I met my colleague Aiko-san at Moroyama and we did about 65 kms of the ride together. It was the furthest he has gone on the road bike he got last winter, but other than a pre-lunch semi bonk, solved by a Snickers bar, he made it without difficulty.
|Aiko-san as we approach Yorii|
Iruma, Hanno, Hidaka, Komagawa, then Moroyama. ... Then with Aiko-san on Saitama Route 30 to Ogose, Tokigawa, Ogawamachi, onto Route 254, then a local road over a hill and eventually down into Yorii. Then back.
As we rode out through Tokigawa I saw a sign at an intersection pointing left toward Shiroishi Pass via Route 172, and a cyclist just starting to head that direction ... but not today. I was on the clock and it would have been a bit too much of a climb for my colleague, yet.
|Lots of Honda facilities around Ogawamachi ... all hidden from the road and landscaped nicely.|
These towns are all an an area of rolling hills, west of the Saitama plain and east of the real hills and mountains. Nice country for riding through and lots of places to stop for food or a side visit, and a good place for a new road cyclist to build up strength at riding on rolling hills, or for an experienced cyclist to try to hold a tempo on an upward incline.
|Looking across some farms at the south facing slope where will plan our next solar project. Ready to build soon.|
|A former chicken farm in Moroyama that is now a small solar park. No fence (?)|
|In the shadows. At least my jacket is visible.|
My only complaint was a sticking link in my Ultegra 6800 chain. This sticking happened first on Wednesday, and I cleaned thoroughly and lubricated the chain (using basic Kure CRC 5-56) then ... and subsequently had no trouble with it going 75 kms to/from Keio SFC. But again on Saturday morning the link started to stick and I would suffer a "clunk" and slip a bit each revolution of the chain as the sticking link entered the derailleur. This drove me a bit crazy and slowed me down, but I adjusted as best I could. I could not fix it despite several attempts to manually loosen up the offending link -- the only result was grease all over my gloves. I eventually found an open Shell gasoline stand, at the tea fields of Iruma. They lent me a can of the Kure 5-56 and a towel, and I could again thoroughly clean the chain (and especially the offending link). They refused my offer to pay for the service -- typical Japan.
The chain was trouble free the rest of the day. I think the offending link is the one where I inserted the Shimano fixing pin to assemble the chain on my bicycle. It must have bent slightly when I snapped off the end of the Shimano fixing pin with a pliers. Or maybe the pin fits more tightly than others. So I look at this as likely a Shimano design defect. As the chains get thinner and thinner, they get more fragile and more subject to this kind of problem with just a little grit, not serious dirt. This chain has less than 1000 kms on it and I would hope is good for another 5000 or more ... but at a minimum I will need to keep it extremely clean and lube it much more carefully than I would normally -- before every ride.