Friday, 31 January 2014

Nara Keirin Kasuga Championship Meeting


Back at Nara Keirin today to catch the last two races on the first day of the four day Kasuga Championship GIII meeting. Some of the best riders in the country are competing over the weekend. We will be back at the track tomorrow but for now, here are the photos from today....












Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Kuwahara, Osaka


Whilst out in Osaka yesterday with Toshio-san from Guell, we dropped in to see our good friend Yamamoto-san who works at the legendary Kuwahara Bike Company. He was kind enough to let us look around the office and take a few photos. As you would expect there are some extremely nice bikes just laying around the office, both new products and old classics...

A Goblin and a GAAP tourer.

KZ-1
"Vintage" C-Pacer frame.
They also import international brands into Japan and just happened to have this gorgeous demo Ibis Hakalugi cross bike sitting around. Sadly it was not our size!

 ...And just leaning up against the wall was this rare FUNN single speed funny bike...


Along with the bikes the office walls are decorated with some very cool Kuwahara memorabilia including graffiti artwork...


...Old promotional posters...


 And of course a few references to "that" film...




A big thank you to Yamamoto-san for allowing us to look around his seriously cool workspace!



Saturday, 18 January 2014

A Quick Spin

The briefest of spins this afternoon around Nara and the Heijo Palace...


The days are getting just that little bit longer, the sun is shining and the palace was pretty much deserted save for a few local dog walkers. A perfect time for a ride...


Most of the Susuki grass has now been cut down leaving a fairly bare looking palace...



Although the groundskeepers had left some around the suzakamon making for that perfect sunset photo opportunity...


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Guell Crew Ikoma Ride

Toshio's grand depart group shot at the Guell store, Nara.
Out with the Guell crew last Monday morning for a gentle 14km ride up Mount Ikoma in order to visit a local foot onsen. A beautiful sunny January day, perfect conditions for riding...

Through the Heijo Palace
We opted for the longer, supposedly easier course. There really is no easy course when you decide to ride to an onsen located on the side of a mountain!

Gently uphill all the way...
A brief rest stop at a combini store...
Mount Ikoma in the distance...
 We finally made it to our goal, meeting up with the rest of the crew who had already arrived...

Finally at the onsen...
 ...And were enjoying the facilities!

A chance to relax and warm up....

Seeing another group of cyclists who had made the same climb on Bromptons (and a Bike Friday) kind of put our struggle into perspective!

Hardcore folding bike riders...
Great views across Nara....
 Then it was a relatively easy return journey, mostly downhill back to Nara...


Across the tracks...
Arriving back at the Guell store mid afternoon, tired but refreshed. Arigato to Toshio-san and the whole Guell crew!

Back at base.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Euro Works, Ikaruga, Nara

Last Monday we took a ride out to Ikaruga in Nara prefecture, famous for temples including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Horyu-ji. We were there for another reason, namely the wonderful road bike specialist shop Euro Works...


The store is crammed full of bikes, frames and parts...



...Including quite a few mouth watering Colnago bikes...


...And frames...



...And some cool memorabilia, like this Yukiya Arashiro signed poster...


Not all about the Italians though, they also have a wide range of other high end roadie names like BMC, Look and this rather nice Museeuw from Belgium...


Of course there are local, Japanese bikes, this Boma frame for instance...


And tucked away at the back of the store was this beautiful, rare, Nara made Iribe road bike...


 Always good to see a bike store with a busy workshop area too...


A seriously nice, high-end roadie store, kind of tucked in the middle of nowhere but definitely worth seeking out if you find yourself at any of the nearby temples.