Not exactly “cycling” the Length of Japan: Day 3, August 18, 2013

I always knew there was the possibility I could be taking a train for some piece of this trip.  I assumed it would be for a mechanical issue, or weather.  I didn’t expect it to be both, nor did I expect it to be so soon.  The bike problem I alluded to on my first day had become progressively more concerning and I couldn’t find a shop in the small Northern Hokkaido towns that fully understood the issue.

And today was absolutely pissing with rain, again.   So, without really consciously deliberating the options, I started putting the steps in place to take the train to Asahikawa.

Bikes must be in bags when brought on trains, but it’s more about keeping the train clean, then the actual bag. With that in mind, I walked to the super market (in the rain, but with a hotel umbrella) and purchased a few very large trash bags and some tape.  Then on my way back I saw a bike shop and got a very cheap, small bike cover.  Then I went back to the room, packed up all my gear and just about then, there was a break in the rain, so I cycled to the train station.    I had no idea of the departure time, but I knew they go every hour or so.

The next train was in 8 minutes, so in a frenzy, I took off my front wheel and stuffed it in a plastic bag, took the bike cover and wrapped it around the frame and rear wheel, took another bag and covered the handlebars and front fork, stuffed my panniers and helmet into another bag, and wrapped it all up in about  50′ of tape.  It looked like hell (see photo), but it got me on the train, which when I was done, was leaving in 3 minutes on the opposite track over the bridge.  The train attendant grabbed my wheel and bag of panniers, I grabbed the bike and we ran like mad over the bridge with zero time to spare.  Nice guy!


That’s my mess at right.  To the left is a another bike in a real bag.  As you can imagine, I was the source of some amusement. 

Anyway, the bike shop I was looking for was about a 5-minute ride from the train station at my destination (I put the shop’s location in my GPS while on the train and it took me right to the front door).   5 minutes and 500 yen ($5.00) later, problem solved.  I was missing a small part that must have fallen off in the bike bag.

I almost gave the shop owner a hug.  The bike feels fantastic, and it felt wonderful getting back on it.

~ by Robert on August 18, 2013.

One Response to “Not exactly “cycling” the Length of Japan: Day 3, August 18, 2013”

  1. Greeting from Santa Fe. The New Mexican print your piece “How hard can it be”. Last weekend was low turnout. Saturday, just Russell and I. Sunday Stan come to the start of the Bee ride but rode off the front before I ever saw him. How are the drivers’ in Japna? I would think respectful? Be safe, we can’t afford to loose any more regulars, ha ha!



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