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Old 12-21-17, 01:09 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Tokyo, Japan
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Bikes: Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer, Bike Friday Pocket Rocket

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@Lightchop and I completed a century in hilly west Izu peninsula together. I got up at 03:00, picked him up by car at his hotel in Tokyo at 05:00 and we drove to Mishima station in the northern part of Izu. From there we set out at sunrise (around 07:00) to explore the scenic but mountainous coast line together. The first and last 30 km of this 179 km out-and-back course are mostly flat, but the middle ~120 km have about 2400 m (8000 ft) of barometric elevation gain. Apart from a few towns we passed through, the route is either up or down all the way.

About 60 km into the course I noticed that my rear derailleur wasn't upshifting all the way to the heaviest gear on downhills. Sometimes it would go as far as second heaviest, sometimes it would not go into the four tallest gears. I suspected a frazzled shifter cable (last changed 9,000 km ago and overdue for annual replacement). I could still use all the crucial climbing gears. Since we were a third into the ride already and closer to the turnaround point than the start, I decided to risk it and continue. It really only made a difference on the flat stretches, of which there weren't many.

After 80 km (50 mi) we turned off the main road and climbed a steep back road through a village and past some mushroom plantations in the forest. Lightchop had to drop me on the climbs to maintain a reasonable cadence with the mid-compact rental bike while I crawled up with my light gears. from the top of the back road we descended 4 km to Kumomi Onsen, a small hot spring town next to Mt Eboshi, a spectacular rock that hosts a Shinto shrine. Out in the sea we saw a rope bridge between two rocks, which I think also serves some kind of Shinto function. 70 km to the north as the crow flies we could see snow capped Mt Fuji, separated from us by the blue waters of Suruga bay.

The road rises high above the coast line. It's almost like an airplane view.

We passed through Iwachi Onsen, where I had often holidayed with my family when my kids were little. The views on the coastal road, sandwiched between the ocean and the mountains were spectacular.

We made our way north again, back to Matsuzaki and Toi, racing against the sunset. My hope to make it to the last big climb on the northwest corner of Izu had been overoptimistic. We were still climbing the last big mountain before that when the last daylight was already fading.

With a dynamo hub I have no issues with riding in the dark, but I had left the spare battery for the Volt 300, which I had brought for Lightchop in the car. The unit is specified to last only 3 hours in steady mode at full brightness, so it was a concern. We did make it back to the car without running out of battery.

We loaded both bikes into the car again and drove back to Tokyo, where I dropped off Lightchop at the hotel again.

Lightchop, congratulations to completing your year of A Century A Month! For me it was Century #27 this year, the highest annual total since I started cycling again.

Last edited by joewein; 12-21-17 at 01:14 AM.
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