Tag: Brompton

Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day 3: Ozu to Kurokawa

Mount Aso threw everything it had a tour participants today including heavy rain, strong winds, great elevation, mist, clouds, cold, storms…and kangaroos.

Kangaroos can be found grazing along the sides of Mount Aso.

But thanks to a heavy cloud of mist, little could be found as the tour crossed the active volcano housing a city in its caldera.

Participants made it safely up and across the top of the volcano to be rewarded with a descent of breathtaking beauty, including rivers, valleys, gorges and ending in a picturesque pastoral area of outstanding rustic beauty.

Brommie was resolute, struggling up the steep early parts of the climb, but eventually becoming the first non-electric bike to make it to the summit.

Brommie atop Mount Aso

The resilient foldup performed resoundingly well on a slippery descent, too, though the climate must have hurt him. Kangaeroo is just knackered!

All the bikes were rewarded with a clean, chain wipe and air in the tires ahead of another huge day, the final complete one on Kyushu.

Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day 1: Izumi to Hinagu

The tour kicked off on the bikes with a ride through a samurai household neighborhood in Izumi and then moved its way through mandarin groves while heading toward the coast.

Riders reached Minamata, which gave its name to one of the world’s best-known instances of industrial disease. Despite it’s bleak and tragic past, Minamata is quite quaint.

From Minamata it was a trek around the glorious Ashikita Coast. Roads were almost traffic free and the journey was peaceful and quite with wonderful views of the seas and Amakusa Islands in the distance.

The rode drew to a close with a tough climb and descent back down to the coast and along a railroad through to the destination of Hinagu. Tour cyclists stayed in the opulent Kinparo ryokan dating back to 1909.

The day ended with a multi-course banquet so full of carbs it makes the remaining days’ cycling a necessity rather than fun!

Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day -1B: Haneda to Izumi

Izumi is one of Kagoshima Prefecture’s–and Japan’s, for that matter–little gems.

This little town in the heart of what was the Choshu domain that would usher Japan into the modern world from the latter half of the 19th century now markets itself largely around the tens of thousands of cranes that migrate there during the colder months.

But Izumi also has plenty of history, including a district of samurai houses, and wonderful natural surrounds.

Enough of the tourist stuff, though, because Izumi is the start of the Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto run by the indefatigable Japan Biking and Pedal Pedal Bicycle Tours.

Kangaeroo has worked the tour before and never really made it quickly from Kagoshima Airport to Izumi, a journey of about 60 km mostly over a mountain range.

Checking out the distance and time and comparing them with past trips, it seemed the same would be likely again. But Brommie was quickly unpacked, luggage repositioned to place weight on the front of the bike instead of the rear, and we were off.

The ride is a gorgeous one, mostly along National Routes 504 and 328. It starts with undulations among paddy fields ready for harvesting, then moves into the mountains.

Kanageroo arrived safely, losing only a bottle cage screw and camera battery failing. An overly hot onsen bath almost proved disastrous until Coke saved the day.

Brommie performed superbly despite not being made for the mountains (like the sexagenarian riding him). The trip ended with a glorious descent and the day was completed by dropping into the futon like a rock.