Category: Unknown Nichigo

Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day 9: Nara to Kyoto

Our tour has reached Kyoto, remarkably with only minor injuries and not a single puncture in the more than 11,000 kilometers the cyclists covered collectively since setting out from Izumi, Kagoshima Prefecture, on the morning of October 1.

The group battled a barrage of rain on the most prominent of climbs on Mount Aso and Koyasan, but got through unscathed each time.

The tour drew to a close in a journey between the two ancient capitals of Nara, where participants frolicked with the deer roaming freely through the city and saw its lauded Great Buddha at Todaiji, and Kyoto, where the group lunched at Inari Taisha Jinja.

Only a farewell dinner remains in a tour that passed way too quickly, but ends with typically outstanding timing as Typhoon No. 19 prepares to slam into Japan.

Incredibly, the final leg of the tour also included an unexpected encounter with a pack of kangaroos.

These marsupials were manufactured types, though, located in a children’s playground alongside the bicycle track running between Nara and Kyoto. The poor macropods had been crafted with a look of sheer terror on their face, perhaps because they were aware of Kangaeroo’s shoddy guiding?

Brommie performed outstandingly on the final leg of the tour.

His broken rack makes him harder to push, but that shouldn’t be an issue for a couple of days at least while he carries Kangaeroo back to Tokyo.

Thanks to Pedal Pedal, Japan Biking and all the tour participants for making it such a magnificent time for Brommie and Kangaeroo.

Safe travels!

And so it goes.

Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day 8: Koyasan to Nara

Glorious weather almost a complete turnaround from the previous day was the hallmark of the penultimate day of the 2019 Kagoshima to Kyoto cycling tour.

Sunny skies greeted the riders as they roused from their sleep in a chilly Koyasan temple.

Riding remained cold and rugging up was the order of the day with the first 20 kilometers of the ride a rousing descent from Koyasan onto the plains of Wakayama Prefecture.

Riders maintained a steady pace following the outstanding bicycle tracks along the Kinokawa River joining Wakayama and Nara prefectures.

Riders passed through some wonderfully quaint mountain villages, rustic farming neighborhoods and winding roads, many barely traversed by other traffic.

Lunch matched the high quality of the ride, with the dishes made earning the highest regard among cyclists of probably any meals served on the tour.

The afternoon was a continuation of the river riding.

Cyclists cranked their bikes along the rivers as they gradually moved toward central Nara.

Finally, after some hiccups in an industrial area and battling train tracks, they wound their way through a delightful series of backstreets in the ancient capital before reaching their lodgings, many completing century treks on the tour’s longest ride.

Perhaps the best news of the day in some regard was the re-emergence of Brommie. The finicky fold-up had virtually no need to climb and would thus not hold up any other riders, so he was given his chance to ride again. And he took it with both wheels open.

Unfortunately, he bumped a few times too many and opened a gash in the welding on his rear rack. Not a major problem, but one that will cost several tens of thousands of yen to repair.

Arriving in Nara, all went their separate ways. Our remaining time together is now less than 24 hours, but we have formed what will hopefully be some lifelong bonds.

Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day 7: Wakayama to Koyasan

Japan, the land of the gods, threw everything at the Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto on Day 8, but the riders came up trumps, scaling the queen stage unscathed.


Despite persistent drizzle, the tour made it to the World Heritage List site Koyasan without injury or incident.

The tour’s first flat even still remains unclaimed!

Following the previous day’s travelling exertions, it was back on the bikes from Wakayama.

Almost half of the day’s ride was occupied on a beautiful cycling track with barely anybody else using it.

The track ran along the Kinokawa River and offered some nice views of the waterway, as well as distant mountains.

Looming over cyclists, however, was the constant presence of Koyasan.

The ride remained steady until lunch. Surprisingly, Kangaeroo’s early group ran into another bunch that were supposed to have been well behind, but had taken a short cut. The entire troup met for a superb lunch of chirashi-zushi and some also had ice creams.

Forecast rain arrived barely minutes into the afternoon leg and was a near constant thereafter.

As riders gained elevation, visibility was lost.

By the time the troupe reached the Daimon gate at the summit of Koyasan to welcome visitors to the Buddhist town, mist was so thick the normally imposing gate could barely be seen.

Showers were more welcome than usual following the cold, wet ride.

Warming cyclists’ hearts, however, was the news that the tour’s climbing is essentially over and it is, literally, all downhill from here (actually, there’s lots of flats, but nobody wants to let the truth get in the way of a good yarn, do they?)

And Brommie? Well, with so much climbing there was really only one place for the old foldup to play a part….warming up the back of the truck. His day will come again soon.

Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day 7: Matsuyama to Wakayama

A moving day allowed the tour riders to freshen legs ahead of the trip’s biggest climb, but that didn’t mean it was an easy day.

Riders had a free morning in Matsuyama before assembling around midday to catch a bus to Tokushima.

Activities engaged in during the morning included watching a festival, visiting Dogo Onsen hot spring and climbing up to Matsuyama Castle to check out the views of the city.

The bus trip to Tokushima was largely uneventful and after about two hours, participants marched on to the Nankai ferry for the journey to Wakayama, leaving Shikoku in their wake.

The ferry trip lasted about two hours and the troupe arrived on Honshu in the dark.

Taxis were called and a fleet shipped the cyclists into central Wakayama, passing by the brilliantly lit Wakayama Castle.

Brommie, like all the bikes, was not called for today. He won’t be called for tomorrow, either, with the big climb ahead.

Saikyo to Teito is also a write-off, courtesy of the impending typhoon.

Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day 6: Uchiko to Matsuyama

Shikoku’s glorious mountains seemed less and less attractive at times while pounding the pedals to push on upward even higher, but a wonderful descent followed on the final day of riding on the smallest of Japan’s four main islands.

Leaving Uchiko later than most starts, it was a steady climb upward for the remainder of the morning.

The strenuous efforts of the climbs were rewarded by priceless views across seemingly endless mountain ranges, whose splendor was enhanced by the brilliant sunshine and cloudless skies.

More climbing continued after lunch (the day would eventually top 1,100 meters of elevation).

An exhilarating and lengthy descent followed, though, winding downward through mandarin patches and bamboo groves.

The latter part of the trip was at sea level, first winding its way through the rice paddies, then along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea before moving inland and following the river into central Matsuyama.

The tour’s ride ended adjacent to Dogo Onsen, Japan’s oldest and most-renowned hot spring bath.

Brommie remained banished in light of the hardcore climbing earlier in the day.

With the next leg of the tour being its steepest and hardest climb of all, it seems a fate likely to continue.

For the time being, though he is looking after the other bikes in the tour. They have been packed in a van ahead of the tour’s rest day, when the troupe travels by bus and ferry to Honshu.

Brommie’s planned Saikyo to Teito Trip is looking increasingly likely to be a washout, with rain forecast for the scheduled four days of the planned odyssey.

Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day 5: Beppu to Uchiko

Glorious sunshine greeted tour participants as they woke in Beppu, coincidentally on the morning the Wallabies, Australia’s national rugby team, would be playing a World Cup match in the same city.

After a quick breakfast the entire tour assembled and hurtled off down the hill toward the beachfront.

A ferry ride from Kyushu to Shikoku awaited, and the team rode onto the huge ship, tied up the bikes and moved upstairs for the long ride.

Repairs and adjustments were made to bikes on the boat trip, but upon alighting, cyclists immediately rode off up the river until reaching a mountain standing in the way of the path to the destination of Uchiko.

A grueling, but visually stunning ride lay ahead up a series of switchbacks with mandarin and other types of citrus trees dotting the mountainside. Views downward became increasingly spectacular as the rugged terrain of Shikoku became increasingly evident.

The ride down was exhilarating, but cautious due to the large amount of debris on the track.

It was a ride along the plains from that point, passing through Ozu, with its castle overlooking the town, and hitting the river in the very extensive set of bike tracks in the area.

There was still a lot of time left in the afternoon as the tour rolled into town, but the time could have been spent better as luggage had been delivered to the wrong places.

Once things were sorted out, Kangaeroo headed off with the tour organizer to recce a possible route for the following day.

Views of Uchiko

Heading up a mountainside offering spectacular views, hopes of a great ride were high, only to be dashed upon learning the mudslide that had closed the road some years ago remains perhaps years away from being cleared up.

It was back to Uchiko, a delightful town filled with Meiji (1868-1912) and Taisho (1912-1925) era buildings. There, we ate a delightful dinner courtesy of Ze Germanz, and spent a blissful night’s sleep.

Tomorrow it’s off to the Ehime prefectural capital of Matsuyama.

Brommie in the back of a truck

Brommie didn’t have the greatest of days today. Having struggled up the slopes the past couple of days, he was relegated to the reserves bench and spent the day idling away in the back of the truck. His day will come again, though.

Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day 4: Kurokawa to Beppu

Glorious weather greeted the tour today, paving the way for some amazing riding.

The group set out from the gloriously quaint hot spring resort town of Kurokawa.

Slowly but surely, the riders wound their way through forested areas, driving ever upward until reaching the Kuju ski ground, the highest point of the entire tour at 1,140 meters above sea level.

Despite reaching the tour’s literal high point, it wasn’t all downhill from there.

Travels along undulating roads followed over the next 30 or so kilometers along beautiful thoroughfares such as the Yamanami Kaido.

The group inched ever downward, though, until reaching the hot spring town of Yufuin.

Following a delicious lunch, the way out of Yufuin involved a brutally grueling climb at a back-breakingly slow pace.

Once the climb was over, it was for the most part a descent at furious pace along National Route 500.

Upon reaching the outskirts of Beppu, it was off the main track and onto a switchback for some more fun.

Brommie near Beppu

Brommie performed brilliantly in circumstances not ideal for him with so much climbing. He incurred his first problem of the tour when his chain tensioner flew off, but this was the result of Kangaeroo over-oiling him.

Once the tensioner was re-applied, it was all systems go again, but Kangaeroo is jeopardizing others’ fun, so it looks like Brommie will be packed away again for a while.