Location: Tokyo, Japan
Author: Patrick Hough
Home to 38 million, Tokyo is Japan’s sprawling megacity. Better known for its underground street (car) racing scene which still takes to the elevated superhighways that encompass the city, this might not be the first place that comes to mind for an adventure by bike. Indeed, cycling in Tokyo is not in the locals’ consciousness as it is in Europe. Luckily for us, this is only indicative of a wide reliance on a world leading public transport system. In fact, there are many signs that the riding scene here is steeped in history, variety, and not least style.
Pulling up to the lights aside one of the city’s bike couriers it’s clear; there’s a scene here. Without fail they’ll be on a stunning NJS-approved steel track frame. These bikes are made exclusively for Keirin racing, an Olympic event born in Japan and one of the only things the Japanese are permitted to bet on. You can go and see Keirin racing at the famous Keiokaku Oval while you’re in town.
Heading out on the road, there’s no better place than the loop around the Emperor’s palace. Right in the heart of the city, this loop is what Central Park is to New York and Regent’s Park is to London; a Mecca for Sunday loopers.
If you’re in town for a few days, you shouldn’t miss the chance to stash your bike on the Shinkansen (bullet train) from one of Tokyo’s main stations. Just remember to remove wheels and pack the lot into a bag, even a large bin bag or two is sufficient. In 40 minutes you can ride the planned 2021 Olympic road race course around Mt. Fuji. Even closer at hand is the stunning Izu peninsula. Packed with Japan’s famous Onsens (hot springs), this area is a rural getaway for Tokyo residents to soak and re-charge. Follow the ‘Skyline’ route on the east side of the Pennninsula for stunning views of Mt. Fuji and head for Shimoda on the southern tip if you’re there in late March/April. This is where the first cherry blossom appears in Japan and the town is famous for its celebrations of this.
Japan has some of the most varied riding locations in the world. From remote beaches and coral reefs in the south to it’s snow capped mountain ranges in the north, you can find any kind of terrain here.
Even within Tokyo, its 26 ‘sub-cities’ are dramatically different. You could explore all day here.
Pizza oven and hanging bikes/kayaks are from a cheap, bike friendly, pizza place by the river. One of my favourite spots: https://goo.gl/maps/N46XwaEyMovRqmNK6
CorsaCorsa. GCN covered it, one of the best collection of vintage stuff in the world but not necessarily somewhere you’d go to get your bike fixed or have a coffee. https://goo.gl/maps/ZXYqhBNN3NVy9NW78
These guys have two shops in Tokyo, best one in the centre. Great mechanics and very friendly. https://goo.gl/maps/4EAzL9WbUnkjRRf36
Hipster bike shop, probably perfect for making Pablo nice and angry. https://goo.gl/maps/5EhZarGZWzxfwnJL8