Saturday, October 31, 2009

Casual riding in Kawasaki

Tamagawa cycling

So, I made it to Japan safely, to the city of Kawasaki to be specific. Kawasaki is the city directly West of the capitol of Tokyo. Last night, I was quite jet lagged and tired, so that I didn't even open my computer before I fell asleep. Today I managed to open the computer and partially catch up on stuff though I'm still jet lagged and quite sleepy as I write this. What follows might be a bit incoherent, but I am going to try and write a post before sleepiness gets the better of me.

unclaimed bicycles

The place where Kao is currently living is sort of a dense apartment high rise. Kind of like those public housing buildings in NYC, but is private. Bicycle parking for residents is limited and requires a minimal fee which has to be paid annually and bikes without proper registration stickers will be rounded up like the bikes in the picture above and will be disposed of if they are not claimed by the owner.

bicycle parking

This is part of the parking space for Kao's building.

Kao's mamachari

and this is Kao's mamachari bike in its designated parking spot. Not very secure by American standards, but just the O-lock on the rear wheel is security enough.

The fee for a single bike per household is very cheap, but a second spot is much more expensive. Luckily I have a folding bike which can be stored indoor without taking much space while I'm gone.

My Dahon
(my Dahon folded up)

My Dahon
(Dahon unfolded)

It's not a bike with the best riding characteristics, but it's just fine for riding slowly weaving through pedestrian and car traffic. Riding around in small city strrets here can be quite chaotic where you are fighting space with cars and also sometimes you ride on sidewalks to avoid obstacles (like parked motorcycles) on the street.

Tamagawa cycling

Today was a super nice day, so we decided to go ride to Tamagawa (Tama River) which is the river that runs between Tokyo and Kawasaki.

Tamagawa cycling

This is a very popular cycling route that runs along river and there were lots of people out riding bikes, walking or running. It is a lovely path that runs on the top of the riverbank overlooking the river. My only complaint is that the path is rather narrow, so that you kind of have to slow down when you pass someone.

Tamagawa cycling

It is a fun place to ride though if you're not in a hurry which we weren't. It's nice to take a break on the river bed and watch people go by. It's a good spot for people watching as people there seem quite different than people in crowded city streets.

Tamagawa cycling

This was a very short outing today, but I'm sure we'll go on longer rides while I'm here.


  1. Kao looks happy to have you back :)

    I love the little glimpses of all the different child seats on the backs of the bikes in the covered parking area.

  2. That might be a good idea for a post. I will take some close-up pictures of those child seats today.

  3. How fun! I grew up upriver from you on the Tama River in Fussa (I'm a military brat -- born at Tachikawa, then lived at Yokota). My friends and I rode all around on our little BMX bikes in the late 70s / early 80s.

    Other posting ideas: a lot of people are fascinated with aspects of Japanese "bike culture" you don't see much in the USA, stuff like Minivelo and Ita Chari.

  4. Thanks!
    I've never been to Fussa, but I'd love to ride that far up the river sometime. I'd probably need a better bike for that though.

    Great ideas! Minivelos are quite popular, but I've never seen a Ita Chari in person. If I see one, I'll definitely take some pictures.