Exploring The Mountains of Northern Kyoto by Bicycle
Pausing for a Quick Photo on a bicycle ride in the mountains north of Kyoto left to right: Kumiko Mini , Lianca Van Der Merwe , Antti , and Ross McLean -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/4000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Pausing for a Quick Photo
on a bicycle ride in the mountains north of Kyoto
left to right: Kumiko Mini, Lianca Van Der Merwe, Antti, and Ross McLean

Today I made my first real bicycling ride. Normally the bicycle is just for transportation from one place to the other, and not my first choice for either exercise nor pleasure, but I recently replaced my 10-year-old mamachari (Mama Chariot, heavy, built like a tank, and can carry oodles of kids and stuff) with a lighter cross bike.

今日は初めての本物自転車でツアーイング。新しい友達一緒に55キロの山巡。大原貴船を見に行きました。

Through the Cycling Kyoto Facebook group I learned that some folks would have a slow easy ride today, so I thought it was a good opportunity to give it a try.

We ended up going 55km (34 miles) up into the mountains and back. The and back part was easier.

We met up at the Sanjo St. bridge at 11am, and soon headed off...

City Riding heading north on Kawabata St. 川端通で北へ -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/8000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
City Riding
heading north on Kawabata St.
川端通で北へ
Back Street -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/4000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Back Street
First Sight of Nature along the Kamo River (賀茂川) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/8000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
First Sight of Nature
along the Kamo River (賀茂川)
Mountains Where We're Heading -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/320 sec, f/9, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Mountains Where We're Heading
Heading Up it's been a mild ascent the whole 25 minutes it took to get here, but now it's starting in earnest -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/640 sec, f/9, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Up
it's been a mild ascent the whole 25 minutes it took to get here,
but now it's starting in earnest
Oh Deer! construction -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/250 sec, f/8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Oh Deer!
construction
Village -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/250 sec, f/8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Village
Steep 坂がきつい -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Steep
坂がきつい

It wasn't all that steep as far as mountains go, but it was certainly the most steep road I'd ever taken on a bike. It rose 210m over about 900m length. Since it was my first ride I decided that I would always stay at the back. This gave me a great excuse to rest if I wasn't the slowest, and if I was the slowest, well, what do you expect from the guy at the back? 🙂

It turns out that Lianca's normal road bike is in the shop, so she was using a heavy mountain bike, which wasn't really appropriate for this kind of riding. So, I could take it easy most of the time. 😉

The trip down the other side of the mountain was equally steep...

Coasting -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Coasting

We stopped by the Family Mart near the Sanzenin Temple. I've visited that temple numerious times in the past, but I would have never imagined going that far by bicycle.

Ross's New Bike taking a break -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Ross's New Bike
taking a break

We then retraced our path part way...

Ohara Countryside (taken 1-handed at 30kph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/3200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Ohara Countryside
(taken 1-handed at 30kph)

This time I thought I'd try to stay with the two guys when we retraced our steps back up the aforementioned steep climb....

Starting the Ascent -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/160 sec, f/14, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Starting the Ascent

Coming off an injury, Ross is riding for the first time in a month and so was taking it slow and easy, and Antti was kind enough to slow down to keep him company. I hadn't really been taxed in the 20km we'd done so far, but the photo above was the last I saw of them for quite a while. They made it look effortless, but I can assure you it was most certainly not effortless.

Still, I made it to the pass without passing out or even stopping, and so I waited for the rest of the group and tried to catch an action shot as they came by (though I realize now that I should have set up a bit downhill, so they'd have some speed...)

Kumiko -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/160 sec, f/14, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Kumiko
Lianca -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 140 — map & image datanearby photos
Lianca
Single-Handed Snapshot at 50.3kph, downhill -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/160 sec, f/16, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Single-Handed Snapshot
at 50.3kph, downhill
Flat(ish) Countryside -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/5000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Flat(ish) Countryside

Having retraced our steps for 8km, we headed back into the mountains, toward Kibune.

Staying With Ross (for a short moment) 貴船へ -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/160 sec, f/9, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Staying With Ross
(for a short moment)
貴船へ

Somewhere near Kibune we stopped for a quick photo, seen at the start of this post.

Sharp readers will of course 😉 recall that the same bridge guardrail appeared on my blog eight years ago, at the end of Getting Ready for Summer, in Kibune.

Then some quick individual snaps...

Ross McLean very Mc, very Lean -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Ross McLean
very Mc, very Lean
Antti -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1600 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Antti
Lianca Van Der Merwe -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1600 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Lianca Van Der Merwe
KUMIKO mini -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/2000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
KUMIKO mini
Ross's Shoe Covers were so incredibly brilliant pink that the camera couldn't capture them properly -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Ross's Shoe Covers
were so incredibly brilliant pink that the camera couldn't capture them properly
Chatting, Oblivious to the guys already leaving in the background -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Chatting, Oblivious
to the guys already leaving in the background

Since I wasn't in any of the group pictures, I thought I'd at least grab a snap of myself for my own memory, on one of the road-curve mirrors ubiquitous in the mountains of Japan.

“ OSHA Orange ” is the color of my windbreaker. I call it my “ Ninja Jacket ” . -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
OSHA Orange
is the color of my windbreaker. I call it my Ninja Jacket.
Hitting the Touristy Area -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/500 sec, f/1.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Hitting the Touristy Area
Short Pause at the entrance to the Kibune Shrine (貴船神社) -- Kibune Shrine (貴船神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/2000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Short Pause
at the entrance to the Kibune Shrine (貴船神社)
Something Is Just Not Quite Right about this shot, as we head a bit farther up the mountain. Can you tell what it is, and explain it? (Hint: it's not Photoshop) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Something Is Just Not Quite Right
about this shot, as we head a bit farther up the mountain.
Can you tell what it is, and explain it? (Hint: it's not Photoshop)
High Point of Our Trip 410m, at the Kibune Shrine Okumiya (貴船神社奥宮) -- Kibune Shrine Okumiya (貴船神社奥宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
High Point of Our Trip
410m, at the Kibune Shrine Okumiya (貴船神社奥宮)
Still Plenty of Snow -- Kibune Shrine Okumiya (貴船神社奥宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Still Plenty of Snow
Plotting The Return Home -- Kibune Shrine Okumiya (貴船神社奥宮) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Plotting The Return Home
It's All Downhill From Here -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/160 sec, f/1.4, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
It's All Downhill From Here

Since the ride was done save for returning home, the two guys took off at their own speed, and we never saw them again. After getting down into town, I decided to pop over to a park where I knew Anthony was playing with friends. The moment I said bye to the other two I'd been returning with and was on my own in the city, the bike ceased to be fun. It was now just drudgery get to Point B work.

So, while I enjoyed the first 45km of the trip, it's the social aspect of it that appealed to me. The last 11k was drudgery.

Anyway, here's what the Google Earth shows for my ride:

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/

The red arrow is about where this post's lead photo was taken.

Later that evening, I had dinner at Via Transito, the Italian restaurant located here owned by friend Salvo Mannino. Salvo had helped me buy my new bike, and had introduced me to the Kyoto Cycling group, so I wanted to stop by to thank him and report on my ride.

Damien and Kumiko joined me and Anthony for a wonderful dinner and conversation.

Chatting with Salvo Via Transito Italian Restaurant -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D3X + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Chatting with Salvo
Via Transito Italian Restaurant

I remembered to take a picture of the salad, but then forgot after that. It was tasty.

Salad with Cheeze and Potato -- Via Transito Italian Restaurant -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D3X + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Salad with Cheeze and Potato
Making a Pizza -- Via Transito Italian Restaurant -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D3X + Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 23mm — 1/50 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Making a Pizza

My neck and shoulders are a bit sore from the ride, but otherwise I seem not too much worse for wear. Not sure when I'll do such a thing again, but it was a wonderful day for the experience, made all the better by the company I lucked into having.

Was a good day.


All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

Jeffery, I just discovered your website and the Kyoto by bicycle post. It’s really nice and I quite enjoyed the photos and commentary.

— comment by Jerry Dalton on January 25th, 2015 at 2:38am JST (2 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Looks like it was a nice trail. I’m impressed that you used a DSLR while riding, I don’t think I’d have the guts to do that.

Cycling for transport is relatively common in Japan, isn’t it? Public transport is also more commonly used in Japan, and I get the impression that car ownership a bit more rare. How is the cycling scene there? Are cyclists and car drivers frequently at odds, similar to how they are in most American cities? If you wanted to cycle between cities, do the highways have bike lanes, and/or are there bike paths?

Cycling for transportation is incredibly common… it’s rare not to have a bicycle. What I did yesterday was not “for transportation”, and hence the “first time” blog post. In the past while driving or scootering around the mountains I’ve seen plenty of cyclists riding for sport, and knowing how popular bicycles are on the road in the city I would just assume the “at odd” level is much lower here, but I don’t know. As far as I know, riding between cities is on normal roads, and is done often by sport cyclists but not much by transportation cyclists. —Jeffrey

— comment by David K. on January 25th, 2015 at 9:31am JST (2 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Something’s not quite right… Someone’s been taking flying lessons… 🙂
Weird effect indeed, if that’s the one you were referring to?

Indeed it is. His shoes clip on to the pedals so that he can power on the upswing as well, and a byproduct of this is that he can make the bike jump straight up, a useful skill to have when someone with a camera is around. —Jeffrey

— comment by Damien on January 25th, 2015 at 10:27am JST (2 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

What a beautiful looking ride. I would love to ride small roads like that . Traffic looks light too. Just last week I was looking at bicycle rentals in Kyoto if I every get back there again.

Thanks Rick

— comment by Rick on January 28th, 2015 at 4:36pm JST (2 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink
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