Thursday, 1 August 2013

Oct bike packing trip plan

Well as its now August in Japan, that only means one thing - beer gardens !, just joking but going to a rooftop beer garden is pretty nice in such hot humid weather unlike cycling . I have learnt from living here over the last 15 years or so that cycling in August is not pleasant at all , short early morning rides may be ok  but unless you are a totally mad Japanese uni student with free time on your hands why would you bother ?. I was extremely lucky to be able to complete my July over night trip without getting wet as it was rain season. At the start of this year as previously mentioned my goal was to do at least 3 local overnight trips ( 2 down 1 more to go ) before heading away on a long trip, luckily I have been able to take 6 days off in the 2nd  week of Oct for a 400km bike packing trip into Fukushima and back . What a minute I hear you say - is that not where they had a huge nuclear plant meltdown last year ?, well yes it is the same prefecture but I will not be going anywhere near the danger zone which is still off limits. Pictured below is a rough outline of my proposed route

For those of you who have never been to Fukushima it is an awesome place with outstanding scenery with plenty of interesting places to visit, that is why I have decided to ride from Niigata city over the mountains into Fukushima and back over my 6 day holiday in Oct. I will be starting in Niigata city and passing through some countryside that I have never seen before and being Oct the weather will be cooler with less tourists and traffic on the roads hopefully. Some of the places I will be stopping at will be Snow Peak HQ ,a well known manufacturer of high quality outdoor products that also has a nice campsite, Tadami town , Ochijiku historic village, Tsuruga Castle in Aizu wakamatsu , Kitakata - a town famous for its ramen noodles , Tsugawa village .  Below are a few photos taken from the net showing some of the places I will visit along the way

The other challenge of this ride is complete the entire ride on my single speed 29 inch MTB, with my current gearing set up of 33T - 16T I was able to ride some pretty steep hills fully loaded so I think I have finally found the perfect gear combination for loaded touring on a 29 inch single speed, I am in the process of slightly changing a few things on the bike , 29 x 2.1 Geax Evolution tyres with be better suited to loaded touring unlike my super light Maxxis Ikon racing tyres which will be put to good use again once winter arrives and I am not going to carry a backpack , the 2ltr camelbak bladder is going into the frame bag and the fuel bottle will get mounted on the bottom of the down tube which will make the trip much more comfortable. If you are planning a trip yourself to Japan and would like any advice on cycling in Japan just get in touch with me anytime . 

Happy Cycling 


llewellyn said...

Don, just booked a return fare for March/April/May next year. Bringing my large folder, Montague Paratrooper instead of the Bike Friday.Normally arrive between December and February, what sort of conditions can I expect in M/A/M on the west coast as I'd like to tour from Niigata to Kanazawa/Noto Hanto down to Shimonoseki.

Don Speden said...

Hi llewellyn

You will have to drop by my shop when you visit Niigata as it would be great to meet up. As for weather conditions, it will still be cold and there will most likely still be snow about in March, but roads should be clear for cycling, April is usually getting warmer and most of the snow will have gone and May is quite nice, sounds like a nice tour plan.

llewellyn said...

don, thanks for the weather report.Will drop by and say hello when I am in your neck of the woods, I still want to see Ouchijuku and a few other places nearby.

Pandabonium said...

I visited Aizu-Wakamatsu in 1987 (showing my age) and it was beautiful.
I'm sure you will have a most memorable and enjoyable trip to Fukushima.

Really looking forward to reading about it and viewing some pics.