26 October 2008


It was time to see 紅葉 (kouyou, the turning of the leaves), so I headed for Okutama yesterday. At the rest area overlooking the dam holding Okutamako, I met Chris from Canada who had just rediscovered doing bicycle tours and who had been consulting POSITIVO ESPRESSO for tour tips.

Further along the lake, I sought a place to have my first rest for food and found a sobayasan cum omiyageten where after buying some biscuits I ended up being served tea and kaki (persimon) by the two friendly and chatty ladies running the place. They were quite impressed one could cycle all the way from Tokyo within just a few hours. In old times, their ageing father who was also present had taken two days to do the same trip. Lucky I have a decent bike!

There was not much of kouyou in sight around Okutamako. This year's autumn seems rather mild, delaying the onset of the season. So I decided to cycle on, up into Tabayama Valley, where indeed I found kouyou - plenty of it. It was a real pleasure cycling through the beautiful landscape, so much I didn't really notice how much uphill I was going.

An overall leisurely ride across the Yanagisawa Pass took me onto the Autobahn down to Enzan.

Arriving at Enzan station, a special express bound for Shinjuku was about to pull in and I would have had to wait 40 minutes for the next one, so I decided to test the patience of the JR attendants by taking my bike onto the platform and into the train without even any pretence of having covered or wrapped it. Nobody stopped me. When I had to pay for the express fare on the train, the attendant told me that normally I would have to wrap the bike, but again no attempt to expel me. I apologised, and was about to explain that actually I knew what I was doing and I even had my bicycle bag with me, but then thought that was probably better left unsaid.


David L. said...


Congratulations on what sounds like a very nice ride to Enzan.

I wanted to mention, however (I'm sure Juliane would have already done so if she were not busy packing her apartment today), there is an officially "preferred" soba etc. cafeteria/shokudo for Positivo Espresso at Okutama-ko, just as you come down to Okutama-ko from Kazahari, cross a first bridge, and make a right turn. (If you come up from Oume and head toward Yanagisawa, it would be an extra left turn and a detour of at least 100 meters on the road for Kosuge (it is a bit hard to describe since there are at least 3 in that immediate area and since they all look almost the same, and they also have some kind older ladies who take pity on cyclists and give us some extras -- maybe some hard candies to take for the road, some lemon slices to replenish our vitamin c, etc.) And since they are on the side road to Kosuge, they may get even less business than the place you stopped. Michael has promised me that next year they will be listed on our jersey as a sponsor, right below the "signal mushi kyoka" license number.


mob said...

Also impressive.

I was not fully aware of what I started when I let Ludwig ride on my bike in summer. I hope his wife will forgive me.

With a little patience, we might see a new hill climb competitor for Tom next season.

TOM said...

Ludwig...I'm completely flabbergasted! You only got your first serious bike this summer and already you are cresting Yanagisawa and zooming down all the way to Enzan!! You really got bitten by the microbe. I see you are experimenting a bit with the position of your saddle...I tried the same tilt once too, a bit less exaggerated perhaps, but abandoned it after experiencing "ureteral" (no, not erectile)problems!! This coming long weekend, I'm planning a super monster ride also going down via Yanagisawa and then returning via Sagago-toge (repairwork of the old Sasago tunnel should be completed by then).