31 July 2017

NYC - 450,000 bike trips per day

Nice article in the NY Times today online about cycling in NYC. Quite a difference from 20 years ago.

23 July 2017

Matsuhime Pass, ahead of the heat

View from near the top of the climb to Matsuhime Pass, looking back down the valley toward Saruhashi
Today Jerome and I wanted to ride, but the heat has been awful. I decided that I would be on a 613AM train from Musashi Mizunoguchi, arriving at Saruhashi at 746AM, meaning I would need to leave home before 545AM.  Jerome wanted to join, but was planning to go later ... but take an express from Shinjuku to Otsuki. I told him he could catch me on the climb. I missed the 613AM train, and ended up at Saruhashi around 815AM. ... and Jerome only 15 minutes or so behind when he started from Otsuki.

The strategy worked really nicely. We met at the top, and enjoyed the last 2/3 of the ride together. The heat was bearable, much more shaded roadway on the South side of Matsuhime than I remembered, a slight breeze, and little traffic (and no traffic at all on the "old road" to Matsuhime Pass, now that Matsuhime Tunnel is open and the old road is closed off on the South approach to the Pass--but still accessible for ingenious cyclists).
Leaving Saruhashi ... but this is not the famous bridge.

Beautiful empty road! Route 139.

Many types of flowers along Route 139

One of the stretches of Route 139 that has not yet been widened. Eventually it should all be 2 lanes, as most of it is.

Approaching Fukashiro Dam.

Hydrangea at the dam in the small rest area.

The reservoir is almost empty. Only generating 124kWs!
(I checked online and my Hiroshima solar project was over 450kWs at the same time Saturday morning 

Turn left just before the LONG Matsuhime Tunnel ... Then go around the locked fence and through several shorter, completely unlighted tunnels.

On the climb. Much more shade than I remember. I took it slow and easy ...

We came from down there. Up, Up, Up!
The bus driver must have been asleep somewhere in the back of this bus. No sign of activity... 

At Matsuhime Pass

Jerome arrives. Wonder why the included English on this one? ... if only they had done so where we entered below, we would have been on notice ...

On Yamanashi Rte 18 after Tsuru Pass, traditional stop for water/rest on the left.

No one is taking care of the gateball court this year. The elderly are now too few and old for gateball!

More hydrangea!
A cold beer and cold udon for recovery at a place in Uenohara complete with bike bar/rack

At Uenohara for the trip back to town. Girls in yukata for summer festivals?
The ride was only 60kms, with around 1700 meters of climbing. Plus another 10kms or so in town getting to/from the trains (and with a stop at C Speed to chat with Hiroshi). I feel as if I have "acclimated" a bit to the heat and humidity for this year, but also as if over the next month my rides will involve early starts and rinko transits to skip the miserably hot slog from and back to town and start nearer climbs that will take me to pleasantly cooler elevation.
Maybe I have reached the point MOB did, where I will no longer have the patience for a slog along the Tamagawa and through the sprawl of Tokyo suburbs? Maybe I will be a regular rinko bag user? Okay, I WILL be a regular rinko bag user, especially after I complete a planned move closer to the middle of Tokyo for the Fall.

21 July 2017

Eat Like a Tour Racer - 6000 kcals a day


How Fast was Bardet on the Izoard?

One of the fun things about Strava is comparing oneself (or one's friends) with a famous rider like Romain Bardet, now in 2nd place overall for this year's Tour, 23 seconds behind Froome.

Yesterday, on the finish climb to the Col d'Izoard, Romain Bardet was SO fast, that he took the Strava KOM ("King of the Mountain" -- fastest time recorded) on the last 2.0 kms, averaging 20.9kms per hour, this on a 9% grade after already having climbed over 3500 meters elevation and ridden 175 kms on the day.

By comparison, a strong rider in the Etape du Tour event there last Sunday ... did the same stretch in 15:25. I would be delighted to finish it in under 20 minutes at the end of such a hard day!

P.S. Did I mention that I met Bardet again last fall year at the Tokyo TdF reception?  Did I? Perhaps I dropped the name once or twice?

Dip in the Akigawa and "Sashimi Konyaku" at Michiko's Sobatei in the Woods

A hot day last Sunday, but I still got in a nice ride with Jerome to the Akigawa.

GPS off for a few stretches. Around 135-140kms total.

Faded signage along the Tamagawa.
A nice stop early on at Lohas 24 cafe and coffee roasters
It has fast become a cyclist mecca. ... like MOB's future shop in Bremen!
The roasting equipment, apologies for reflection in the glass.

In no time we were past Itsukaichi

Left at the "T", less than 50 meters, and the steps down to the secret swimming hole

Ahh, looks nice!

Sleeping Frenchman

Beached whale
Up the hill 300 meters more elevation, to Tokisaka Toge
And the Toge no Chaya Soba-tei Michiko! 

An Edo era building hidden back in the woods

Konyaku Sashimi - a Positivo Espresso favorite.

Still Ajisai here!

And these too were beautiful, ... what are they?

07 July 2017

Air Pollution while Commuting

An article in the NY Times today highlights a study about exposure to pollution while cycling in cities. In the most polluted cities (Delhi, Beijing), cycling can be hazardous for your health. Of course, in those places breathing can be hazardous to your health ... just not as hazardous as not breathing.

Elsewhere, we should avoid the most air-polluted roads and can rest assured that we are still improving ourselves.

"On weekdays, Darby Jack bicycles the 15 miles from his home in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, to his office at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in Washington Heights. Unlike most people who bike to work, the 42-year-old assistant professor of environmental health wears sensors that monitor how much air he breathes in during the trip along with air pollution levels along his route.
This elaborate gadgetry is part of a five-year study that aims to find out at what point the harm done by pollution to cyclists might outweigh the health benefits accrued from the exercise."

06 July 2017

Peter Sagan's new machine?

Peter Sagan is kicked out of the Tour de France for maintaining his balance as Cavendish tries to sneak by along the rail and goes flying!
Sagan's elbow is out.  He seems, to me, to be merely attempting to retain balance after Cavendish gets too close, and as Cavendish is ALREADY on his way down.
Anyway, Sagan is out for this year. He has been offered a new sponsor, however, if he wants to make himself useful while enjoying the rest of the Tour from the sideline, if he does not mind the color scheme: