Tokyo's Rainbow Bridge By Bike

Byron Kidd
Wouldn't it be great if you could cycle over Tokyo's iconic Rainbow Bridge?  Well I'm sorry you can't.

Tokyo's Rainbow Bridge by Bicycle
On Sunday I was out making an early morning  pre-riding the course for my upcoming guided study tour of Tokyo's cycling infrastructure. I had cycled over the bridges of Harumi Dori, island hopping Tokyo Bay to the Seaside Park in Odaiba where I stopped for a refreshing drink and photo opportunity.
My plan was to take to Water Taxi from Odaiba Seaside Park to Hinode Pier and from there head to Shiba Park at the foot of Tokyo Tower, but to my surprise the first ferry was scheduled to leave at 11:30am, another two and a half hours in the future. This left me with two choices, cycle a big circle back over the Harumi Dori route and loop back to Tokyo Tower, or to walk Rainbow Bridge with my bicycle.

Tokyo's Rainbow Bridge by Bicycle
I'd heard you could walk your bike over Rainbow Bridge but in all my years living here I'd never actually tried it but being just 798m in length with a main span of 580m walking the bridge would certainly be the fastest and most direct route to my destination. So I set off in search of the entrance to the walkway.

I found the entrance with no trouble and began walking my bicycle up a ramp towards what appeared to be a toll booth.  Walking the bridge is free and you are indeed allowed to push your bicycle across, but in order to prevent you from riding the guys in the booth attach what can only be described as a "roller skate" to your rear wheel.

Tokyo's Rainbow Bridge by Bicycle
The "skate" can easily be removed allowing you to cycle the bridge and sneakily reattach it before you reach the checkpoint on the other side but any sensible person would realise the bridge was never designed for cycling and cycling would be dangerous for both rider and pedestrians. The path is narrow the railing is low, and there are countless blind corners that really do rule out cycling across.

With my roller skate attached I set off over the bridge via the north walkway which gave spectacular views of both Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Sky Tree no to mention the Tokyo skyline itself and back over the island of Tokyo Bay where work has already begun on the venues for the 2020 Olympics.

Tokyo's Rainbow Bridge by Bicycle
The walk was surprisingly short, and at the end I was required to take an elevator down to a much welcome air conditioned lobby where I could quench my thirst from the nearby vending machine. After my drink I reluctantly left the air conditioned comfort to take a couple of ramps down to the booth where my roller skate was removed and I was free to continue my journey in a more dignified manner.

Walking Rainbow Bridge certainly is a unique experience and while you can't cycle it I certainly recommend the route for cyclists looking for another way off the islands of Tokyo by. I'm really glad I walked the bridge and will never took at Rainbow Bridge in quite the same way again.

Rainbow Bridge is open to pedestrians from 9am until 9pm in the summer and 10am to 6pm in the winter. Access to the walkway is closed 30 minutes before closing time.

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