slippy, and for dippy’s sake do not brake on a rain grate!!

I only slipped 3 times and managed to stay upright every time.

It was a smashing day, despite the rain I really enjoyed myself. I didn’t feel tired at all..well not until I hit 50km and realised I still had 3km to go. It might have been the cycling pants though, cycling pants and no pants..revelation, much more comfy.

As for the temple I actually went there before on a drier day. Here are some pictures from that occasion.

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There is also a fantastic gate that I didn’t take a picture of, something for next time.

Here is a map of the temple if you want to visit it yourself. I walked, pushed the bike up the wiggle bit on the left.

 

 

References

http://nano87-batake.at.webry.info/201403/article_4.html
http://www.yamareco.com/modules/yamareco/detail-427025.html (this has a map for the walking route)

 

Watarase Ryokuchi Park, Tochigi

Another scorching day, at least a real feel of 34. There is supposed to be a storm coming so I want to get out while I can. Plus I will have to start work soon. For this jaunt I remembered to take more water and drank 3 litres, but still only managed 25km. I am finding the little yellow bike is much harder to travel around on than my bigger white bike. Less gears, smaller wheels, and I never wear cycle shorts… because it is just a jaunt not a trek. That might change after today.

Here a map of the area I cycled around, as you can see the lake/reservoir is shaped like a heart. It says lake on the map…but it looked A LOT like a reservoir to me.

There are lots of free parking spaces all around the lake. I stayed in car park number 1 as it seemed to be huge on the map. There is also a toilet block, picnic area (no BBQ please), and cycle hire if you don’t have a little yellow bike. The coordinates for the toilet block are: 36.226394, 139.669506. If you can read/speak Japanese there are lots of water sports around here. Or a bird hide for the more relaxed of you.

This was a lookout and a bit of information center at the top of the car park. The cycle hire and toilets are at the other end..walk away from this if that is where you want to go.

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From the top you can see all around, flat and full of vegetation.

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There are binoculars to look even further or spy on the wildlife. There are some mountains in the background and you will find a sign in this building with the names of them.

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I set off away from the car park and the heart shaped lake, silly me. But as you can see the road was so empty and inviting.

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Yeap, on this blog I am even going to add a few pictures of me. Not many, so enjoy my happiness!!IMG_1521 IMG_1522IMG_1523

 

Depending on where you are the roads switch from tarmac to gravel. Both are flat and somewhat monotonous. At this time of year the reeds are so tall that I, short little me, could not see over them. I also got hit by a few flying cicadas, which was not pleasant.

 

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This speaker was by a gate and was activated by movement. When you got close to it a woman’s voice blared out, “oi you on the bike, take your rubbish home with you, and don’t go starting any fires or such like…you untrustworthy gaijin!!!”

No it didn’t..apart from the rubbish part.

I cycled around for a bit contemplating, why are the caches so far apart, why can’t I find any, why didn’t I go to the toilet, why is it so hot making me drink so much, the tarmac feels like fire, oh god I hope I don’t get a puncture, why are all the bridges closed….crap I need to go over that one to get to the shrine I also want to visit.

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Bugger it, I am sure it means no cars, not..no bumblebikes!?

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See, nice sturdy bridge after all.

 

After risking life and limb crossing this bridge I went to a nearby shrine, the coordinates are: 36.215383, 139.707979

This is Nogi Shrine and has a special purpose.

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Boobies!! Apparently these are made from rice bran and women leave them here when they pray for good breast milk for their babies. Boobs and hearts all in one day. Well, that was worth the cycle 🙂

Anyway back to the lake and my car.

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Reservoir!!

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This is at the other end of the car park, if you go the sensible way first. This is where you can rent bicycles and buy more water.

 

I think I will have a break now for a few days. Too much bumblebike is bad for the bumblebum.

 

References
http://www.achikochi-kanko.jp/spot/detail.php?kaidoId=&categoryId=1&lang=english&spotId=2250

 

Welcome to the BumbleBike!

I decided seeing as I have a nice portablish bike and I want to get fitter and do more stuff and blah, blah, blah then this is the perfect subject for my new blog. I was looking for a theme as I finished the last blog which you can see here.

http://luckywalkstokyo.wordpress.com/

The theme of this blog is the bike, not gods or specific places, just the bike. Actually it might be a other bikes too, but for now it is a yellow one…you never know what can happen to a bike or a person.

yellow bike
The Bumble Bike

I bought the bike on a whim thinking I could take it on trains and travel around. Turns out 11kg is light at the beginning of the day, but oh so heavy at the end. Plus putting it in that tiny bag is a pain in the ***. So actually I think I have only taken it two places on the train…but oh wait thinks I..I have a car. I can actually fit it on my back seat, even though my car isn’t much bigger. That opens up a whole new world (well, probably 100-200km). No packed trains, no packed bag. The world is my bumblebike. Let the journeys begin…maybe?!