Cycling in Tokyo

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Thu 2010/12/16 16:30 JST in Living in Japan Guide

Never learned to ride a bicycle as a kid and it wasn't until a year or so ago when I could finally manage to ride one.
Wifey got a smaller bicycle and after trying it out a bit, I got used to not being afraid and wobbling all over the place when a car passed nearby.

The foldable bicycle I currently have is the Doppelganger which I got from Amazon I think for 18000 yen.

As we often cycle to unknown territory, we can get a bit lost at times but thanks to the iPhone 3GS with its GPS and built in compass, we can use Google Maps to track our route.
But cycling while holding the phone is asking like waiting for a hippo with large oppai to crash into you so I went to get a holder to secure the iPhone to the front of the bike. Got it from Sanwa Direct for 2480 yen.
Also picked up a lens protector for the Lumix GF1.

The iPhone attaches to the holder like so. Despite the screen being already bright, it can be a wee bit difficult to see when the sun is out.

The holder does have a habit of tipping downwards after a while - hopefully a slice of rubber would stop it from doing that.
Tis currently the most decent holder available in Japan - so much so that Amazon have sold out. Probably much nicer ones in the US and Europe. Maybe I can find a cool one in Singapore next month?

Blue skies on a warm sunny day can easily drag one away from the computer. Dropped everything yesterday afternoon to cycle to Tamagawa which was about 10 kilos away from home. Here we stop off at Senzoku Ike park for a rest.

This fun exploring Tokyo by bicycle - something that one cant do easily by car without spending time hunting for parking space.

Next to every don't-park-your-bicycle-here sign, you will find a load of bicycles ^^;

One of my favorite Japanese things - railroad crossing.

The bicycle is a very common form of transport over here. I actually see more bicycles in Tokyo than in Shanghai.
The most common type of bicycle is called a "mamachari" which is an abbreviation of "Mama's Chariot" - tis a practical bicycle with a basket at the front. The naming comes from many mothers using this type of two wheeler.

Arrival at Tamagawa (Tama River) and take a break to take in the scenery. I love vast expanses of water.

Tamagawa is a 138km long river which flows through Yamanashi, Tokyo and Kanagawa.

Many bridges cross over Tamagawa - some for cars+pedestrians, pedestrian only and some for trains.

Come to Tamagawa on a sunny Sunday and you will find folks fishing, dipping their feet in the water, playing sports or having a barbecue.

During the 1970's, Tamagawa was at its height of pollution due to many chemicals being dumped in the river. Much of the fish in the river died off and Tamagawa was known as "Shi no Kawa" or "River of Death."

Due to a movement many years ago to clean up the river, nature has returned to the waters where a load of fish can now be found alive n kicking - until they are fished out ^^;

Heading across the river over into the Kanagawa prefecture where Yokohama is.

Love rivers in Japan which have risen mounds on each side called "Dote" which I think are to designed to help prevent flooding after earthquakes. You would have probably seen these in many anime.

In the Summer, firework events are held at Tamagawa like the one below.

And everytime I think of fireworks, I think of my fave firework game which is Fanta Vision on the PS2. A seriously addictive game.

Some lads having a few rounds of rugby.

By the time we're on this side of the river, we have clouds of barbecue smoke in our face - hungry for some meat!

Once across the river, we explore some more and come across a shotengai at Shin Maruko station.

If you park your bicycle outside a shop that you are going to shop or eat at then its generally not a problem. Although if you pretend that you are going to shop somewhere and leave your bicycle there, somebody may be watching and remove your two wheeler for you ^^;

Some places have more advanced parking like the one you may have seen before in the Japan Bike Storage photo article.

Reach the end of the shotengai. Time to turn back and eat something.

Today's camera is the Lumix GF1.

Some Yasai Itame - fried veggies with some meat. Although its called "Fried veggies" it does come with meat so be careful if you are a vegetarian in Japan ordering "fried veggies."

I'm not a vegetarian myself but do hear horror stories from those who are about the tough times they have trying to order food over here. Are you a vegetarian and have you had interesting experiences ordering grub in Japan?

A variety of alcohol for those who drink.

Love Japanese retro posters.

Noticed a lot of people looking at Chun's T-shirt ^^;

Now that I'm riding out n about a lot, I've started to look at what others are riding.
Why are bigger wheels better?

Now cycling on the way to Shibuya stopping at Daikan Yama - the fashion district for young folks.

Stop at Shibuya for a break.

Then its off to Yoyogi park for a bit.

After Yoyogi its back to Shibuya for dindins.

At Tokyo Hands to look at what bicycles they have in store. Stopping off at the ground floor to pick up some polystyrene blocks for one of my daughters to sit on.
Come across this interesting polystyrene cutter.

Will be stocking up on a load of these when making my Tokyo Storm Ninja armor.

Some material for the visor?

Now at the bicycle section.

My current bicycle cost 18000 yen but Big Boss Aki tells me that I should probably spend about 150000 yen if I'm looking to upgrade. His bicycle costs over 1000000 yen after customizations though ^^; Although the does cycle professionally.

This bicycle on the wall looks nice - does cost quite a bit at 273000 yen though.
How much did you invest in your two wheeler?

This one up for 157500 yen.

This Raleigh interests me the most. 52290 yen. As I'm still relatively new to the world of bicycles, I'm not entirely sure what benefits I would gain by paying an extra 100000 yen.

After a while, they all start to look the same ^^;

One problem I have with my current bicycle is that my bottom hurts after a while ^^;
Probably to do with the way I'm sitting or because of the nails I carry in my back pocket.

Some other stuff in the bicycle section. Two wheeled skateboards.

Yamato are doing these 1/9 scale customizable bicycles. Now only if they were 1/3 scale...

Some more parts for the 1/9 scale bicycles.

Update : This post was posted a year ago - have you read it before?

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