Cycling Japan – Kyoto to Hikone

Tues 18 April 2017

Total distance: 78074 m
Total climbing: 1540 m
Total Time: 08:51:36

Today’s Strava 

Todays Dropbox pics

High headwind 16 degrees  no rain

Cycled with Jesse from Penang, Malayasia

Hotel APA Hikoneminami

 

 

Three days biking from Hof to Higashihiroshima upto lifeday 25,460

Tuesday 11th April

Into the hell hole

I apologise to my regular readers for the brief hiatus due mainly to me feeling distinctly unwell sneezing, producing voluminous mucus & feeling tired, I was going to have a rest day in Hiroshima today but I fell out with the hotel I booked (they wouldn’t store the bike) and the hotel I did stay in, The Dormy Inn, could only accommodate me for one night 🙁 so despite the rain I biked the 24 miles to the brand new Hotel Route Inn in Higashi

Days since the bomb exploded

The ride from Hof to Miyajima was a long 64 miles and the most climbing yet of this trip 3,054 feet it was a day without rain but equally, no sun could be seen. Been Sunday everywhere was very quiet with only the major stores open later. The worst part of the day was having to ride through two long tunnels (well over 1km each). The traffic noise is deafening and with nowhere to escape constant stress with cars behind you trying to overtake. Thank goodness it wasn’t a weekday with all the huge trucks.

I started to get worried about the lack of hotel sightings 🙁  This is the problem going on minor roads – you miss the cafes & hotels. However, maps.me came to the rescue and found me the Guesthouse in Miyajima run by a totally OCD couple, the room was typically Japanese (rather than Western like the main hotels) all was OK until I turned the AC on to dry my clothes when suddenly the room filled up with stale cigarette smoke 🙁 🙁 It’s surprising that countries still allow smoking in bedrooms. Miyajima is the ferry gateway to one of the islands so it was full of fellow westerners.

Monday was a short ride into Hiroshima itself. Not a lot to say for such a grotesque event, The memorial gardens are well maintained as is the dome that survived almost under the bomb. No mention of any residual radiation from the U235 used in the bomb even though it has a half-life of 700 million years. I would love to have a Geiger counter for my iPhone 🙂 The central town itself has been converted for the use of cars! the main street has 8 lanes plus the tram so not particularly good for shopping or looking around. The Dormy Inn was OK but it’s a bit claustrophobic sleeping in a room with no window. The weirdest thing about the city is that the pavements bounce up and down because it’s all built on a marsh (the river delta).

Essential bit of kit for Japan cyclists

Waking up today feeling awful I just wanted to stay in bed 🙁 However, the hotel only had a super expensive room available and not ready to 3pm so I decided to face the rain and move on to pastures new away from Hiroshima and its motorway mania.

One of the biggest problems with riding in Japan are the crossroads (intersections) all controlled by old-fashioned timed traffic lights. so everything just stops and waits an indeterminable time and of course, no one but no one moves, frustrating in the extreme and makes for slow progress. The other factor is having to ride on pavements bumping up and down all the time and trying to avoid kids etc. So slow progress in built up areas, of which there are a lot! Today I managed to get a section on a path in the flood zone of the river – just like Korea for 5 miles 🙂 The rain kept on although surprisingly it no longer affect me as much getting wet, it’s just it upsets the navigation on the poor iPhone7, the app really needs a way of turning the touch screen off when riding in water.

I couldn’t resist the stunning new Hotel Route Inn super friendly staff and very reasonable rates for a really comfortable place. I had my first sushi and tempura on this trip, It brought back so many memories of eating out with the Olympus Japanese guys in NYC and Long Island 🙂 except this time I had to pay 🙁

Now it’s time for the public baths downstairs 🙂

Sunday Strava’s here & here and pics

Hiroshima Monday Strava and pics

Today’s Strava & Pics

 

First day in Japan – Fukuoka

The bike squeeze

The crossing from Busan was very smooth and I slept all the way. The immigration officer looked askance at me and wanted to see my flight home details and how was I going to get to Tokyo? Good question I thought!

I tried to get some Yen in the terminal with my plastic but no go 🙁 The bank teller said I had to use the cashpoint a mile down the road in a 7/11 which thank goodness worked. For me, the amazing thing about their notes is that they are big and all totally pristine, like the rest of the country I guess.

Art the linguist from Colorado

I dithered about what to do so ended up parking my bike in the cavernous space under the square outside the main station (take note Cambridge this is a real pedestrian square)  the bike racks are awesome they are on sliding rails so the bikes crunch up against each other so compacting them, when you want to get it out you just push the others down the track 🙂 It’s free for 2 hours afterwards a modest charge, Since it takes scooters etc there is a moving belt to assist going up the steps.

The shopping is amazing, the electronics place, Yodobashi behind the main station, where I got my SIM (5GB for £39) makes a Currys look like a village shop! Coffee shops and bakeries galore I easily packed in the missing calories from yesterday. Everyone I’ve met speaks some English or at least willing to try.

My kind of shops

An American from Colorado, Art, offered his language skills. btw Art if you read this I returned to Yodobashi and found shelves of MiFi type devices – but only obtainable with a 2-year contract) So the FreeTel SIM I purchased with you is still the best value.

I also found a bike shop to salivate over, Uemura Cycle Parts, I’ve never seen such a well stocked,  comprehensive bike shop. It will be interesting to see what riders use when I start riding, which brings me to the sad part. Rain forecast for the next 6 days. It’s Morocco all over again 🙁

Currently, I’m staying at the Daiwa Roynet Hotel an aircrew favorite by the number staying here

All the pictures so far are here

 

Cycling Jeonkok to Cheondong (Seoul) on Lifeday 25,445

Warning elephant crossing

Monday 27th March 2017

What a foul weather day! I awoke to thick grey cloud and finished it in pouring icy rain 🙁

The going was also very varied from old broken roads which would compete with the worst in England to high-speed smooth very busy expressways with the cycle paths following a similar pattern.

Good use of mobility scooters

I stayed on the old road out of Jeonkok for as long as possible before hitting the incredibly busy 3 highway 🙁  after a few miles I turned off along the river by Anheungdong this road was unbearable and I was getting hungry I finally found an open bread shop in Dongducheon, a town that will never feature in any tourist brochure 🙁 Leaving on the 3 road again I finally spotted a cycle path alongside the river so down I went. Very grateful to leave the traffic behind at last. This track finished in Deokgyedong a far more upmarket place with a decent coffee shop 🙂 Then it was pounding down another busy road until just after Yangu station I spotted a bike path, pulling the bike across the verge and through a carpark. I zoomed down shortly meeting up with a magnificent path that took me all the way down to the main river 🙂

Four Rivers cycleway

I went through a small shower at the promised time of 2 pm but the 4 Rivers Path was on the other side of the main river so I had to do a huge U to find a bridge that cyclists could use. On the other side there were huge puddles 🙁 so I set off with a huge cloud following me. Near Bangi-Dong I checked the maps.me plugin (works offline) and discovered a nearby motel. I set it to find the route and set off. Too late the heavens opened, the iPhone7 is waterproof but the screen goes crazy with the rain drops 🙁 so I ended up all over the place, with much cursing, I was freezing.

I eventually found Hotel Murore a decent enough place the goodie bag is not as grand as the first night, obviously, folks here have shorter breaks. One disgusting feature is the heated toilet seat 🙁 I’ve unplugged it now.

Apart from the weather a good day although it has me thinking about the pros & cons of dedicated cycleways since down at the riverside you get to see so little of the city/country life.

Strava says I managed 55.6 miles  the day’s pics are here