Sunday 30 June 2013

Girl's Keirin

As our post about Girl's Keirin at Nara proved to be quite popular (something to do with the colourful Hed wheels!) we thought we would scan in some of the photographs that feature in a Girl's Keirin guide magazine we recently picked up...

Shimano Takes Stage One!

Marcel Kittel of the Argos-Shimano team took the first stage of this years Tour de France yesterday after a dramatic day of crashes, sprints and stuck buses! A great start to what looks to be a very exciting tour this year, if there are any other tentative ways we can link it to west Japan we surely will!

Bicycle Parking Is Not A Crime...

...But in Japan it can be bloody difficult to find a spot to lock your bike up when you are out and about. There are many bicycle parking facilities here but more often than not you will find them full up leaving you to roam the streets looking for a suitable parking space. A ideal situation looks like the one below, bikes neatly stored on the pavement with plenty of room for more...

...Although usually you will find a situation like this, crammed full of bicycle chaos.

It can be helpful if you can find some way to make your bicycle stand out from the rest...

...Or even to find your own unique spot.

If you are just popping into a shop it is OK to lock your bike outside...

 ...But that can quickly lead to scenes like this when everyone else has the same idea...

Even the allocated bicycle racks can quickly become chaotic.

And always be aware for the dreaded bicycle parking police...

 If your bike has been parked in a prohibited area you will receive a warning ticket, after that your bike can be removed and taken to a bicycle pound where you will have to pay a small fine in order to retrieve it.

The wonderful Tokyo By Bike has many more in depth articles about bicycle parking in Japan.

Friday 28 June 2013

News And Stuff...

As we may have mentioned previously it is rainy season here in Japan, hence the lack of posts recently but  a welcome break in the rains this afternoon gave us the chance to get out and test our new Surly Cross Check around Nara. We picked up the bike from Guell last week, spent a few days making some modifications (riser bars, thumb shifters, V-brakes)  and took it on a few short rides around town.

The Surly will come in very handy when we join the Guell crew for the 100K ride to Shiga next month. Riding from the Nara shop to the recently opened Guell Shiga store. And back again!

Dramatic skies over Todaiji today.
Photo opportunity while cooling off in the forest.
A few changes occurring in the Osaka cycle world. The Ame Mura based shop 8to8 is relocating to Matsuyamachi. We'll be sure to check out their new shop when it opens next week. Ocean Cycle Factory have also relocated from their Horie, Osaka store to a new shop in Ikoma, Nara prefecture and the wonderful Velo Life Unpeu have moved to a new location in Minami Horie, Osaka. We will be updating our shop pages once we have visited the new shops.

We leave you with the obligatory Nara shika photo from our ride today, awww, Etc.

Saturday 15 June 2013

Blast From The Past

Whilst out in Osaka this week we came across this piece of MTB history. A Ritchey P-22, once one of the most sought after mountain bikes in the world. Sadly not in the best condition but still good to see it being used even with the front basket and custom saddle cover!

The bike was still rocking the original Shimano XTR groupset.

An Osaka Afternoon

Like all good mad dogs and Englishmen we ventured out in the midday sun yesterday to take the Birdy Speed into a swelteringly hot Osaka in order to pay a visit to the Hutte Cycle Shop.
Quick rest near the National Museum Of Art

Located in a quiet neighborhood in Fukushima ward, Hutte is the sister shop of the popular Ame-Mura 8to8 Hatoya store...

Hutte Cycle Store
Hutte is chock full of beautiful high end bikes and frames holding a range that includes Salsa, Surly, All City , Hunter, Cielo and Kobe's own Vivalo Manager Ken is friendly and knowledgable and speaks much better English than I do Japanese! The store also does some very nice custom builds many of which can be viewed on their blog.

On the way back through the city we came across an impromptu anti nuclear demo making it's noisy way through town...

Then we passed quite a few interesting examples of bicycle parking, this is one of them...

Bike parking, Osaka style!

Monday 10 June 2013

Ziggy's Bike!

Out in Osaka yesterday we passed this very funky custom fixie in Shinsaibashi, obviously the owner had made some ch-ch-changes to the bike to make sure it was in fashion (see what we did there?!)...

Sugino In Nara

Whilst out on a Sunday ride in Nara yesterday our good friend Brad happened to find the offices of the Sugino Engineering Company and took this wonderful photograph of his Nagasawa fixie. Maybe, one day, we will get a chance to have a look around inside. Thanks to Brad and the cheque is in the post!

Saturday 8 June 2013

Guell Night Ride Through Osaka

Last night a sudden plan was made to load up Toshio-san's  truck with our bikes and head out into the warm Osaka city streets for a late night ride through town...

Ueda and Toshio were our navigators...
Mr Toepfer  was setting a very brisk pace...
Toshio flying through the night!
Toepfer (right) riding non footed!

A very nice BMX we passed on our travels.

A great night where we took lights "American style", passed dead minks, met jet lagged Canadian's and quite few very good flatland riders. Many thanks to Big Toepfer, Ueda and Toshio from Guell and  special thanks to Osaka!

Friday 7 June 2013

Nara Girl's Keirin

We ventured out in the midday sun today to watch two Girl's Keirin races at Nara Keirin. One of the main differences between the girl's and the boy's races apart from the obvious, is the bikes. Where as the men ride what would be called traditional "piste" bikes, the ladies ride more aerodynamic track bikes like this...