Many Lessons Learned on Yesterday’s Group Ride
Large Group Ride pausing after the first steep climb in the mountains above the Arashiyama area of Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Large Group Ride
pausing after the first steep climb
in the mountains above the Arashiyama area of Kyoto, Japan

I went on a bicycle ride yesterday that involved 13 people, the largest group I'd been on to date. It was fun, but I also learned some important lessons.

Gathering Sanjo-Street Bridge over the Kamo River (三条大橋) -- Sanjo-Street Bridge over the Kamo River (三条大橋) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 37mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Gathering
Sanjo-Street Bridge over the Kamo River (三条大橋)
Sanjo-Street Bridge over the Kamo River (三条大橋) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 37mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

It was quite the international gathering, with folks from Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Japan, Norway, Philippines, and The States.

The first lesson I learned was to pay attention to what weather forecast I looked at. Yesterday in Kyoto city proper the actual weather (spritzy rain in the morning; otherwise sunny all day) sort of matched the forecast (10% chance of rain all day), but our ride into the mountains was in the mountains, and it rained almost the entire time.

Heading Out lead by Nigel and Andy 6:20 AM (+4 min) - 1.2 km (0.8 miles) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1000 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Out
lead by Nigel and Andy
6:20 AM (+4 min) - 1.2 km (0.8 miles)
Waiting at a Traffic Light like good cyclists do -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 72mm — 1/200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Waiting at a Traffic Light
like good cyclists do
Scenic Route 6:27 AM (+11 min) - 3.4 km (2.1 miles) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 72mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Scenic Route
6:27 AM (+11 min) - 3.4 km (2.1 miles)
Not-so-Scenic Route 6:31 AM (+15 min) - 4.7 km (2.9 miles) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Not-so-Scenic Route
6:31 AM (+15 min) - 4.7 km (2.9 miles)
Nigel Randell 6:45 AM (+29 min) - 10 km (6.2 miles) taken while cycling at 36 kph (22 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Nigel Randell
6:45 AM (+29 min) - 10 km (6.2 miles)
taken while cycling at 36 kph (22 mph)

Nigel does an amazing amount of cycling, including commute-to-work rides exceeding 100km. So far this year, including during the winter, he's averaged 1500km (890 miles) per month.

Leading the Parade 6:45 AM (+29 min) - 10 km (6.3 miles) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Leading the Parade
6:45 AM (+29 min) - 10 km (6.3 miles)
Minor Slope 6:46 AM (+30 min) - 10 km (6.3 miles) taken while cycling at 19 kph (12 mph) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Minor Slope
6:46 AM (+30 min) - 10 km (6.3 miles)
taken while cycling at 19 kph (12 mph)

The pair in orange are father/son, with the boy being in sixth grade. He had not the slightest problem keeping with the group. They joined us only for the beginning, and split off before the steep climbs, but I suspect both could have handled it easily.

Arashiyama 6:54 AM (+37 min) - 13 km (8.2 miles) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 70mm — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Arashiyama
6:54 AM (+37 min) - 13 km (8.2 miles)

I always like riding through this part of northern Arashiyama. Here we're going by the Hokyo-in Temple (宝筐院), which is just stunning in autumn.

We soon dove into the forest-covered mountains, and a light spritzy/misty rain started that didn't let up. After the first short (but intense) climb, we took the group photo that leads this post.

Being both wet and steep, we took the descents quite slowly...

Careful Descent 7:09 AM (+53 min) - 16 km (9.9 miles) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 47mm — 1/100 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Careful Descent
7:09 AM (+53 min) - 16 km (9.9 miles)
Social Pause 7:41 AM (+1h 24m) - 22 km (13.6 miles) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Social Pause
7:41 AM (+1h 24m) - 22 km (13.6 miles)

There's a tiny village halfway up the first major climb, and normally one would not stop here, but with a large group of varying abilities, it's nice to stop from time to time to keep people more or less together.

The fastest folks arrived at the top long before me and the other slowpokes, and went partially down the other side and returned back up to the pass not long after I arrived...

Heading Home 8:07 AM (+1h 50m) - 26 km (16.0 miles) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 70mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Home
8:07 AM (+1h 50m) - 26 km (16.0 miles)

With various family obligations, they returned home the way we came, while the rest of us continued away from the city.

Picturesque Stop “ 京都市有形文化財 河原家住宅 ” Kyoto City Tangible Cultural Asset “ Kawara Family Home ” 8:24 AM (+2h 8m) - 29 km (17.8 miles) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Picturesque Stop
京都市有形文化財河原家住宅
Kyoto City Tangible Cultural Asset Kawara Family Home
8:24 AM (+2h 8m) - 29 km (17.8 miles)
Random Jovialty 8:40 AM (+2h 24m) - 33 km (20.7 miles) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 30mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Random Jovialty
8:40 AM (+2h 24m) - 33 km (20.7 miles)
Lovely Descent 8:41 AM (+2h 25m) - 34 km (21.0 miles) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Lovely Descent
8:41 AM (+2h 25m) - 34 km (21.0 miles)

This descent, like the rest of the planned route, follows the same path that Gorm and I did two weeks ago. Like last time, I couldn't get good shots down this super-nice descent. The rain didn't help.

The rain also didn't help one rider, Dario, who for unknown reasons lost control on a slow straightaway and met the ground. 🙁

Fixing a Boo -Boo 8:43 AM (+2h 26m) - 34 km (21.1 miles) -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Fixing a Boo-Boo
8:43 AM (+2h 26m) - 34 km (21.1 miles)

I was really impressed with how Antti (from Finland) took control of the situation, tending to the road rash in a no-nonsense way, then tending to the bicycle (making sure it was safe to ride), all the while tending to everyone's emotions. He brought calm and direction where it was needed.

Many good lessons here for everyone.

We didn't have much in the way of first-aid supplies with us (which is to say we had nothing; I had a few Band-Aids, but they were of no use here), so Antti made do with what we had. My little towel became a protective wrap.

Putting a Happy Face on It when pride is certainly wounded -- Nantan, Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Putting a Happy Face on It
when pride is certainly wounded

Dario was certainly in discomfort for a while, but a day later he's already saying he's ready to ride again with us soon.

Back to yesterday, in going over the bicycle to make sure it was safe to ride, Antti adjusted a few bolts with a small multi-tool thing he had. I don't think anyone else had anything like that, and this was another lesson for me. Mechanical issues can pop up any time, so I should have some basic tools with me. If I was going to spend the weight to have some tools, I wanted to get something that would actually be useful, so I ordered this Crank Brothers tool. It's a little heavy and has mixed reviews, so here's keeping my fingers crossed.

We continued as a group until we got to a turnoff that lead back to Kyoto. I had intended to return at this point anyway, since I had family things to do myself. Four of us headed back via a small mountain road.

Then I got my first flat as a cyclist.

Sad Tire 9:29 AM (+3h 13m) - 45 km (27.8 miles) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/160 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Sad Tire
9:29 AM (+3h 13m) - 45 km (27.8 miles)

The others were in a rush just to get home in the cold rain, and there was nothing they could do while I changed the flat, so I told them to continue on.

I'd never changed a flat, nor even seen it done except in a couple of YouTube videos that I watched some months ago. But it turned out to be straightforward to change the tube, and aside from the most dirty I think my hands have ever gotten, there were no problems.

Change in Progress 9:40 AM (+3h 24m) - 45 km (27.8 miles) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Change in Progress
9:40 AM (+3h 24m) - 45 km (27.8 miles)
Looks Like a Half -Eaten Carcass -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 43mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Looks Like a Half-Eaten Carcass

The new tube was in and filled, and I was about ready to put the wheel back onto the bike when I had the bright idea to actually check the tread to see whether I could find what caused the flat. If there was a nail or something in there, it'd just pop the new tube right away.

I wasn't quite prepared for what I found:

Ridiculously Bad Shape -- Woody Keihoku (ウッディー京北) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/1000 sec, f/2.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Ridiculously Bad Shape

This is not a tire that's just gone bad... this tire has apparently been beyond bad for a long time. This wear extends around much of one half of the tire, and it's unfathomable how neither I nor the mechanics who have worked on my bike over the last months have not noticed it. This is worse than first noticing you're pregnant because the baby just fell out.

I knew immediately that I was in trouble, because with a huge hole worn through the tire, there was nothing to protect the tube. I actually got a few very-careful kilometers on it, enough to get to a convenience store and wash my hands, but it soon was flat again.

I was 50km (30 miles) from home, in the middle of nowhere, with a bike I couldn't ride.

Thankfully, my father-in-law could come and pick me up. I pushed the bike to a michi no eki (道の駅) that was conveniently close and waited.

Dad Saves the Day 11:50 AM -- Woody Keihoku (ウッディー京北) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 43mm — 1/160 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Dad Saves the Day
11:50 AM

All 7 comments so far, oldest first...

wow, this actually inspires me .. i am soo daunted/impressed by your lightroom precision and general photography acumen that i feel some relief to discover that worn out bicycle tire .. human after all!
greetings from south india

Haha, if you only knew how “human” I am behind the carefully-photoshopped persona that I present… 🙂 —Jeffrey

— comment by gregorylent on June 30th, 2015 at 12:43am JST (2 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Another superb documentation of another great ride with wonderful people. Thanks Jeffrey c:

— comment by Nigel Randell on June 30th, 2015 at 6:24am JST (2 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

That’s a pretty frightening tear in the tire! I’m really glad that you didn’t experience any issues with it at higher speeds. A flat tire is one thing, it could have been disastrous with a blow-out.

I’m also impressed (and a bit jealous) that you had no issues changing your tire for the first time. I had such issues taking my tire off of the wheel the first time I tried… then the second time, I did it incorrectly and had another flat in short order because the inner tube got pinched by the tire (not sure how). Since then I’ve gone with wider tires to cut down on flats entirely. A flat tire ruins my fun.

What type of tire are you going to go with as a replacement?

One without a hole. 🙂 I went to the bike shop that evening and told them I’m pretty hard on the bike, and ride on a lot of gravel, and to please sell me something appropriate. It cost about $30, but another $7 each for three tubes (one to go in now, and two for spares). —Jeffrey

— comment by David K. on June 30th, 2015 at 12:15pm JST (2 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Another terrific post and story. Many lessons. Classic fix if you are down to your last tube and on a tire less damaged: folded US dollar bill laid over puncture between tube and tire, just to get you home.

— comment by Janet Heineck on June 30th, 2015 at 7:24pm JST (2 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

I found myself wondering how I would feel 30 miles out from home on a busted bicycle here in my native country versus the same scenario of being an expat for many years in another country. After all these years in a scenario like that did you experience any of that ‘stranger in a strange land’ feeling?

Heading Home – has this pensive quality, all the riders w/ heads down, the woods, the misty weather and trees-road-mossy retaingin wall just kicks ass!

Careful Descent – nice shot of the valley and the hairpin curve. Really gives you the viewer this sense of danger.

Change in Progress – in/out of context, an interesting shot. The water on the road and those greasy acid green tools really draw the viewer in.

This is a great post. Many of the shots and your narration make this a sublime and fascinating local adventure story. Of the lot, which of these photos is your favorite?

Nope, no strange feeling this time. Thanks for the many kind words. I don’t know that I have a favorite… I tend to judge my own photos by the photographic quality and not necessarily the content, and in that metric none are very exciting. But I feel proud about having changed the tire, so maybe “Change in Progress” is my best for the memory. The scene in “Careful Descent” had promise, but perhaps my result is not so bad considering how little time I had to set up for it (I was going down ahead of the and the moment I noticed the scene I put the brakes on, turned around, and quickly waddled back 10 meters just in time to take the shot you see.) —Jeffrey

— comment by Ron Evans on July 1st, 2015 at 12:00am JST (2 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

I too learned the hard way how dirty one’s hands can get… Just stick several pairs of disposable nitrile gloves in your bike kit. It weights nothing and helps a lot in times of need.

I also learned first hand about not having a first-aid kit, which you can find plenty of every imaginable size and kind on Amazon.

— comment by EZ on July 3rd, 2015 at 2:17am JST (2 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Three repair kit suggestions

2×4 in piece of tyvek cut from a mailer.
its very strong and works well when placed in between the tube an a large hole in a tire.
also can be used to cover a wound in an emergency (hope you never need to use it this way).
CO2 tire cartridge. inflates tire fast to get you going. Warning the CO2 will escape and the tire will be flat by the next day
extra folding tire.
all of this can be kept in an old water bottle with the top cut off.

— comment by Ed Pouso on July 3rd, 2015 at 4:30pm JST (2 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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