Riding in Japan can be a bit difficult at times, and if you live in the central parts of the big cities it can be even harder to get out for rides in the mountains or the scenic countryside. Riding out of the city, especially in the summer, can be very punishing as there are many, many light controlled intersections on the main direct routes and quieter back streets can often be very circuitous. Generally the nicest option for spending the bulk of your Sunday ride time moving along nicely is to catch a train out to the starting point of your actual ride. By regulation on train lines in Japan this requires you to bag your bike.
Normally this is not a problem if you have a ‘normal’ sized bike, say, somewhere in the range to 48-56cm. There are many options for bags available at these frame sizes, some of them even being quite portable. When you get into larger bikes (like my 63cm Trek 2300) it gets quite hard to find bike bags, and even harder to find bags that fold up small enough to carry conveniently.
Enter the Fairmean 160g Air bag. It folds up into a stuff-sack that is 6x13cm, weighs under 160g and can cover frames up to 63cm. Made of a combination of SilNylon and Dyneema, these bags are light, flexible and very very packable. When folded they can easily fit in a jersey pocket or medium saddle bag, but when pulled out offer full coverage of your bike (except the seat, which is not generally an issue on Japanese trains). It only takes several minutes to prepare and bag your bike (under a minute with practice) and not much more to remove and stuff the bag. This can be important when you arrive at a station to catch a rare express train a bit late and don’t have time to spend 10 minutes getting your bike bagged. I personally find stuffing the bag back in the sack to take the longest as the extremely packable material seems to just keep on coming as you stuff it in the sack (it is quite a lot of fabric for such a tiny bag).
If you have an oversized bike or just want a really light and packable bike bag I would recommend you check Fairmean out. The 160g Air bag currently retails for ¥13,500~ and is available through Fairmean.com. There are a variety of colours to choose from so you should be able to find something that suits your preferences. You can follow Fairmean on Twitter @FAIRMEAN or on Facebook at Fairmean.
I rather like my bike. It is a 2002 model Trek 2300 that has quite a few miles on it. It has travelled between countries several times and has never let me down. Over the years many parts have changed but it still retains the same spirit. Bikes do tend to evolve over time but we evolve with them and my bike is no exception. In its current incarnation it has Campy Zonda wheels, Shimano Ultegra 6700 groupo, Deda handle bars and stem, Fi’zi:k seat and post and FSA Carbon Team cranks. It flies over the pavement but is on the ground for breaking. What more could one ask for in a road bike?
I have always loved animals of all kinds, and have also felt a bit saddened by seeing animals caged, regardless of how well treated and how important it can be to raise support for animal awareness. Conversely, I am always happy to see creatures that I would otherwise have little or no opportunity to see with my own eyes. Please enjoy some of the photos I took at the Ueno Zoo, the Sunshine Aquarium and the Natural History Museum in Tokyo.
I have wanted to get a GoPro camera and shoot some footage of riding here in Tokyo and elsewhere so I finally just went ahead and got the camera. I got a GoPro HD Hero 2 Outdoor set but found the bracket a bit too light to be stable on my bike so I picked up a K-Edge Go Big Pro Handlebar Mount. After fixing the camera to my bike with the super-solid K-Edge bracket I headed out for my morning ride.
The ride itself was not a really fast one but the weather was nice and it was a good morning for shooting. I do plan to get out more in the near future, shoot a bunch of footage and make nice compilation videos, but this time I wanted to give people a sense of what it was like to do road cycling here in Tokyo.
I have always liked the little details in the subway stations here in Tokyo. As a little challenge I took a few photos in the underground last weekend while wandering around Oedo Toshimaen Station. I tried to shoot into the mirrored panel on the platform in such a way that it would look like I was being shot by someone else through a pane of glass. What do you think?
It is that time of year again, Hanami! But actually, I have not been feeling like being around large crowds of people so I have refrained from most Hanami related activities. Just so those reading my blog will not be too sad I have posted a few photos I took while I was out and about.