Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Magazine: Jitensha Seikatsu


Japan is the land of magazines. There are magazines of all types for any kind of niche you can imagine. And there are quite a number of bicycle related magazines. There are the usual sport cycling magazines, but I've noticed in the last few years the number of magazines about bicycle life style for the more casual riders have been steadily growing. I love going to the book stores and thumbing through all these magazines. Yesterday, I picked up this magazine "Jitensha Seikatsu" which roughly translates as "Bicycle Life" or "Bicycle Living".

This issue's main feature is "Fall Winter Bicycle Ride Best Coordinating" which is basically a fashion feature.


Other than the helmet and the shoes, it's pretty much normal looking clothing. His bike is real nice looking too. Never heard of it before, but it's called Bruno.


I couldn't tell at first, but here she's wearing a Yakkay helmet. Her bike is a Louis Garneau who only seems to sell only clothing in North America, but in Japan they are a successful bike brand.



I think the clothing choices are just fine, but what I notice more by looking at these pictures are the bikes. They are all riding sport bikes and none are like the Dutch upright bikes with high handle bars. I think for a magazine that's geared towards more casual riders, they could have included more casual bikes. Of course, Japan has its version of the upright high hand position bike which is the mamachari. I think they are pretty nice bikes, but they are so common that they are unfortunately not considered fashionable at all.

They did have really nice looking bikes in another section though.



These are vintage bikes. The black one is from 1954 and the red one is from the mid 70's. The black one features a clear plastic chain case. I really love these vintage bikes and I would love to get one.

The magazine included many other articles majority of which seemed to be reports of touring around various places. Japan is a country where there is so much variation on culture from region to region, so there is no shortage of things to be experienced while touring, so it makes pretty good reading.

You can get a pretty good idea about how people are riding bikes in Japan from these magazines, at least the enthusiasts. The non-enthusiasts riding the mamachari all over Japan are not really considered here, but it would be cool if these two groups could become closer. I think knowledge that any kind of bikes even the mamachari could serve more of the role of transportation and you don't need special gear to do so, can make bicycling much more popular and not just something that is for the athletic elite.

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