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View Full Version : Anyone lived in Tokyo?? Is there a bike community??


andy mac
09-19-2005, 01:35 AM
I've been contacted about a great job in Tokyo. Just wondering if there's a good biking and/or tri community, i guess esp for english speaking expats??
Any idea how hard it is to ride a bike around there?


Any other thoughts, advice? I just got back from a few years in the Netherlands which seems like expat-lite compared with Japan.

Cheers,

Andy-san

mavic1010
09-19-2005, 12:06 PM
Well..does going to Tokyo for a week count??! From what I experienced and saw..there is no safe way to ride in the city of Tokyo. Way too many people and way too many cars. The outskirts of the city are more rural and definitely better to ride though. One thing I did notice was, the lack of road shoulders and the streets being kinda narrow. Of course, I didn't see many crazy drivers as most are considerate.

There was actually a guy that lived in Japan at a military base on the rbr board. He rode around and took some fantastic photos....made me wanna go back for a 2nd trip.

bluesea
09-19-2005, 12:48 PM
I can't answer your questions directly, but might have some tidbits that might be of interest. Visited my brother there for a couple of months last year, and got to take a short ride on his Gios. The area I was at (between Yokosuka and Kamakura) has very narrow roads, was mostly flat, but frequently punctuated by hills everywhere. The few non-commuter riders that I saw were very serious roadriders with beautiful equipment. Also saw a few very fit and serious fixed gear riders. Went to my brother's favorite pro shop, and the owner was knowledgable and carried everything from the Japanese-style commuter bikes to serious road goodies.

bironi
09-19-2005, 01:14 PM
It was the only time I suffered badly from allergies due to the air pollution, and I was not even riding.

Byron

ken
09-20-2005, 12:34 PM
Andy-san,

Tokyo actually has a pretty active bike/triathlon scene, believe it or not. Yes, to bike in Tokyo is to ride like a bike messenger, but there is actually some very good riding if you just know where to go.

I spent 10 years in the U.S. from '93 to '03, and am just now getting myself reacquainted with the biking scene here in Tokyo. I do see quite a few more foreigners riding in Tokyo compared to back in the early '90s. I've spoken to a few during some of my rides recently, but it's mostly been just limited to a "hey howya doin, nice bike" type of conversation.

Whether you like to ride alone at your own pace, or whether you enjoy the camaraderie of riding with a club, you should be able to find a satisfactory solution either way. If the ability to ride a bike is going to impact your decision of whether to take the job in Tokyo or not, I say don't worry about it. Sure it's not San Diego (that's where I lived prior to moving back to Tokyo), but you will definitely find a way and a place to ride, if you put your mind to it.

That said, I do recommend the following:

1. Choose carefully where you decide to live. It makes a huge difference whether or not you are fairly close to some of the cycling friendly roads/paths or not. The problem with Tokyo is that it takes SO much time to get to where you can actually get in a good ride. The closer you are to these venues, the more time you have for actually riding your bike (versus sitting in traffic trying to get there). I will be happy to offer advice.

2. Bring a Computrainer or other indoor training device. I guess if you've spent time in the Netherlands, you're pretty hardened weather-wise, but it does rain a lot in the spring to early summer. With some bad luck, it's not rare for it to rain on consecutive weekends. A good indoor trainer is a must, if you're the type that doesn't enjoy riding in the cold or in the rain.

Good luck on your new adventure. You'll either love it or hate it here. You'll just never know until you get here. Some guys just dive right in, some guys just never can adjust. But being a biker/triathlete, my bet is that you'll enjoy the experience. The guys that usually have trouble adapting are the couch potato types whose idea of a dream weekend is watching 5 college football games on Saturday followed by 5 NFL games on Sunday interrupted only by double cheeseburgers and double cheese pizzas. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.....)

Ken

sg8357
09-20-2005, 02:45 PM
A couple links to the Japanese scene, pass hunters, francophiles etc.

http://www5e.biglobe.ne.jp/~akuta/
http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~uc6y-ssk/index.html

Scott G.

andy mac
09-21-2005, 11:42 PM
Thanks so much everyone for the feedback, tips and insights.

I am a little scared of moving to another crazy, boozy city (Lost in translation anyone??) as Im not enjoying New York where were currently holed up. Feel like a caged animal after living in Tasmania, Melbourne, San Francisco and Portland OR.

The whole language thing seems pretty intimidating too. I just learnt how to do all my online banking in Dutch!

That said, if the offer comes through and its good, my s.o. and I have decided well go. It would be an unforgettable experience. If that happens Ill def seek some more specifics from some of you if that's ok.

Thanks again!

Andy

GregLR
09-22-2005, 01:35 AM
If you haven't already come across it, I thought you might be interested in this link to information on two books in English about cycling and cycletouring in Japan http://www.kancycling.com/Resources/ResourcesBooks.html

I have the book entitled "Cycling Japan: A Personal Guide to Exploring Japan by Bicycle", edited by Bryan Harrell, but I understand that it's now out of print - at least it was out of print in early 2002 when a guy from the World Bank who was posted to Japan tracked me down trying to obtain a copy, after reading my reference to it on a cycling discussion list.

bluesea
09-22-2005, 02:46 AM
Thanks so much everyone for the feedback, tips and insights.

I am a little scared of moving to another crazy, boozy city (Lost in translation anyone??) as Im not enjoying New York where were currently holed up. Feel like a caged animal after living in Tasmania, Melbourne, San Francisco and Portland OR.

The whole language thing seems pretty intimidating too. I just learnt how to do all my online banking in Dutch!

That said, if the offer comes through and its good, my s.o. and I have decided well go. It would be an unforgettable experience. If that happens Ill def seek some more specifics from some of you if that's ok.

Thanks again!

Andy

Try to keep and open mind, and learn its culture and the ways if its people. Japan, for me is heaven on earth and thats saying something considering the place I'm at right now. I am very envious...