After my brief stop at the winery I pressed on and took my usual short cut through several small villages that skirt the base of Mt Kakuda and pass by the golf course. The day was starting to warm up and by the time I got to Yahiko village itself the weather was really nice. This run was a bit of a test for me as my boss at Furumachi Bicycle has signed me up for the Niigata City ride which is being held for the 1st time on June 16th of this year and I have been entered in the 120km course on a Surly Pugsly - Fat Bike !. I have often ridden distances far greater and have even completed a century run on a 50 inch ordinary ( high wheel bicycle ) but the 1st ride of the year is always a bit tough even though I cycle every day. Also it was the furthest I have ever ridden a single speed MTB and luckily managed to ride up all the hills, I certainly do not think this will be possible loaded with bike packing gear ! . My new choice in footwear proved to be very comfortable and waterproof and the perfect fit for my large Odyssey - twisted pc platform pedals . In Yahiko Village I treated myself to a nice bowl of Sansai ( mountain wild vegetables ) Udon and a well deserved beer. The cherry blossoms are now in full bloom at least in Niigata ken and the photo taken below at Yahiko park shows how spectacular they are in full bloom. Upon returning to Niigata city it started to rain but as my ride was almost finished I did not really care after riding 75km on a single speed !
Thursday, 18 April 2013
Well as the weather recently has improved and a few of my customers had been on a ride out along the seaside line to the mountain village of Yahiko, I thought I better make use of my next day off so I left home early and headed out along the seaside road towards Kakuda hama and took a short detour through the newly formed concrete road that passes by Cave Docci winery and resort spa and the area is now home to two other new wineries as well. It was nice to see a decent road considering the amount of traffic that visits that location. The winery workers were busy pruning vines when I stopped across the road for a rest. At that time of the day the mountain was still covered mist but by midday things improved. Pictured below is a photo taken showing the vines at the winery with Mt Kakuda in the background.
Friday, 12 April 2013
Well as some of you long time followers will remember about a year ago I purchased a pair of Keen Austin pedal shoes. Overall these nice leather SPD compatible shoes have held up pretty well in daily use apart from winter when I wore Keen winter boots that were totally warm and waterproof instead. The good thing about any Keen brand footwear is that it is wide fitting, I had split 2 pairs of 5.10 guide shoes as they were not wide enough before I purchased the Keen Austin pedal shoes. In the end I did not fit nor use SPDs on those shoes and because of the hard floor at work the soles have worn down quite a lot , they are great shoes if you live in an area that does not have so much rain. In general they are water resistant as claimed but as it rains a lot here in Niigata, cycling in constant heavy rain will soon soak through the leather leaving you to endure the discomfort of wet socks. It rains enough here to warrant a full Gore Tex quality cycling kit and without my trusty Ground Effect Jacket and pants I would not have considered selling my car at all. So after doing some research into hard wearing outdoor shoes and test fitting several brands from well known outdoor manufacturers I have purchased today a new model from North Face called Hedgehog GTX Guide , which has a Vibram hard wearing sole, wide fitting and a full Gore tex lining which will hopefully keep my feet a lot drier than the Austin pedals. These days I do not feel the need for SPDs and use flat platform pedals for comfort rather than clipping in and out of something at every corner when stopping.
Thursday, 11 April 2013
As I have just moved into a brand new house which does not have a huge genkan ( indoor space just inside the front door ) so I can no longer store my regular ride the Kona unit inside , luckily the 1947 Humber Sports in safely stored inside out of the weather but will be moved in June to my new larger bicycle store to be put on display. So after a lot of research I decided the best option was for my Kona Unit to be stored outside and protected from the weather as Niigata has a lot of rain. I would rather not have a bicycle outside in a city like Niigata but in this case I have no other option . At the shop I have for sale a product designed in New Zealand , made in China ! called the Bike Parka. I had tested this out on the shop runabout over the winter and it was very strong and totally waterproof as well. It packs down rather small so could be carried on a tour if needed and one of the great points is that it has velco openings located on both sides in which you can attach your bicycle lock , perfect for a longer chain lock like a Abus so you bike can be safely locked to something and totally protected by the elements as well. Pictured below is the bike parka in its carry bag and it covering my 29 inch MTB , it also has a fantastic elastic bottom band to stop it coming off and the top has another drawstring to adjust it to your bicycles shape so you can get the perfect fit.