A Tour of Tokyo's Newest Bicycle Lanes

New bicycle lanes are appearing all over Tokyo, and thats great even if the lanes aren't so great themselves! We cycled as many as we could and here are our observations.

Fitness isn't a goal, it's a side effect

If you or a friend are cycling to get fit and not enjoying it then cycle to the shops instead. Before you know it you'll be fit, car free and better off financially.

How to Turn Your Old Mountain Bike Into a Tidy Commuter

Need a new commuter bike? Maybe not, because with a few cheap and easy modifications you can convert your mountain bike into a lighter faster commuter bicycle. Here's how ...

Japan's National Bicycle Commuting Ban

Strict government regulations and inflexible insurance rules effectively force companies in Japan to ban their employees from cycling to work. It's time for a change.

Cycling at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

We're excited that Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Olympic Games! Read on to learn what we know of the cycling events and facilities planned for Tokyo.

Cycling My Fuji and Fuji's Five Lakes

Climbing Mt Fuji by bicycle is a ride you have to put on your bucket list. The Pro's do it every year at the Tour of Japan, but us mortals can do it anytime we like.

May 29, 2012

A visit to the Suginami Bicycle Festival 2012


I was surprised on Friday when I stumbled across a poster advertising the Suginami Bicycle Festival the very next day.  Not only was the festival in Suginami, my neighbourhood, but was being held within easy cycling distance from my home in the parkland that line the Zepukuji river.  My daughters and I had already made plans to cycle to the Suginami Children’s Traffic Park on Saturday afternoon and the Festival was located just a few minutes from there. Perfect!

The festival was organised by Ken Toyama of the nearby bicycle shop Tanuki Cycle.  Aside from regular bicycle sales Tanuki Cycles specialises in custom built bicycles, including tandems, three seaters, and contraptions the likes of which you may never have seen before.  Riders of these rather unusual bicycles bought their machines to the festival not only to show them off but to give everyone a chance to ride and fall in love with them.

Visitors to the festival were more than welcome to take any of the bicycles for a ride between 5 to 10 minutes around the park.  As the majority of the bicycles were designed for more than one rider, their owners were more than happy to take anyone for a tour around the park if they didn't have the confidence to get into the driver’s seat themselves.

My daughters love their bicycles but I wasn't sure how they'd take to a tandem, three seater or a recumbent.  As soon as they arrived they spotted a three seater and before I knew it were cycling off under the care of one of the festival volunteers.  For the rest of the afternoon they did lap after lap of the park eventually trying all of the bicycles, some more than once.  This left me free to talk to Toyama-san and the other volunteers about their passion for bicycles.

Speaking to Toyama-san I learnt that this was the first year the festival had been held. He was very encouraged by the positive feedback, and above all by the laughs and smiles of festival goers as they completed a circuit or two on a bicycle they would otherwise have little opportunity to experience. We're all hoping it will become a biannual event.

The festival was a lot of fun for all.  Congratulations and thanks to Toyama-san and his hard working team of volunteers.

May 28, 2012

Tour of Japan 2012 Stage 6 (Tokyo) Highlights Video

Highlights from the sixth day of racing at the 2012 Tour of Japan. We recorded Pedal Asia Podcast Episode 3 live at the final stage of the Tour.  Look out for it on the Pedal Asia website soon!




FINAL LEADERBOARD
Individual General Classification (Green jersey): Fortunato Baliani (Team Nippo)
Points Classification (Blue jersey): Taiji Nishitani (Aisan Racing Team)
King of the Mountains Classification (Red jersey): Julián Arredondo Moreno (Team Nippo)
Teams General Classification: Team Nippo


(My arm, and watch, enters the left of frame at 4:10 for approx. 0.0005ms)

Tour of Japan 2012 Stage 5 (Izu) Highlights Video

Highlights from the fifth day of racing at the 2012 Tour of Japan. With over 4000m of climbing this was the toughest stage of the tour.  One rider we spoke to said he would rather ride up Mt Fuji twice than do this stage again!




LEADERBOARD
Individual General Classification (Green jersey): Fortunato Baliani (Team Nippo)
Points Classification (Blue jersey): Mariusz Wiesiak (Matrix Powertag)
King of the Mountains Classification (Red jersey): Julián Arredondo Moreno (Team Nippo)
Teams General Classification: Team Nippo

May 25, 2012

Tour of Japan 2012 Stage 4 (Fujisan) Highlights Video

Highlights from the fourth day of racing at the 2012 Tour of Japan.  Stage 4 was held on a 11.4km course up the face of Mt Fuji with a maximum gradient of 22%!




LEADERBOARD
Individual General Classification (Green jersey): Fortunato Baliani (Team Nippo)
Points Classification (Blue jersey): Maximiliano Richeze (Team Nippo)
King of the Mountains Classification (Red jersey): Fortunato Baliani (Team Nippo)
Teams General Classification: Team Nippo
Read the full race report at CyclingiQ.

Suginami Bicycle Festival 2012, Saturday May 26th.

Its very late notice, but I just found out about this event from my good friend Kunitoshi Sugiura of Bicycle Ecology Japan.



Its the Suginami Bicycle Festival taking place at Suginami Nisho Mae Hiroba which is along the Zenpukuji River right where it meets Itsukaichi Doori.



My daughters were keen to ride at the Suginami Traffic Park Saturday afternoon, and this festival just a few minutes ride up the river from there, so we'll pop in for a look.  If you're in the area why don't you join us?

Images from Tanuki Cycle Blog.

May 24, 2012

Tour of Japan 2012 Stage 3 (Minami-Shinshu) Highlights Video

Highlights from the third day of racing at the 2012 Tour of Japan.




LEADERBOARD
Individual General Classification (Green jersey): Julián David Arredondo Moreno (Team Nippo)
Points Classification (Blue jersey): Maximiliano Richeze (Team Nippo)
King of the Mountains Classification (Red jersey): Yusuke Hatanaka (Shimano Racing Team)
Teams General Classification: Team Nippo


Read the full race report at CyclingiQ.

May 23, 2012

Tour of Japan 2012 Stage 2 (Mino) Highlights Video

Highlights from the second day of racing at the 2012 Tour of Japan in Mino.





LEADERBOARD
Individual General Classification (Green jersey): Maximiliano Richeze (Team Nippo)
Points Classification (Blue jersey): Maximiliano Richeze (Team Nippo)
King of the Mountains Classification (Red jersey): Yusuke Hatanaka (Shimano Racing Team)
Teams General Classification: Champion System Pro Cycling Team

Read the full race report at CyclingiQ.

May 22, 2012

Tour of Japan 2012 Stage 1 (Sakai ITT) Highlights Video

Highlights from the first day of racing at the 2012 Tour of Japan in Osaka.




LEADERBOARD
Individual General Classification (Green jersey): William Clarke (Champion System Pro Cycling Team)
Points Classification (Blue jersey): William Clarke (Champion System Pro Cycling Team)
King of the Mountains Classification (Red jersey): N/A
Teams General Classification: Champion System Pro Cycling Team

Read the full race report at CyclingiQ.

May 19, 2012

Tokyo police to remove over 10,000 bicycle crossings


The Metropolitan Police Department has decided to remove over 10,000 bicycle crossings from Tokyo intersections by 2014 to encourage cyclists to use streets.

In Tokyo there are around 15,000 bicycle crossings separating pedestrians from cyclists. Police have judged that removal of the crossings is necessary to discourage cyclists from riding on sidewalks.

Cyclists are required to use crossing lanes when they are present. Installation of the lanes began in 1978 with an amendment to the Road Traffic Law. Partly because at the time, bicycle traffic on sidewalks was permitted, many bicycle crossing lanes extend from one sidewalk to another.

Cyclists using roads now have to veer left into the crossing lanes, then veer right when they move from the crossing lane back onto the road, but it has been pointed out that this increases the chances of cars turning left at intersections to run into bicycles. If the crossing lanes were removed, bicycles could continue straight on the road when crossing.

Crossings will be retained on sidewalks designated to allow bicycle traffic. Police will later make a final decision on which crossings to remove.

"We want to quickly start removal so that bicycles can travel roads safely," a Metropolitan Police Department representative said.

On May 17, the department announced that 5,685 accidents involving bicycles occurred in Tokyo from January to April, 12 percent fewer than during the same period last year. There were 20 percent fewer accidents on sidewalks and 23 percent fewer at intersections, but accidents on the road increased by 7 percent. As to whether the changes were due to the department's announcement that cyclists must generally ride on the street, a traffic affairs department official said, "More analysis is needed."

There were 897 cases in which cyclists were stopped by police during the period for ignoring traffic signals or failing to maintain their bicycles -- about two times the 450 cases recorded during the same period last year.

Source: mainichi.jp

May 06, 2012

Pedal Asia Podcast Episode 2

The Pedal Asia Podcast is a new project I'm involved in that aims to promote Asian cyclin to the world.

In this bumper episode we have innovative cycling programs from Korea and Malaysia, an interview with Beijing cycling guru Shannon Bufton, our new Sounds of cycling in Asia feature, and we talk with Lee Rodgers - RTS rider who gives us a first hand account of last weeks truly eventful Tour of Korea.

Uniqlo Bicycle Brand T-Shirts

Once  again Japanese retailing giant Uniqlo have teamed up with bicycle manufacturers such as Miyata, Giant and Merida to produce a line of bicycle branded t-shirts. The shirts are made from fast drying, moisture wicking material and squarely aimed at runners and cyclists. At just ¥990 they're a good alternative to all those ¥10,000 jerseys the bicycle stores around Tokyo are carrying.

Uniqlo and bicycle manufacturers did a similar tie up in 2010.





May 02, 2012

Prepared for Rain.


This is but one of the many creative way in which Japanese cyclists choose to carry an umbrella on their bicycle.  The crook of the umbrella is hooked around the seat post while the shaft is woven through the rear forks and bicycle rack in a way that is secure and prevents the umbrella from geting stuck in the spokes.  Because you never know when you'll get caught in a shower.