30 January 2010

Miura Loop

After James had bailed out of riding on Saturday because of his entire family catching the Noro virus on Friday and MOB because his adult family caught too much alcohol that same evening, and Tom indicated he was keen to join his VLAAMS team sortie rather than doing another Miura loop with me, I was left to explore the peninsula all by myself.

I left home to ride to Machida where I wanted to get onto the cycling path along the Sakaigawa river leading all the way to Fujisawa. After a small unintended detour in Machida which took me through endless social housing areas, I found the river. I quickly understood why Tom had described it as "not that nice and certainly not fast but best alternative". It starts like one of these small rivers running through western Tokyo (e.g. Sengawa): deep river bed with only a creek flowing inside, small paved path on both sides, houses of various beauty on either side. But the landscape kept varying the further I went, and it never got boring. Eventually, Sakaigawa becomes a bigger river running through fields, and one feels like cycling through the countryside. After crossing route 246, it becomes an official cycling road, and becomes altogether more fast paced. Nonetheless, there are the occasional road crossings, sometimes with quite some traffic. Traffic on the cycling path is rather modest and nothing as bad as along the Tamagawa.

The cycling road ends without much of an indication in Fujisawa, and from there it is another few kilometres until one hits the coast at Enoshima.

I took route 137 towards Misaki, making a small detour through Hayama to avoid the heavier traffic on the main road.

It had become quite warm and I felt I was dressed to warmly for 13 degrees in the sun. Mount Fuji loomed nicely behind Enoshima, though not as clearly visible as otherwise because of the humidity.

In Misaki, I crossed half of the bridge to Jogajima, to enjoy the great views of the harbour below and once again Mount Fuji further afar.

It was still relatively early for lunch (not yet 11am), but I was hoping to drop by Tom's favourite restaurant just outside Misaki, along the coastal road towards the east. Alas, I missed it and by the time that became apparent, I did not feel like cycling back. Had I actually visited the restaurant, I would have just left it when Tom would have arrived with his VLAAMS team. Too bad we missed each other - but I could not know as Tom had declared he didn't want to do Miura again...

The views of the radish and cabbage fields as well as the sea and Boso Hanto (Chiba) further afar, distracted me from the head wind I was now facing.

Cycling through every corner of the peninsula, I eventually made it to Kannonzaki, a historical place from where Edo had been protected from potential invaders.

Now I had to head north, on the less interesting side of Miura Hanto. Initially all was well and I was sailing in nice backwind. But then I hit route 45 and things became ugly. The road is double-laned, but rather narrow, and in the frequent short tunnels, the lanes become really narrow. Traffic is heavy and fast, and many drivers took exception to a cyclist blocking their progress at the speed of only 35-40km/h. I was quite angry being honked at frequently, and didn't feel save being harassed by cars getting excessively close.

Beyond Yokosuka, I turned off towards Kamakura - up a short but steep pass and down into the town. I realised I hadn't been to Kamakura in ages and never seen many of its nice temples. I stopped briefly at Hachimangu where a guide was very keen to speak to me in English and try to help me with the way. Unfortunately I was better off with my map than him explaining to me that I should ask for the way again a few kilometres down the road...

I made it to Ofuna from where things should have been easy. However, my map was outdated as it missed newer roads and there were never any road signs whatsoever! I got somewhat lost, ending up in a residential area up a hill. It was time to pull out my BlackBerry, connect it to my GPS (via Bluetooth) and find out where I was. Actually close to route 1 and not that much off track.

I found route 1, made a U-turn on this monster road, went down into Totsuka, turned onto Chogo Kaido, then Kamakura Michi, which led me eventually to Nakahara Kaido. From there it was another 30km to Kannana, and another 10km home. I got briefly lost very close to MOB's home - maybe that was some telepathic attempt of his to lure me to his house, which I was keen to avoid as I would have otherwise hit darkness on the way home.

A relatively easy 207km (maymyride says 800m of climbing, but I think it was more as the many smaller hills in urban areas don't get captured well), but overall quite stressful with so much traffic around me, for all but the 30km along the Sakaigawa cycling road. My face was rather black when I got home.


Unknown said...

...funny, we did cross roads with a tall foreigner on a black bike somewhere near to Misaki on our way to Maruyoshi Shokudo in Miyagawa Harbour....I bet that was you Ludwig!! I'd like to keep my promise so one of these coming weekends, why don't we all go there?

The Sakaigawa Cycling Road by the way runs a little further than Fujisawa, in fact all the way to Enoshima Station where it flows into the sea. Near Fujisawa there are repair works under way though and the path along the river has been closed.

Manfred von Holstein said...

As nice as that would have been, I doubt you saw me. Even you were really fast to Miyagawa, we wouldn't have crossed roads. I was going exactly the same way as you (according to your GPS). If you had passed me, I would have noticed (actually no cyclist passed me all day), if I had passed you, I surely would have noticed too.

Incidentally, there lots of cyclist out and about. What a difference to the mountains. I'm not sure we encountered a single cyclist the Sunday before!

Unknown said...

Must have been your phantom then! Yes, there is always a large number of cyclists on Miura. On my way back, I got passed by a guy on a track bike so incredibly fast I instantly gave up chasing him!