From Japan (Part 9): The Haunted Inn outside Hikone

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by Mark V on Jun 15, 2007 at 3:52 PM

in his continuing travels in japan mark says: i finally have a computer that i’m not paying for by the minute and I’ve got the japanese keyboard sussed out for the most part…this goes back a few days to the 13th…

so we left kyoto yesterday afternoon around 3:30. just to let you know, that is awfully late to be leaving town by bicycle. we rode along a road with a lot of truck traffic, though once we got to the biwa-ko lake, there was a decent bike lane. most of the towns have bike lanes, but they are really just sidewalks puncutred by driveways every 10m. anyways, it starts getting dark (japan does not have daylight savings)…and then it’s pitch. we are on a one lane road with no light whatsoever and we are not going to make it to hikone. we find a hotel on the map, but they’ve no vacancies because of a high school trip. so we continue in darkness for another 30-40 minutes until we happen unto a youth hostel swathed in the darkness.

it’s definitely old traditional tatami mats and paper screen doors, and the landlady is a little bit onery. there are a couple of old japanese guys there. we get a room, but then another japanese traveler arrives and ends up sharing our room. the new guy is on his way to pick up a new 38ft american-made offshore powerboat. strangeness. (by the way, i am negotiating with hotels and conversing with travelers with my own meager language skills, thank you very much.) eventually we go to sleep.

i wake up in the middle of the night. the japanese guys, seemingly all of them, are talking in their sleep. with just the paper screen doors, you can hear everyone. what’s worse, the voices seem to be everywhere, disembodied, and almost chanting…it’s a little creepy. but i’m not really afraid of ghosts. but i do hate bugs…there’s something crawling on me.

the hanging lights in these places normally have a “night light” function that puts out just a wee bit of light…enough for my eyes to make out the room but not enough to read or make out fine detail. so when i whip off the cover from my futon, i can’t tell if it’s a centipede or millipede, but i can tell it’s about 4-5 inches long. millipedes are funny looking, but centipedes are poisonous…and i’m allergic to many bugs. everyone else is asleep, so i reach over and grab a water bottle and prepare myself…

oh, lord, guide my hand as i strike down this foul demon that in your infinite wisdom or whimsy, you have deemed to torment me. let not this thing send me searching for the japanese word for “anti-venom”. amen.

whack! whack! first strike hits but does not kill….second strike misses entirely, goddamn that thing was fast! that’s the confirmation as centipede, millipedes are dead slow. the thing shot into a dark crevice out of my reach. wonderful…it could come back…there could be more…and still the voices.

in the morning, we got up and rode out…there was no sign of the landlady.

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Boing Boing: Urban Mobility Bike

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by Byron on Jun 14, 2007 at 11:20 AM

pumak_bike1_l-01.jpg Boing Boing, a directory of wonderful things, posted on an updated Urban Mobility Bike from Puma. We posted earlier on the original UM, in regards to travel and being urban. The bike is a design collaboration to benefit an earthquake charity and another example, like the Biomega at DWR, of bikes as designer items and pop culture.

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Photo of the Day: Shopping with Bike

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by Byron on Jun 14, 2007 at 9:30 AM

She was downtown, at the corner of Stark and 6th in Portland, checking out the shops, purse at the ready … on her city cruiser bike. Argyle socks and the Portland Northwest urban look are a definite contrast to a stylish New Yorker.

bike_shopper.jpg

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Readers Write - Disc Brake Road Bikes

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by andrew_f_martin on Jun 13, 2007 at 7:36 PM

Bike Hugger picked up a comment this week that is near and dear to my biking-heart. As I’ve posted (twice), I’m a fan on disc brakes for the rainy season.

Robert B of Calgary, Alberta writes:

“Hey huggers! I’ve been reading your blogs for a while, however, I have a burning question about an interesting bike build I’m doing.

A fast ultra-marathon road bike with disc brakes. The bike has a little dirt alter-ego mixed in there for fireroads. It’s almost done, but I’m still pondering all my wheel options. One set for road, and one for cross of course.

I was thinking DTSwiss 240 (28h) hubs, on Zipp 417 or 505 clinchers.

The guys at Cane Creek “were” interested in building me a set, but discovered they no longer have any hubs in stock. As they are getting out of geared wheels, and only doing track wheels for 2008.

Any suggestions on wheel/hub configs.”

I’ll start with hubs. My biggest question is around the rear hub. From what I’ve found, the only 130mm rear spacing (road) hub made is the Phil Wood which lightens the wallet at $459! Someone told me the DT 240s would go 130, but all details I can find say otherwise. A couple manufacturers make road disc wheelsets: Bontrager Select Disc, FSA RD-460, Mavic, and Velomax/Easton. None of these are available as a hub only that I know of. Unless you have 135mm (mtn) rear spacing, your options are rather limited.

For Carbon rims, there are a number of options out there, but the spoke count of the hubs you choose will dictate where you need to look. I know me and friends have had luck with HED, Zipp, Bontrager, and Reynolds. What works the best - hard to say. Clinchers limits your options, but if you are thinking of taking them off-road, I’d really consider Tubulars.

I’m envious of your dilemma as it sounds like a real fun project. Send pictures and I’ll get them up.

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From Japan (Part 8): Gifu

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by Mark V on Jun 13, 2007 at 3:41 AM

(note: the keyboard also pissed me off with some really strange, apparently haunted font that wasn’t rendering. I retyped Mark’s post – Byron)

In Gifu now. The keyboard is really pissing me off. Anyway, heavy truck traffic along all the roads. No real mountains yet. Stayed at this surefly hauted inn Outside Hikone. Woke up with a centipede crawling over me and weird mumbling voices in the dark. Homeboy is a wuss in traffic, just because the trucks rub your packs as they pass. Eating out of Kombini, which is japanese for conveience store. Not too tired — more posts hopefully later.

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Stylish Bikers

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by Jason Swihart on Jun 12, 2007 at 10:52 AM

Spring-Bike-Rider.jpgOver at the Sartorialist today, he posts on “New York Bikes with Style.” He gives no details on her very stylish bike, but somehow, I don’t think that’s what he was focused on.

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Bike Hugger Modal Engaged

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by Byron on Jun 12, 2007 at 7:05 AM

Met with Bill Davidson last week, went over a few more details, fine tuned the angles, measurements, and tube diameters on the Bike Hugger Modal. The Modal is a travel bike that switches between geared and fixed. It’s a concept from Mark V and once it goes into Bill’s frame factory, we’ll post all about it with photos and videos.

Then later this year, we’ve got rides planned in the Puget Sound and in Europe, possibly back to China.

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Blog-praise for Frank

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by andrew_f_martin on Jun 11, 2007 at 12:07 PM

I doubt he’s even seen this yet, but fellow Bike Hugger author Frank Steele’s blog - <a href=http://www.tdfblog.com/”>tdfblog.com was noted in the July 2007 issue of Men’s Journal Magazine. Nice work Frank!

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Slipstreamz for Commuters and Racers

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by Byron on Jun 11, 2007 at 5:59 AM

slipstreamz.jpg Slipstreamz are cycling earwear for iPods to “fine tune your ride.” The product attaches to your helmet strap, covers your ears, blocks wind noise and you slip the iPod earbuds in for a ride. Most of the people I ride with listen to music when training and in a noisy city I can see the advantage. Slipstreamz also markets a spoiler that just blocks the wind.

When I ride, I like to listen to the world, the wind, and what’s going on around me so this isn’t for me, but Andrew is going to test the Slip during his commute.

To increase awareness in the US market, Slipstream just announced they’re sponsoring the Inferno Racing Cycling Team. The team is using them for training and racing with team radios.

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