Thursday 27th April 2017 Tokyo to Onomichi
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Both Sally and my sister kept getting on at me for not trying out the bullet trains in Japan. Since I had a week left before my flight home I decided to bite the bullet (gettit). So yesterday I went to the main Tokyo station and bought a 7-day Tourist Pass, the kind lady said it was much cheaper to buy it at home. 🙁 so with that comment I then upgraded to the Green Coach! like first class in the UK.
With the pass, the next challenge was to get a bag for the bike, since like the TGV, bikes are only allowed on Shinkansen in bags. My plan was to return to Onomichi and do the 7 Island tour to Imarari which everyone raves about, it’s only 70km so a lovely day ride with a railway station at the end 🙂
I rode around 3 bike shops (thank goodness for the wonders of OSM and maps.me) at the final shop, Bicycle SEO, I found the perfect bag! Designed for hefty MTB’s the Ostrich 5 bag neatly rolls into a 4″ Diameter 10″ long cylinder. Totally perfect for touring. Bit pricey at £56 but its really good quality (Wiggle needs to sell them).
Today was the first test. I walked the bike to the barriers to be given a firm NO, so I found an empty area, removed the front wheel (it has its own bag in the kit), took the pedals off and rotated the handlebars around (I nearly let the tyres down. 🙁 but no altitude change today) and wallah in it went perfectly. I was allowed through this time with no problem.
It was impressive to see a team of cleaners, 4 for each carriage all looking very smart & cheerful when the train pulled in. The bike fitted behind the seats in row17 perfectly, standing it on its haunches, then we shot off. Maximum speed my GPS said was 293km/hr (183mph) this was the first track built so not up to the latest speeds. Staggering the smoothness even more amazing is when two opposing trains meet in a tunnel there is no buffeting. The train arrived in Okayama, on time of course, where I had 3 minutes to change trains. Unbelievably, for someone brought up in the UK, the next train was 10 feet away with its door to the correct carriage exactly (i mean to within 1″) opposite my exit door – total transfer time 3 seconds!! it then seemed I was waiting for ages for the train to leave.
At Onomichi it took me 14 minutes (will be a lot quicker next time) to reassemble the bike and be on my way to town and the Green Hill Hotel right next to the ferry to the first island tomorrow 🙂 The town itself feels so much better than 15 days ago in the pouring rain. Although the guide, I met outside, from the Grasshopper Adventures cycling group said it was foul here yesterday!
The Ostrich bag has me thinking whether to use it for the plane, with judicial packing around sharp points I think it would work 🙂