Joshua’s Eclectic Birthday Ride
Birthday Boy Reaches the Top Joshua Levine looking comfortable at the top of a 23 % slope -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 62mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Birthday Boy Reaches the Top
Joshua Levine looking comfortable at the top of a 23% slope

We had an eclectic little ride the other day to celebrate Joshua's birthday. Unlike a common ride that makes a big loop through some gorgeous mountains, this ride stayed closer to home, hopping from interesting point to interesting point, at a slow, fun pace.

It was my 16th time to ride with Joshua, since joining him on a NORU bike tour two and a half years ago.

Starting Out Joshua · Kevin · David — as usual, making our way through some suburb to reach the mountains — -- (株)長栄今出川センター -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Starting Out
Joshua · Kevin · David
— as usual, making our way through some suburb to reach the mountains —
Unexpected Off-Road Descent Nigel follows Tomas -- Nasty 21% Slope -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 1000 — map & image datanearby photos
Unexpected Off-Road Descent
Nigel follows Tomas

It turns out that one can use this dirt trail to get around having to descent the Nasty 21% slope. Personally, I'd rather just descend on the road because neither my bike nor my courage are set up for off-road riding.

This little off-road excursion fit within the spirit of the day, which was to throw caution/inhibitions into the wind and just have fun doing crazy things with friends. (That crazy things are as mild as a dirt path and the other things you'll see here speaks to the fact that we've settled down in our maturity.)

The first true crazy thing came immediately after descending on this dirt trail: we rode up Old Kyomi, a road that is now paved but was likely a trail for 1,000 years prior. A car-friendly bypass road appeared in the 1950s, so this older road is now rarely used.

It's very difficult.

Nigel Suffers up Old Kyomi Even though the slope is only 19% at this point, the road surface makes it more challenging than the steeper parts. -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Nigel Suffers up Old Kyomi
Even though the slope is only 19% at this point,
the road surface makes it more challenging than the steeper parts.

The overall average of the segment — 1.6km (1mi) at 13% — belies the true difficulty of the climb. It's really unfair that the photo makes it look flat; it's very steep.

The 100m leading to the point where I took the photo above averages 22%, which for me would not be an insurmountable problem if the road surface were trustworthy. But it's not... just look at it... the road pavement is rough and crumbling to begin with, and on top of that it's littered with rocks, sticks, leaves, moss, sand, etc., all just waiting to take your tire out from under you.

That's why I was taking photos where I was. I had hoped to complete the climb without stopping (something I'd not been able to do when I tried this climb a couple of years ago), but at this point I wasn't able to avoid a rut or something, and my wheel slipped and I had to put my foot down before I fell down. So, I set the bike aside and sat down with the camera to await the others.

Nigel was the first to arrive, and was pushing his bike. He's probably the strongest among us all, and you might remember him from the outlandishly crazy Ascending Hanase Pass on a Mamachari, so might wonder why someone so strong would be pushing. The answer is that he was on a single-speed bike, one that didn't have multiple gears to choose from. My bike has 22 gear combinations; some folks' mountain bikes have 30. His had just one, and the road surface was just too difficult for the one he had.

David and Tomas Actually Ride Up with some random, selfish guy in between who shouldn't be there -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
David and Tomas Actually Ride Up
with some random, selfish guy in between who shouldn't be there

I don't know who the guy in red was, but he shouldn't have been there. Riding close behind someone on this road is simply dangerous, and to try to pass would be as ludicrous as it is selfish. If the other person is part of your group then at least you have some basis of trust on which you can perhaps negotiate the selfish move, but if you don't know them, wow.

Crazy-Bad Road Surface I sooo want to visit with a broom -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Crazy-Bad Road Surface
I sooo want to visit with a broom
Kevin Powers Up while Lianca and Tal watch from the side -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 62mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Kevin Powers Up
while Lianca and Tal watch from the side
Power and Concentration both are required for this climb -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 30mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Power and Concentration
both are required for this climb
Birthday-Boy Joshua has the requisite power and concentration, but wears them differently than Kevin -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 72mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Birthday-Boy Joshua
has the requisite power and concentration, but wears them differently than Kevin

After this bit of fun, we made our way across the northern outskirts of Kyoto toward the next crazy climb, and this involved some short but steep residential roads.

Pathetic Camera Work on a sudden steep bit in the suburbs -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Pathetic Camera Work
on a sudden steep bit in the suburbs

I'm still hit and miss with the small camera I bought for cycling. The biggest problem that I have with it is that the controls get bumped off to some crazy setting, and I don't always notice right away, especially when I'm trying to take an impromptu shot while riding. Most often the exposure compensation gets bumped to the maximum negative, so all the photos (until I notice) end up almost black. I can recover quite a bit in Lightroom, but the loss of quality is noticeable.

Up Up Up -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 25mm — 1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Up Up Up
Lots of Smiles despite lots of blurriness -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 25mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Lots of Smiles
despite lots of blurriness

Another problem I have is severely overestimating the amount of camera shake I can get away with. Many potentially-great shots are ruined because they're crazy shaky like the one above. I include it here mostly because the smiles shine through despite the quality, and to illustrate the point.

We made our way to another steep climb — 580m @ 15% with sections approaching 25% — but this one is much easier than the first because the road surface is good.

Exhausted at the Top Tomas and Nigel collapse on their handlebars as Kevin crests the top -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 62mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Exhausted at the Top
Tomas and Nigel collapse on their handlebars as Kevin crests the top

Here's a video of the last half of the segment, after I had gone ahead of the others and rode at my own pace. At the start of the video there's no one close behind me, but then suddenly Nigel and Keven appear on my tail, and then at the start of the super-steep final 120m, in a display of incredible power, Nigel blows by me on his single-speed and rockets to the top.

Remember, Nigel (the first to the top) is on a bike that has only one speed, and it's not a speed designed for 20%+ grades. He's just that powerful.

Also powerful was Tomas, who almost caught me at the top despite my having started so much earlier. In fairness to me, I was just going at a steady pace, and was 30 seconds slower than my best time on this climb. But in fairness to him, despite his speed at the end he was still almost a minute slower than his best time (which also happens to be the KOM best-recorded time for the segment).

The photo that leads this blog post shows Joshua and David cresting the top.

At a top is a cemetery (for all the people who have attempted the climb) with a nice view:

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Enjoying the View Nigel, Tal, Kevin, Tomas, Joshua, David -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 50mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Enjoying the View
Nigel, Tal, Kevin, Tomas, Joshua, David

This view has appeared on my blog before, here.

I'd made this climb six times prior, but hadn't noticed that the cemetery extends off in one direction, so was happy that Joshua showed me.

Nature-Centric View -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Nature-Centric View
Heading Back Down this shot is a lot more difficult to take than you might imagine, going down a 23% grade with one hand occupied by the camera -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Back Down
this shot is a lot more difficult to take than you might imagine,
going down a 23% grade with one hand occupied by the camera
Descent near to far: David, Tomas, Lianca, Tal -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Descent
near to far: David, Tomas, Lianca, Tal
Three Musketeers L-R: Joshua, Kevin, Nigel -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Three Musketeers
L-R: Joshua, Kevin, Nigel
Huh Wha?! Another unexpected section of dirt that Joshua led us on -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Huh Wha?!
Another unexpected section of dirt that Joshua led us on
Lovely Long-Way Around the same excursion that Joshua led us on earlier in the month -- Hirosawaike Hotokedaihirosawakomae Bus Stop -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Lovely Long-Way Around
the same excursion that Joshua led us on earlier in the month
Hirosawa-no-ike (広沢池) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 33mm — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Joshua Bids Us Farewell he had to be home for another appointment -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Joshua Bids Us Farewell
he had to be home for another appointment
So Different than two weeks ago before the rice was harvested -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
So Different
than two weeks ago before the rice was harvested
Rolling Through Northern Arashiyama -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 28mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Rolling Through Northern Arashiyama
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Normal Photo Spot that we're bypassing due to the car and the caution tape -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Normal Photo Spot
that we're bypassing due to the car and the caution tape

We opted not to stop at this spot this time, but as the nearby photos link under the picture shows, I've stopped many times.

Then on to the next steep little climb, just 315m at 13%.

David and Tomas cresting the climb -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
David and Tomas
cresting the climb
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos
Kevin and Nigel -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.8, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Kevin and Nigel
Group Shot -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 75mm — 1/125 sec, f/4.5, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Group Shot
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 25mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.8, ISO 500 — map & image datanearby photos

Now we were making our way to the Kuuya-taki Waterfall, a place I've been visiting for years, after having discovered it five years ago. When I got into cycling, it was one of the first rides I did.

It'd been a while since I'd ridden there, and the approach was longer and in worse shape than I remembered.

Steep, Broken Concrete as little fun going up as going down -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 26mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.9, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
Steep, Broken Concrete
as little fun going up as going down
Arriving At the Entrance to the Kuuya Shrine (空也神社) -- Kuuya Shrine (空也神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 26mm — 1/125 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Arriving At the Entrance
to the Kuuya Shrine (空也神社)
Quick Cooldown Lianca didn't realize that a waterfall awaited -- Kuuya Shrine (空也神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 26mm — 1/80 sec, f/1.9, ISO 320 — map & image datanearby photos
Quick Cooldown
Lianca didn't realize that a waterfall awaited

Everyone else left their bike at the road, which is probably fine because it's essentially deserted anyway, but out of habit I brought mine with me.

photo by Tomas Svab -- Kuuya Shrine (空也神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
photo by Tomas Svab
Lianca, Me, Kevin photo by Tomas Svab -- Kuuya Shrine (空也神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.7, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Lianca, Me, Kevin
photo by Tomas Svab
Getting Closer photo by Tomas Svab -- Kuuya Shrine (空也神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/60 sec, f/1.7, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Getting Closer
photo by Tomas Svab

The short approach hike is beautiful, and I've posted many photos from it over the years, including:

Then on top of that you have the beauty of the shrine/waterfall area itself.

Almost There you can tell by this composition that Tomas is a real photographer photo by Tomas Svab -- Kuuya Shrine (空也神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Almost There
you can tell by this composition that Tomas is a real photographer
photo by Tomas Svab
photo by Tomas Svab -- Kuuya Shrine (空也神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 800 — map & image datanearby photos
photo by Tomas Svab
Tomas and David confirm what we already had guessed: the water is cold -- Kuuya Shrine (空也神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 54mm — 1/80 sec, f/2.8, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
Tomas and David
confirm what we already had guessed: the water is cold

David's pose is a natural one for a waterfall; I did the exact same thing the first time I went in.

We relaxed for a while, then headed out

Heading Back -- Kuuya Shrine (空也神社) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Back
Natural Spring along the road -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos
Natural Spring
along the road

After returning to the city, a few of us thought to get a cup of coffee in Arashiyama. We went through its famous bamboo groves, which had a lot of people, but, thankfully, no where near peak.

Crowded Road Arashiyama Bamboo Forest (嵐山竹 やぶ) (and yes, it's a road open to vehicular traffic) -- Arashiyama Bamboo Forest (嵐山竹やぶ) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/125 sec, f/1.7, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Crowded Road
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest (嵐山竹やぶ)
(and yes, it's a road open to vehicular traffic)
Main Road is Crowded Too -- Nonomiya Bus Stop -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Main Road is Crowded Too
Nope no coffee is that good -- Nonomiya Bus Stop -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 26mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Nope
no coffee is that good
So, Heading Home -- Nonomiya Bus Stop -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2017 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
So, Heading Home

All in all it was a fun day of relaxing friendship punctuated by short, intense efforts, occasionally with a bit of terror thrown in.

Happy birthday, Joshua.


All 2 comments so far, oldest first...

“Remember, Nigel (the first to the top) is on a bike that has only one speed, and it’s not a speed designed for 20%+ grades. He’s just that powerful.”

Nigel is on a bike that only has one Gear Ratio. Speed is a function of distance/time. ☺️
We all have our quibbles.

Happy belated birthday, Joshua!

Mike.

His one speed is “fast”. —Jeffrey

— comment by Mike Nelson Pedde on September 27th, 2017 at 12:21am JST (2 months, 15 days ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey: Thought this might interest you:

https://electrek.co/2017/09/28/bosch-ebike-systems-acquires-cobi/

Mike.

— comment by Mike Nelson Pedde on September 30th, 2017 at 6:50am JST (2 months, 12 days ago) comment permalink
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