From Japan (Part 7): the real journey begins in kyoto

so i’m writing from an inn in kyoto after taking the bullet train from tokyo. we’re a day behind already on the planned ride back to tokyo thru the mountains of central japan. just me and an old roommate are gonna ride thru the nastiest passes on honshu, the main island in the japanese archipelago. i’m beginning to think that this may have been the dumbest idea i’ve ever had. the profiles for the climbs later in the trip are just vicious.

goodbye to cushy stays at the u.s. embassy residences, hello to paying thru the nose for hotels and probably sleeping on the ground without camping gear once we get to the mountains proper.

we’re debating whether to jump on the bikes tomorrow and hammer out 90 miles to gifu, just to get us out of the hole. we haven’t been riding all that much since we got to japan, so that would be pretty harsh. i guess we’ll decide tomorrow.



From Japan (Part 6): Uichi and Eiske

shibuya%20uichi%20and%20eiske%20bh.jpg

Saw these guys while walking in Shibuya. Shibuya feels like Disney World meets Manhattan’s 5th Ave. These guys were just kicking back in a sea of people. Uichi (left) is rocking a yellow Nagasawa keirin bike. Eiske (right) happened to be wearing a Cadence shirt handcrafted just 3minutes from my apartment in Capitol Hill, Seattle. It’s a small world after all….



World Naked Ride Day

Doubtful anyone rode naked here in Seattle (if they did, we didn’t see ‘em, but they will later this year) on World Naked Bike Ride day, but they did around the world. While Seattle was wet and cool, elsewhere

“the protest stretched beyond Europe, with protests also planned over the weekend in Mexico City, eight locations in Canada, and a multitude of cities in the US. Southern hemisphere nude riders could strut their stuff in March of this year”

The AP reports on the nude event in the U.K with this quote, “Bikes and naked bodies harm nobody. Car fumes and accidents kill tens of thousands every year in the UK alone and are driving us all to climate chaos.”



What Size Trek Madone?

The square v. compact frame geometry debate is back (if it ever left) and we’re being asked, “what size Madone?” Damn good question and we’ll have to see if you’ve either got a stubby stem of one that “reaches for the sky.” When Pam first stepped over her new Specialized Tarmac SL, it was like “what? am I on a mtn bike,” and it’s definitely unnerving to not see a top tub near your knees. I should probably write a “in defense of square frames” post sometime, but you can’t fight progress, so we’ve got the last square bike hold out, pushing out a new technology-driven, sloping top-tube bike with a seat mast and the “seat, feet, hands” approach. (I’m sure there were lots of groans from Masters racers about that)

In the bike shop, you’re going to have to try it, as you definitely can’t tell from the brochure. And to their credit, Trek answers the question here, in a lengthy and informative post.



From Japan (Part 5): Team Pedal from Shimano

pedals%20team%20display.jpg So I found these Shimano R540 SPD-SL pedals in a bike shop called Narushima Friends in a neighborhood of Tokyo.

Notice the team colours that are not currently available in the states. I saw Milram, Gerolsteiner, Rabobank, T-Mobile…hmmmm, I forget the others….whatever. The pedals are also cheaper here than stateside.

They shop was pretty well stocked with clothing and hot bikes (carbon Merckx, Pinarello Dogma). I was especially happy because they had a lot of Assos clothing in size small. That meant I could try it on to confirm that “Assos size small” was still smaller than other brands. Now when I go home, I can confidently buy Assos for myself through my shop. That’s right…there’s a reason I work in a bike shop: to support my addiction. Mark needs new cycling duds, and Mark is a little dude.

No, Byron, you can’t get the bro deal on Assos. It’s all about me. pedals%20milram.jpg



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