11 December 2016

Tsuru Tsuru Onsen

Jerome and I planned a ride for Saturday. It seemed our last chance to get in a ride together thisyear. We planned a 730AM start so we could get in some serious hills!
Well, we ended up with an 830AM start -- and a good thing to as I had work left over from Friday to finish.
On the way from the Tamagawa toward Itsukaichi, we took the path along the Akigawa. But this time we stayed off the main road longer than usual, and found that we could go under the Ken-O-do and join Mutsuhashi Dori further west than we usually do, much closer to where the traffic lightens up.  Here (except we got off course on the return and ended up back at Mutsuhashi Dori once):
Avoiding Route 7 - Mutsuhashi Dori
We sometimes go along the Akigawa here, but the ability to easily connect up with the main road AFTER Ken-O-Do makes a difference. We will take this route more frequently in the future, despite the very rough surfaces at places along the Akigawa.
A beautiful late Fall day on the lower Akigawa!
We were both sluggish and made our way finally to Itsukaichi, where we had planned to decide whether to ride the "reverse Paul Jason" tough Kobu Tunnel, or do a closer loop over Iriyama Pass and, perhaps, Wada.
As I went inside and got some food and used the bathroom, Jerome lay down and dozed. My stomach was feeling heavy (okay, I seem to have picked up a kg or two, in recent months). Neither of us were enthusiastic about a longer ride.
Jerome had a brilliant suggestion -- a trip to Tsuru Tsuru Onsen, about as close and nice a destination as we could think of, and we both really wanted to soak in a tub and rest. We recalled the first time we tried the SR600 Fuji and stopped at a very local onsen in Yudanaka after descending from Shibu Pass. Soaking in the hot water pretty much wiped me out and ended my SR600 attempt!
The famous Tsuru Tsuru Onsen, a day spa and popular destination for hikers
Likewise this time, after a decent bath it was time to rest, then I felt like rolling downhill and downriver and home again. By the time we left Tsuru Tsuru Onsen, around 2PM, the sun was already noticeably low over the hills.
A few hundred meters down the hill, we popped into a bike shop we had noticed on the climb! What was a bike shop doing here, all the way up a valley with almost no through traffic (sure, a few cyclists, but I could think of 100 better spots to serve weekend cyclists).  Anyway, it was a roadbike shop called RIN, and the owner/manager was there.  He asked if we were from the Yokota Airbase.  Actually, he said it in Japanese more like "so you must be from the Yokota base".
It seems like a De Rosa/Campy specialty place, another semi-retired Japanese salaryman who decided to set up a shop.  Awfully lonely.  Jerome asked to borrow a floor pump. He was charged 50 yen.  Jerome bought a bell.  There were a few nice bikes in there, one in particular that looked interesting, and I asked if I could take a picture.  He said "no".  He was worried about the photos might lead to bike thieves.
Anyway, I wish him the best of luck. I will not be among his customers, absent emergency.
115 kms in all.  Short for P.E., but a decent trip.

1 comment:

ladislav gaspar said...

Hi David,

First of all - thank you so much for this blog as there is not so much cycling infos in English about riding in Japan. I also added you at Strava. My name is Laco and in the near future I am moving from Bangkok to Tokyo (or maybe another part of the country depending on the job possibilities...)
I would like to ask you for some more infos (also I would love to join one of your rides as I am coming to Tokyo from 9 to 25 Jan)
So please, if possible and have some spare time - add me on Skype - laco.gaspar
Thank you so much & wish you a many safe rides and awesome weather!