Archive for the 'Cycling' Category

Nigel’s Birthday Craziness: Ascending Hanase Pass on a Mamachari


Nigel Randell usually does something sort of crazy on his birthday, such as this ride two years ago that I joined in on for a short portion.

This year, Nigel rode his heavy rusty mamachari (built-like-a-tank city bike) up to Hanase Pass, the 600+ meters of climb (2,000') being a challenge on the best road bike.

Neil, whom we've seen on my blog here and here, among others, is an extremely strong rider, but today on the occasion of Nigel's mamachari ride, was creating a challenge for himself by riding an old used bike with the seat dropped all [...]

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Century of Wazuka Climbs, Part 1

I had a nice ride through the mountains of Uji and Wazuka (Japan, near Kyoto/Nara) the other day. Both Uji (宇治) and Wazuka (和 束) have been famous for their tea for centuries, and have tea fields tucked away in the most seemingly-unlikely nooks and crannies of their mountains.

Here's the ride at Strava:

I had a number of specific goals when embarking on this ride:

Goal: ride at least a "century" of distance (100 miles, 161km). Actual: 167km / 105 miles. ✔

Goal: vertical climb of at least 3,000m (9,850'). Actual: 3,506m / 11,503' ✔

Goal: get a PR [...]

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Wild Cherry Blossoms and Fun Fast Descents

Cherry-blossom season in Kyoto is always hectic for someone like me who likes photography, made all the more busy because I now like to cycle and these are some of the first warm days of the season. I've been out with the camera and the bike a lot lately, but sort of punted on blogging about it because schedule already left me overwhelmed.

So, I'm getting back into the swing of things with a writeup on my most recent ride.

First I popped over the mountains from Kyoto to Lake Biwa...

I got 4th overall on this straight, steep climb; [...]

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ROTOR Valiantly Succeeds in Avoiding my Money

Chainrings -- the big gears at the pedals of a bicycle -- are normally round, but there is the idea that slightly oval ones can be more efficient because they can take advantage of the naturally-strong part of the pedal stroke by placing more leverage there, and less where the stroke is weakest.

I was thinking to get some to try, but the company that makes them, ROTOR, is apparently willfully, egregiously not interested in selling them. They make a dizzying number of different models of oval chainrings, with scant information on their site about the difference among the various [...]

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Cycling From Kyoto to Amanohashidate and Back

The other day I made an impromptu decision to ride to Amanohashidate (see at Wikipedia) the next morning. It's pretty far away, and in the end the big loop turned out to be 293km (182mi), putting it well past my 260km (160mi) "Cycling to Nagoya for Coffee" ride as my longest.

The evening before I made a clockwise route, but that morning decided to do it the other direction, thinking to put the easier leg on the return trip, so I made a new counterclockwise route (or, I should say, I whipped up a program to reverse route waypoints and [...]

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