Japan Update #5 - Winter Riding in Japan

Wednesday, November 8 1995

We are commuting to work here in Japan, and we have already had a few mornings where it was 42F when we left. The return trip is in the dark, so even though it may be 10 degrees warmer, it feels colder. Oh, how the solar gain helps!

When we first moved here, we stopped at the "Bicycle Culture Center" in Tokyo to get some additional info on biking in Japan. We speak virtually no Japanese and the person we dealt with there spoke no English. However, we did manage to convey our need for maps (which he provided) and showed him where we were going to live. When he saw the area he 'said' that in the winter there are fierce winds from the west. He did this by bending over backwards; arms outstretched overhead and behind him, and at the same time making loud "whoosh" sounds. We got the picture.

He was right! We have now had several days of easy rides in the morning (we go east) and tough rides home at night. You know it's windy when you are working really hard on a tandem to go 8-10 mph on a flat. At least we get a good workout!

And yes Pam, it beats driving. BTW, all of the "factories" have covered parking for the bicycles here, though a tandem tends to stick out from under the cover. At stations and bus stops there is parking for bikes but not enough. It is amazing to see 50-80 bikes stacked up one next to the other at these areas. In the cities the numbers are in the hundreds. I don't know how people find "their" bike since they all look alike!

I think this has rambled into a Japan story so I'll sign off now.

Rich Shapiro & Lindy Ellis

Asaba, Iwata, Shizuoka, Japan

(Elmira, NY, USA)

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