Tokyo successfully marketed itself as a safe, friendly and above all compact destination for the Olympics and proposed that the majority of events be held within just 8km of the yet to be constructed Olympic Village. Where will Tokyo, a city of 35 million inhabitants, find space for new Olympic class facilities, not to mention an Olympic Village? The answer lies on reclaimed land in Tokyo Bay, on islands which did not even exist when Tokyo last hosted the Olympic Games in 1964.
Even though the games are still seven long years away we can share what we already know about cycling venues and facilities for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
|Imperial Place Garden|
|Musashino Forest Park|
As with the Cycling Road race in 1964, Track cycling was also held in Hachijoji in a temporary velodrome built especially for the event. For the 2020 Olympics a velodrome will be constructed on a man made island in Tokyo Bay flanked by the Ariake Arena and the Olympic Gymnastic centre.
Olympic Mountain Biking at the 2020 Olympics will take place on a purpose built course on an island of its own in the heart of Tokyo Bay. Organisers claim that the Sea Forest Mountain Bike Course is easily accessible, but as a relatively new island, not currently connected to the subway system, that claim is difficult to believe. Also, ironically, it is currently impossible to access this island by bicycle as the Tokyo Gate Bridge is closed to bicycle traffic.
|Sea Forest Mountain Bike Course|
The Olympic Mountain Biking course is unlikely to become permanent as it occupies prime realestate which will almost certainly be redeveloped at the end of the games.
The Olympic BMX track will be constructed right next door to the Olympic Velodrome in Ariake in the centre of the Olympic facilities concentrated around Tokyo Bay. The site provides an interesting setting surrounded by trees and water despite being in the heart of one of the biggest cities of the world.
|Olympic BMX Course|
It's only 1/3 cycling, but that's OK with us. While we know Odaiba Marine Park will host the swimming leg of the triathlon there is still no concrete information about the cycling course, nor the running leg. We'll keep you posted as new information is revealed.
|Odaiba Marine Park|
One would hope that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will make the BMX and mountain biking courses available to the public, at least for a limited time after the games so that cycling enthusiasts can experience the thrill of cycling the Olympic courses before they're swallowed up by the city.
In addition to the facilities themselves, large scale redevelopment of areas of the city gives the Tokyo Metropolitan Government the perfect chance to improve cycling infrastructure within the city. Olympic bids constantly highlight efficient transport, and are marketed as environmentally friendly, therefore we look forward to bicycle sharing stations at all the major sporting venues and a network of protected cycle lanes between each venue and the Olympic village. That's not too much to ask is it?
It will be interesting to see if Rainbow Bridge and Tokyo Gate Bridge will be opened to cyclists during the games to ease overcrowding of public transport, and if that access will continue after the games have closed. (We suspect not on both counts.)
While the 2020 Tokyo Olympics are still far in the future please do continue to visit Tokyo By Bike for Olympic Cycling updates, and of course we'll be keeping an eye on developments around the city to see if they have a positive impact on cycling in Tokyo, or the opposite.