The New Bike Is Fast; I’m Just Going Along For The Ride
Southern View from Onyu Pass is starting to show a bit of color -- Onyu Toge (おにゅう峠) -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 46mm — 1/100 sec, f/10, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Southern View from Onyu Pass
is starting to show a bit of color

I took a long bicycle ride into the mountains north of Kyoto on Saturday. It was my first long outing since recovering from what I thought was a mild but persistent cold, but turned out to be a respiratory-tract infection. Once I got antibiotics, I felt better almost right away.

Since I was mostly out of commission for three weeks, I knew I was out of shape and wouldn't be particularly fast, but at the same time, I was on my new bike, which seems to let me go faster for the same effort, so in the end I didn't know which competing effect would win.

To start my ride, I joined Andy Clark on a trip up to Hanase Pass, 710m higher than where I live, and the first big climb I ever did, so it has a special place in my heart. It was my first to try it with the new bike, so I hoped I could shatter my old record, but I could feel right away that I just didn't have the energy. Three weeks being sick had just made me too soft.

And it's just as well that I wasn't on track for a killer time, because I stopped to assist a pair of boys — maybe 10 or 11 years old — that I came upon on the deserted mountain road looking at a big map book of Japan, wondering where they were. Wanting to go to Hanase Pass, they were on the correct road, but didn't know how far along they were. I helped them with directions and info on where to get beverages. According to my tracklog, I spent 1:54 with them.

A young, fast Japanese cyclist had passed me not long before I came across the boys... I wonder why he didn't stop to help them. Even if they were not standing looking at a map, I'd at least touch base with kids so young in such a place.

Anyway, Andy and I made our slow way up to the pass and all the way down the other side. Andy didn't have time for a longer ride, so we parted ways and he retraced his steps.

I was dead tired, but from being out of shape and not from the cold, so I wanted to continue along, slowly, to see where the day would take me.

It first took me north to Nomi Pass, where I met a construction worker at the top. He told me to take care with my descent, because there would be some big construction equipment moving up. He wasn't kidding.

Wide Load the huge backhoe almost fills the width of the road and it looks like it was an ordeal making this hairpin turn -- 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Wide Load
the huge backhoe almost fills the width of the road
and it looks like it was an ordeal making this hairpin turn

Emerging from the mountains to the edge of a small village, you're greeted with a quintessential old farmhouse that just naturally begs to be photographed:

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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 25mm — 1/80 sec, f/10, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos

The same house covered in snow was seen in this photo from my first big ride in February, and in the spring when recreating that first ride three months later.

Another House in the Village with their rice at right, hanging to dry like this -- 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 27mm — 1/80 sec, f/10, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Another House in the Village
with their rice at right, hanging to dry like this

The front of the house looks like a field of weeds...

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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/10, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos

... so it's hard to believe it's the same house that was fronted with a lovely sea of flowers when I went by two months ago.

A Bit of Fall Colors at this house in the village -- 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 25mm — 1/125 sec, f/10, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
A Bit of Fall Colors
at this house in the village
Mud-Roofed Storage Building taken while cycling at 23 kph (14 mph) -- 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/1600 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mud-Roofed Storage Building
taken while cycling at 23 kph (14 mph)

Normally the roof is finished and painted, like this one.

Small Stream from a bridge crossing over it -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Small Stream
from a bridge crossing over it
Looking The Other Way -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/500 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking The Other Way

On the long and pleasant Route 783 up to the start of Onyu Pass, there's a turnoff that I'd been wanting to check out....

Unassuming Turnoff looking from the north -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/200 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Unassuming Turnoff
looking from the north

When peeking in, it dives up the mountain in an inviting way:

“ You Can't Shortcut Through Here ” the sign at left -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 67mm — 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
You Can't Shortcut Through Here
the sign at left

The road is not marked on Google Maps (and it's on OpenStreetMap.org only because I added it), but looked inviting on Google Earth. But with the aforementioned dead tiredness, I paused for a while and took a nap, using a log by the side of the road as a pillow...

Nap Time I didn't have the slightest worry that a car would come along... ever -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 38mm — 1/80 sec, f/8, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Nap Time
I didn't have the slightest worry that a car would come along... ever

After about half an hour, I took off up the unknown road. It turns out to be about 1.4km (0.9mi) long, rising at an average grade of 10.6%, ending unceremoniously into the face of the mountain:

Road to Nowhere the end of a nice 1.4km 11% climb -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Road to Nowhere
the end of a nice 1.4km 11% climb

To be clear, this is not a road that had been sealed off by a rockfall... the road construction just stopped here.

Also, unlike the Bridge to Nowhere that I posted about nine years ago, it doesn't appear that this is an ongoing project that I just happen to have caught in this useless state.

The road does not appear to have any reason to exist... there's no dam or cell tower it's allowing access to, and it's not supporting forestry or farming or anything else I could see. It's just a beautiful road painstakingly cut into a very steep mountain, never to be used. I can only imagine what the construction workers thought as they painted the highly-reflective white lines right up to the blunt rockface.

The best I can guess is that the road was intended to be continued over the mountain to join up with where Route 783 has looped back down, cutting off a 14km-segment of Route 783 for those just wanting to move east. If that's the case, the project seems to have been abandoned.

Anyway, it makes for a nice 150m climb. The road surface is nice for all but a short section where it's become warped and buckled, though it's littered with rocks here and there. On the climb I'd concentrated on just not giving up, but for the ride down I pulled out the camera.

Road Stuck Onto The Side of the Mountain lots of effort for little apparent gain -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/80 sec, f/8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Road Stuck Onto The Side of the Mountain
lots of effort for little apparent gain
Great View okay, I guess a great view is one apparent gain -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/10, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Great View
okay, I guess a great view is one apparent gain
Typical Section of Road cut through the mountain, lightly littered with rocks -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 41mm — 1/80 sec, f/10, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Typical Section of Road
cut through the mountain, lightly littered with rocks

I ended up making a segment for the climb on Strava. Unsurprisingly, I'm the only one who's done this section of road before....

Back on the country lane heading north, this is a typical scene when coming across the occasional house:

Fenced Off to keep animals out of their gardens -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Fenced Off
to keep animals out of their gardens
Getting Ready for the Winter -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/800 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Getting Ready for the Winter

I had the pleasure to chat with Neil Holt, whom I came across as he road south...

Neil Holt always seem to have a smile -- Takashima, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2015 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Neil Holt
always seem to have a smile

Coincidentally, I was with Neil the last time I'd been on this road. It was nice to have a little chat. He told me about a back road that I would end up taking later on my ride.

After our chat, I continued north, plodding up to the 839m elevation of Onyu Pass, where someone who had arrived by car kindly took my photo for me...

Gasless was how my body felt the whole time Onyu Pass (おにゅう峠) -- Onyu Toge (おにゅう峠) -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/80 sec, f/16, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Gasless
was how my body felt the whole time
Onyu Pass (おにゅう峠)
View North to Obama relatively clear for Onyu Pass, but still hazy -- Onyu Toge (おにゅう峠) -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
View North to Obama
relatively clear for Onyu Pass, but still hazy

The view to the south, where I'd come from, leads this post.

The two other times I'd made the climb up here, I paused often while descending to take photos, but this time I just went directly down at a pretty fast clip. It was fun.

I thought that there was no commerce for many miles, so I was surprised to find a cafe in the middle of nowhere. It turns out that they're open only on weekends and holidays, from 9am to 3pm...

Sankirai Cafe (山帰来) -- Sankirai Cafe (山帰来) -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Sankirai Cafe (山帰来)

They didn't have any food, just coffee, but the proprietor took pity on my hunger and gave me a bunch of chocolate and cookies...

Trying To Refill The Gas Tank -- Sankirai Cafe (山帰来) -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/5 sec, f/13, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Trying To Refill The Gas Tank

Feeling a bit refreshed, and filling my water bottles at an outside fountain near the cafe, I headed east toward Route 367, about 20 kilometers away. It was my first time to head that way, previously always returning due south the way I'd come. I didn't know what to expect, but hoped it'd be faster and less hilly than the route I knew. I was really tired and daylight was limited.

I eventually came to a turnoff that Neil had told me about. Two days prior he'd seen that a friend had discovered an old back road that Neil had not known about. It sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a try.

The Nondescript Turnoff -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
The Nondescript Turnoff
View From Its Bridge -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 40mm — 1/80 sec, f/9, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
View From Its Bridge
Immediate Fork just after the bridge -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/9, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Immediate Fork
just after the bridge

Both roads have feeble road closed signs. The one to the right was not on my map, so I took the one to the left. Looking later on Google Earth, the one to the right appears to be similar to the road-to-nowhere one I road earlier in the day. I'll have to check it out next time I'm in the area.

The road ended up being a pretty standard deep-country mountain road, mostly clear but with sections of moss and muck that would make it really unappealing for bicycles when wet.

Mossy -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 62mm — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Mossy
Pretty -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 46mm — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Pretty
Short Section of Muck taken while cycling at 20 kph (13 mph) -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Short Section of Muck
taken while cycling at 20 kph (13 mph)
Debris Here and There -- Ohikodani Pass (大彦谷峠) -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 52mm — 1/100 sec, f/4, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Debris Here and There
Ohikodani Pass (大彦谷峠) -- Ohikodani Pass (大彦谷峠) -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/4, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Ohikodani Pass (大彦谷峠)

The western approach that I took ended up being 3.4km with an average grade of 7%. Not too challenging. I made a segment for it on Strava, and I'm the only one to have ridden it so far. The friend who had ridden two days prior had come from the other direction, and so far he's the only one to have ridden that segment. I guess the road is not very popular compared to its alternative. I've never taken the alternative so I can't compare, but on a dry day this traffic-less road seems nice.

A trail-running path cuts across the pass, reminding me that I'm a wimp to use wheels...

Onward and Upward -- Ohikodani Pass (大彦谷峠) -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/4, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Onward and Upward

For my part, hours away from home with not that much daylight left, I headed down.

I went much faster than I should have, often hitting rocks that I didn't see among the leaves. I was sort of surprised that I didn't get a puncture, until I got a puncture.

First Puncture on the New Bike -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/30 sec, f/8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
First Puncture on the New Bike

It was my first time to change a tire when it wasn't pouring rain with the wheel covered in grime. It was lovely, and when I was done my hands were still clean.

Leaving The Closed Road it's not locked... it's just kept closed to keep animals away from the village -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/100 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Leaving The Closed Road
it's not locked... it's just kept closed to keep animals away from the village
Sun Dipping Behind the Mountains -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Sun Dipping Behind the Mountains
Just 47km (29mi) Farther To Kyoto taken while cycling at 24 kph (15 mph) -- 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Just 47km (29mi) Farther To Kyoto
taken while cycling at 24 kph (15 mph)

Now on the substantially-larger Route 367, I had a straight-forward ride home. I was tired and drained and just wanted to be home, but I stopped at the first cafe I came to just to get some calories. I'd brought plenty, but had long since eaten it all.

Wing Cafe -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 29mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Wing Cafe

I was really in a rush, so consulted with them on what would be the fastest to prepare, and ordered a mixed sandwich. But then I noticed cake behind the counter, and ordered that as well, knowing it'd be fast. Here's how it arrived:

Very Special Grape -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 37mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.4, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Very Special Grape

It came garnished with a grape, which I popped into my mouth the moment I put the camera down. It was the most delicious food ever created by man or nature. Two bites later, the cake was gone.

“ Mixed Sandwich ” nondescript mostly-bread sandwich; common in Japan -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 35mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.3, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Mixed Sandwich
nondescript mostly-bread sandwich; common in Japan
Pleasant Interior that I didn't stick around to enjoy -- Takashima, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.7, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Pleasant Interior
that I didn't stick around to enjoy

After this I headed straight home on Route 367. As I discussed in a recent post, Route 367 has a bunch of tunnels that are safer to avoid, but at this point I valued speed pretty highly... I just wanted to be home. I have a very bright tail light, so I don't actually feel the tunnels are all that dangerous, so I took them all.

The closed and broken road that one tunnel bypasses, that I wrote about the other day, would have been much easier today because the water level was down. I had a nice view of it from the bridge between tunnels.

compare to this scene a month ago -- Otsu, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
compare to this scene a month ago
Mostly Dry compared to this -- Otsu, Shiga, 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)
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 35mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.3, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Mostly Dry
compared to this

Much of the long trip home is uphill, but it's worth it for the fast downhill sections, which I love. On one section (discussed here) my on-bike speed indicator said that I reached 78kph (48mph), so that was a new record for me. I've got to thank Andy Clark for that... on the descent together from Hanase that morning, he offered comments on some of my un-aerodynamic ways he'd noticed. Using his advice, I was able to break 70kph on four different sections of road on the way home.

So, that was that. By the time I got home, I was the most tired I'd been after a bike ride since returning home after my first big ride in February.

I uploaded my data to Strava, and immediately saw which of the competing factors (out-of-shape slowness vs. new bike speed) was most impactful. All the yellow marks at the left edge told me that the bike is really fast, even if I'm slow:


Wow
New bike was fast; I got to go along for the ride

The yellow icons shaped like crowns mean that I'm the fastest male to have done the segment, but in these cases it's because I'm the only male to have done the segment, so they don't mean anything. But the other icons, with PR (Personal Record) in them, mean that I did it faster this time than any time before. The two near the top that have no mark are when I had stopped along the way. I was tired the whole time, and felt very slow, so these results just show how correct everyone was who said a new bike would be fast.

On my personal benchmark hill climb, the climb to Hanase Pass, despite having stopped to help the kids for a couple of minutes, I still beat my personal best by more than two minutes. I wouldn't have broken 30 minutes even if I hadn't stopped, but I think that'll be my personal goal for the near term. According to Strava, folks have done it in 20 minutes, which is just unfathomable to me.

So that was my Saturday. Now it's Tuesday and I'm mostly recovered, I hope. Gotta' get back into form....


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

There you go again posting photos of beautiful mountain roads. I would really like to say I hate you but now that I have shared ramen lunch with you and know you are an okay person then I just have to accept that you live in a place with better roads. Thanks again, keep them coming.

— comment by Rick H. on October 20th, 2015 at 3:20pm JST (1 year, 11 months ago) comment permalink

I regularly enjoy reading your blog in my feed aggregator and looking at your photographs, and, being a tramper (a New Zealand term for walking into the bush and over mountains) and a cyclist, I am always interested to read of your running/cycling routes. I did wonder about your Trek 7.3FX – it’s a good bike, but not a proper road bike and not one that I would like to ride on roads (too heavy/slow and the wrong gear ratios), so your X-Lite would seem to be a much better choice. I bought myself a Trek SL1000 a few years back for my birthday (my son chipped in $200 towards the cost). After riding conventional steel tube drop handlebar bikes, the Trek was my first encounter with a modern lightweight road/racing bike with some bits (front forks and seat pillar) made of of carbon fibre. I found it extremely fast and light by comparison, but a bit twitchy due to the different frame geometry – makes for very precise steering. The range of gears is great – it can go low enough to get me up anything steep that I have so far encountered, and in top gear is a lazy downhill high speed pedal to about 53kph.
But the thing that got me about your cycling reports was the (for me) unacceptably high number of flat tyres that seemed to occur. I have only had one flat tyre since I fitted my bike with “Taupo tyres” a few years back. Before then, I became impatient with the frequent flats in the flimsy Bontrager brand racing tyres. If there’s one thing I detest, it’s having to fix a flat when I should be cycling. I would therefore suggest you get your hands on the Taupo tyres: they were designed specifically for NZ conditions over the Lake Taupo Challenge – good puncture resistance (it’s a rough route), good wear properties, good grip in wet and dry conditions (the weather can be atrocious), and with a good (low resistance) rolling speed. The 700x23mm size fits every standard 700c road bike wheel. Skip the expensive Kevlar tyres.

If you do try them out, let me know how they worked for you.
Co-incidentally, it’s my birthday today, and I celebrated by taking a leisurely 30K spin on my Trek SL1000.

I’ll keep the Taupo brand in mind, thanks, though I don’t know that I can get them here in Japan.

I’ve had only three flats so far, in 4,000km of riding, and I think all three were user error. With the first, the tire was ridiculously worn such that you could see through it in many places. The second and third were due to really low tire pressure, I think. On a whim, just before my most recent ride (200km around Lake Biwa), I decided to check the pressure with a gauge. I’d filled it out on the previous ride after a flat, so I thought it should be okay, but the “seems okay to me” pressure was only 30PSI(!) I was shocked that I couldn’t tell the difference in feel between 30PSI and the 100PSI that I wanted. So now I’ll be checking with a gauge every time.

I’m planning to get some slightly more off-roady tires for the Trek, and have heard good things about the Schwalbe Marathon series. We’ll see. —Jeffrey

— comment by Slartibartfarst on October 23rd, 2015 at 8:38pm JST (1 year, 11 months ago) comment permalink

I don’t remember how I came across your blog, but I’m really enjoying reading it here in the Bronx.

I’m 71 years old and just upgraded from a 28 lb. hybrid bike to a sleek carbon road bike.

I didn’t get a fitting but I think I will after reading your description of the experience.

Thanks for writing.

Charles Shopsis

It seems you have a misspelling in there, Charles…. you have “71 years O・L・D”, but from the rest of the text it looks like it should be “71 years Y・O・U・N・G”. 😉 —Jeffrey

— comment by Charles Shopsis on September 22nd, 2016 at 10:52pm JST (11 months, 29 days ago) comment permalink
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