Miyama Cycling Tour with Joshua and Manseki, Part 1
Just Another Day at the Office would rob us of this experience — Joshua Levine rides through the countryside of Miyama, Japan — taken while riding at 9 kph (6 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/2000 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Just Another Day at the Office
would rob us of this experience
— Joshua Levine rides through the countryside of Miyama, Japan —
taken while riding at 9 kph (6 mph)

A week ago, I did a nice long bicycle ride in the mountains north of Kyoto (route and data). Manseki Kanemitsu and I tagged along with Joshua Levine on a route that he does often.

It totaled out at 131km (81 miles), making it my longest ride so far.

Ready to Roll -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/5000 sec, f/1.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Ready to Roll

The route took us up the mountain toward Hanase Pass (花背峠), a 500m (1,650') climb that holds a special place in my heart as my first real mountain climb, and every time I've done it since I've done it faster than the previous time.

That would not happen this time, as we paused before the pass at a natural spring where I sometimes see folks filling up water jugs.

Fill'er Up -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/1.4, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Fill'er Up

Josh mentioned early on that we'd stop here, so I somewhat slacked off the whole climb knowing the pause would kill the time-to-the-top measurement. So later when I checked the data for the climb, I was shocked to realize that had I not stopped, I would have easily broken my record.

Part of the attraction of cycling is the joy of seeing and discovering the countryside at a slower pace, but also part of it is the feeling of accomplishment I get when I make a new PR (personal record) on a section of mountain. It's quite superficial, I know, but I was inept at physical activity for the first 47 years of my life, so I'm simply amazed that I can now do some of these things. If someone else does it, I think well sure, because they're normal people in good shape and it's natural for them, but for me, it's like a dog making scrambled eggs: it's not the accomplishment itself so much as who's doing it.

Anyway, we went down the other side of the mountain, past Cowbell, and farther north until eventually we got to a road I'd never been on. It's always nice to ride a road for the first time, and since Joshua was leading, I didn't need to pay attention to the route at all. It was nice.

I finally had to stop and pull the camera out when we passed a rice field being planted completely by hand. I would have loved a lens with more reach, but this is what I got:

Rice Planting, Old-School Style -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Rice Planting, Old-School Style

It's a bit hard to see what's going on, but the adults are in the paddy planting rice seedlings one by one, and the kids are penned off under the tent to the right.

Two of the adults have infants strapped to their back.

The road eventually worked its way back up to another climb, this time toward Sasari Pass (佐々里峠).

Steep Section 10:14am - taken while riding at 7 kph (4 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 4000 — map & image datanearby photos
Steep Section
10:14am - taken while riding at 7 kph (4 mph)
Flying By -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Flying By

Josh showed me a spot to stop and photograph a wonderful vista, but the photos didn't end up well. I'll just have to go back and try it again.

Cresting the 735m pass earns you a long, lovely downhill. It was a bit dicey at times trying to juggle the camera, brakes, and steering while plummeting down the mountain, but I wanted photos showing the lean of the bike in a curve....

taken while riding at 24 kph (15 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
taken while riding at 24 kph (15 mph)
taken while riding at 30 kph (19 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
taken while riding at 30 kph (19 mph)
taken while riding at 31 kph (19 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
taken while riding at 31 kph (19 mph)
Takin' it Easy taken while riding at 19 kph (12 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Takin' it Easy
taken while riding at 19 kph (12 mph)
The Breakaway 10:48am - taken while riding at 35 kph (22 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
The Breakaway
10:48am - taken while riding at 35 kph (22 mph)

After the descent the road mostly flattened out for a long while, and Josh stepped on the gas a bit. Manseki noticed this and kept up, refusing to be left behind, drafting just inches behind Josh's rear wheel. I was slow to notice, and even if I had, I wouldn't have been able to keep up.

Josh just kept going faster, and Manseki just kept staying right with him. Two minutes later they were almost out of sight...

10:50am - taken while riding at 35 kph (22 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
10:50am - taken while riding at 35 kph (22 mph)

... and half a minute later they went around a curve, and I'd not see them again until they stopped 10 minutes later.

Bye-Bye... 10:51am - taken while riding at 34 kph (21 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 560 — map & image datanearby photos
Bye-Bye...
10:51am - taken while riding at 34 kph (21 mph)
Cornucopia of Architectural Styles 11:01am - taken while riding at 16 kph (10 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Cornucopia of Architectural Styles
11:01am - taken while riding at 16 kph (10 mph)
Friendly Wave there were a lot of cyclists out that day 11:03am - taken while riding at 32 kph (20 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Friendly Wave
there were a lot of cyclists out that day
11:03am - taken while riding at 32 kph (20 mph)
Fixing a Flat 11:03am - taken while riding at 33 kph (21 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Fixing a Flat
11:03am - taken while riding at 33 kph (21 mph)
Drafting 11:07am - taken while riding at 30 kph (19 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/4, ISO 360 — map & image datanearby photos
Drafting
11:07am - taken while riding at 30 kph (19 mph)

I tried drafting with them for a while, but especially with my long history as a driver (car and motorcycle), I felt uncomfortable with so little time buffer in front. I understand why professionals do it, but I'm not a professional. Perhaps I'll try again after I get a suitable amount of experience (and after I put the camera down 😉 ).

Miyama Japan -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Miyama Japan

We rode through the quaint village of Miyama (美山), which reminded me of Gokayama and Shirakawago, all three being villages with a lot of old thatched-roof houses.

Pretty Streetsign -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1250 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Pretty Streetsign

We continued on for another 15 minutes before stopping for food.

Shortcut that didn't work out -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/3200 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Shortcut
that didn't work out
Well-Earned Treat -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/8000 sec, f/1.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Well-Earned Treat

By this time we'd traveled only 72km (45mi) with only 1,200m (4,000') of climb, but I was wiped out. Bad calorie-intake management (I didn't eat enough) combined with trying to keep up with them left me drained. So I was happy to stop for food, drink, and rest. And ice cream.

It was a good lesson, and it prepared me for the much harder ride that I did a few days later (A Day of Vertical-Climb Cycling Torture in Western Kyoto). That ride was harder and on a day with much more heat, but having learned my lesson about making sure to have enough calories throughout the ride, that tougher ride ended up feeling much easier than this one.

Time To Get Going Again -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/5000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Time To Get Going Again
Picturesque Stacking Style 12:11pm - taken while riding at 32 kph (20 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/3200 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Picturesque Stacking Style
12:11pm - taken while riding at 32 kph (20 mph)
Picturesque Scenery 12:11pm - taken while riding at 33 kph (20 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/2500 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Picturesque Scenery
12:11pm - taken while riding at 33 kph (20 mph)
Really Steep the uniformity of the farmed trees really exposes how steep the mountain is 12:12pm - taken while riding at 36 kph (22 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/5000 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Really Steep
the uniformity of the farmed trees really exposes how steep the mountain is
12:12pm - taken while riding at 36 kph (22 mph)
More Curves more butt pictures 12:14pm - taken while riding at 33 kph (21 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/1600 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
More Curves
more butt pictures
12:14pm - taken while riding at 33 kph (21 mph)
Taking the Road Less Traveled 12:26pm - taken while riding at 11 kph (7 mph) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM — 1/2000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Taking the Road Less Traveled
12:26pm - taken while riding at 11 kph (7 mph)

We didn't want to go through the tunnel, and did want to have more climb, so we tried an alternate route. It did not disappoint.

Continued here...


All 4 comments so far, oldest first...

Under “Really Steep”, what were the “farmed trees” and why are they being grown like that?
Will they be harvested for something? Their trunks look very straight and uniform, so maybe for building something special?? Quite interesting.

PS Be sure to let us know ASAP if you have another serious earthquake. Your prompt responses on previous occasions probably saved my life each time, keeping me from succumbing from worry and a stroke.

I’ve never felt a serious (or even moderate) quake here in Kyoto… there’s a reason this area was chosen to be the capital of Japan for 1,000 years… and didn’t hear about the recent on in Tokyo until much later. As for the trees, there’s a lot of tree farming in the north and northwest of Kyoto (see this old post), and one assumes that straight trees make straight boards…. —Jeffy

— comment by Grandma Friedl, Ohio, USA on June 1st, 2015 at 1:51am JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Your many bicycling excursions are seriously making me want to abandon Seoul for Kyoto.

— comment by Matthew Campagna on June 1st, 2015 at 5:35pm JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Oh my, another post with beautiful riding. Keep them coming.

— comment by RBMann on June 2nd, 2015 at 1:30am JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

I noticed that you were none to thrilled about the iphone 6+ camera. As chief among all Android whores I’m nobody to refute your claims. I couldn’t help but wonder if you’ve gotten so used to the big Nikon that the smartphone camera may be showing its limitations even more painfully.

Do you think maybe its time to get a high-end compact full-frame or aps-c for your bike rides? Something small but more powerful than the mobile phone camera.

My comment about the phone camera is absolutely from someone used to a $6,000 full-frame SLR…. it’s absolute, not relative. I don’t care that the camera is good “for a phone” when I want quality; I just want quality. In this case, comparing phone cameras against each other is like someone used to high-end world-class restaurants comparing fast-food burgers. And yes, it’s time I got something that balances size and quality more appropriately for the bicycle, which is why I picked up a little something last week; first ride with it is tomorrow. 🙂 —Jeffrey

— comment by Ron Evans on June 2nd, 2015 at 4:14am JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink
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