Highly-Visible Cycle Ride Though the Mountains of Northern Kyoto

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/2500 sec, f/2.2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Sure, A Bit Vibrant
but safety first
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/3200 sec, f/2.2, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
YIKES MY EYES... MAKE IT STOP!
maybe safety is not that important!

For my first real cycling ride after my USA vacation, I had a lot of Under Armour clothes to choose from. I've been enamored with the brand for a while, so took the opportunity while in The States of actually being able to find my size to buy about a thousand dollars worth of the stuff, from sportswear to casual wear to jackets.

With sportsware I'm partial to loud vibrant colors, especially for visibility when road cycling. But perhaps in retrospect I shouldn't have quite gone so full throttle. Still, with this getup I bet I could always get a job as a rodeo clown.

By the way, the man I'm talking to above is Chris Rowthorn, who just happened to be walking by when I was meeting others for the start of the ride. He's the author of the Lonely Planet Japan guidebook, among many others. He used a few of my photos in his latest edition.

Anyway, I was joined for the ride by Manseki Kanemitsu, whom I met last month for this ride, and Kumiko Naka, whom I met on my first short cycling outing in January.

We decided to ride off to see the 100-year-old cherry tree, a well-known tree off in the northern mountains. I mentioned it on my blog in 2007, here.


Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/9, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Leaving the City
taken while riding at 20 kph

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/9, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Holding Traffic for Us

The road from Kyoto city proper to Kibune and Kurama is often too narrow to allow a bus and a car to pass each other, so in order to allow bus service several times a day, traffic is stopped until the bus passes through. Except during those brief moments of utility, the guy has to sit in the little hut seen at right in the photo above, being bored. Every time I pass them I think it must be the world's most boring job. (I've never seen them reading or the like.) This was the first time I'd actually seen them performing their task.

We were taking an exceedingly-lazy pace, so didn't mind stopping in front of the Kurama-dera Temple (鞍馬寺) for photos....


Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/8000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Manseki

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/6400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Me
photo by Manseki

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/5000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Kumiko

The road then dives into the mountain almost 800m (2,500 feet) up towards Hanase Pass (花背峠). This would be my second attempt, the first having been in February chronicled in Attempting a 100km Bikeride in the Mountains of Kyoto, Part 1: Hanase Pass.

This time I wasn't alone, so was happy to have a photo of me while riding...


DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/320 sec, f/3.1, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Plodding Up
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

I've got my camera slung to my back, and my bike is sporting a new rear bag that holds 2L of sports drink (that I ended up not using), a light windbreaker, my phone and GPS unit, among other little things. The design of the cheap rear bag is pretty bad, though, in how it attaches — just two Velcro straps that can let the bag roll sideways — so I'll have to see what I can rig up to hold it more firmly. But everything adds weight, which I already have more than enough of. 🙁

It's a gut-wrenching never-ending steep road, but I felt better than last time. I didn't need to drop into the easiest gear until 10 minutes in, rather than right away.


DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/400 sec, f/3.1, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Having My Priorities Straight
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/7.1, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Manseki Photographing Me
taken while riding at 15 kph

I stuck with Manseki (or he held back for me) until I got to the place I stopped for a rest the first time, and because I have no willpower, I stopped for a rest this time as well. But to my surprise, I didn't stop again until the top.


Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
No Snow
unlike last time, where a photo of here was captioned Slushy Road

The main part of the climb, from the Kurama Onsen until the pass, has a 492m (1,600 ft) elevation gain over less than 6km of road. The first time it took me 47:44, and this time 43:02. I thought I'd done better than 3½ minutes faster, so I was a bit disappointed. (The best time registered on Strava for the segment is less than half my time, a blistering 20:26 by Ryo Inoue last year.)

Kumiko's leg was giving her trouble, so we decided to abandon the long hilly ride to the cherry tree, and instead return down the mountain a bit and then cut over to the village of Ohara via Route 477. This would entail a short but ridiculously-steep section of road that with Kumiko's iffy leg we ended up walking.


Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/10, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Branching Off To Rt477

DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/250 sec, f/3.1, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Takin' it Easy
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

The tiny village of Momoi has no services that I noticed, except a phone.


Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/10, ISO 4500 — map & image datanearby photos
Old Phone/Telegraph Booth

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/10, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Helping Another Passerby
with directions to Ohara, where we were going ourselves

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/2500 sec, f/1.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Not Yet Purple
but it will be next month; I remember this field from May 2007

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/1.6, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Down
much easier than going up

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Long Sweeping Road
even though I was holding back because I wasn't familiar with the road, I got up to 56kph (35mph)

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
I Remember This Field Too
from when it was being planted in May 2007
taken while riding at 27 kph

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/2500 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Nearing Ohara
taken while riding at 20 kph

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/2000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Missed Opportunity
taken while riding at 27 kph

The out-of-focus farmer is holding a tray of rice seedlings, moving them from his truck to his greenhouse. I thought a nice photo of this scene would make a good introduction to the rice-planting season that starts in a couple of weeks. But when shooting one-handed with little reaction time, I couldn't get the shot. Oh well.

We stopped by the front garden of a tucked-away temple. (To visit the temple would require an hour's hike, I was told, so we opted against that.)...


Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/2.2, ISO 110 — map & image datanearby photos
entrance to the Amida Temple (阿弥陀寺)

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/3.5, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Manseki

We then arrived in the village of Ohara, and stopped by a restaurant that Manseki knew, Ohara Riverside Cafe KIRIN...


Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/4.5, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Stop for Lunch
Riverside Cafe KIRIN

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/250 sec, f/16, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Lunch Plate
includes the plate, plus rice, soup, and a huge salad
— It was very good —

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/4.5, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos
Riding Through Ohara
a village in the mountains of Northern Kyoto
taken while riding at 24 kph

We swung around and up to behind the Sanzen'in Temple...


Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/7.1, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Passing By
an unused gate of the Sanzen'in Temple
三千院の裏門

I timed the photo to include the gate, knowing that it had been on my blog before.

We continued back into the mountain, past the end of the road...


Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/2.2, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Precarious Steps
on slippery rocks in riding shoes with soles that clip onto bike pedals

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/2.2, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Being Silly
in front of the Otonashi Waterfall (音無の滝)

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/3.2, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Peter Pan Flys
so fast he's out of focus

DMC-SZ9 at an effective 26mm — 1/60 sec, f/3.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Shooting Peter Pan
photo by Manseki Kanemitsu

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/2.2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Passing By on the Way Home
Raigo-in Temple (来迎院)

Nikon D4 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/800 sec, f/3.5, ISO 160 — map & image datanearby photos
Less-Rural Ohara
taken while riding at 25 kph

According to Strava, my ride was about 60km (37 miles) over a lazy seven hours. Strava's numbers for distance (and hence speed) and moving time are pretty suspect; I've done my own tracklog analysis and I believe that they simply calculate incorrectly. But until I create my own web service and make it available for free, perhaps I shouldn't complain.


All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

“Peter Pan????” I was thinking more like “The Jolly Green Giant”

— comment by Grandma Friedl, Ohio, USA on April 19th, 2015 at 10:42pm JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Nice colors…I can see you from here. 🙂

— comment by Ray on April 21st, 2015 at 8:24pm JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

You know what that outfit really needed? Red gloves.

They arrived today, just in time for tomorrow’s 100km ride. Protect your retinas! —Jeffy

— comment by Marcina on April 22nd, 2015 at 10:07am JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks for the heads up. I’ll have a pinhole in a piece of paper ready for your next post 🙂

— comment by Marcina on April 22nd, 2015 at 11:59pm JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink
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