Monday, 11 May 2009

A visit to Hasegawa sans Bicycle shop

For many years when I first came to Japan I resided in a small city called Shibata City located not far from Niigata City where I now live. Yesterday I had a day off so I decided to cycle out across the Agano river and visit my old friend Hasegawa san whose family have owned a bicycle shop in Shibata for over 80 years. The entire trip took only an hour and as the road I took to Shibata is not so spectacular so I did not bother to take any photos along the way as my main reason was to visit the bicycle shop where I spent a lot of my free time building bicycles, mainly ordinaries otherwise known as high wheelers, penny farthings etc. Hasegawa san was rather surprised to see me as we had not not for many years and after a coffee and a chat I took a look around the bicycle shop. The shop consists of their family house, showroom, workshop and upstairs loft which also doubles as a showroom and storage area. The above photo shows Hasegawa san outside his bicycle shop and an unusual front wheel drive French Gitane bicycle which is part of his small collection of rare bicycles. The French Gitane is a geared up front wheel driver along similar lines to the British Crypto Bantam and many years ago I rode the bicycle in a parade and it was great fun to ride and very comfortable. These days the shop appears quieter and like many business in the less populated areas of Japan is struggling due to the economy but its great to see that his shop is still open and ready to serve the bicycle needs of local residents.

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