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Old 02-10-08, 07:16 AM
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rukawa
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I will share a bit about what I have found out through my bike purchase research.

The style of my bike is standard for commuter bikes in Japan...with the exception of the 6 speed shift. Most commuter bikes have just 1 speed at the 100USD range and 3 speed at 150USD range. The chain guard is a standard for all commuter bikes. There are people riding bikes dressed in suits or dresses even. However for mountain bikes, I haven't seen a budget one thats equipped with a chain guard. Maybe that's why mtbs aren't as favorable as commuter bikes in this city. In school I see 80-90% commuter bikes and 10% mtbs.

The majority of the commuter bikes are made in China, including mine. The bikes are required to pass a QA test set by Japan before being sold here. All bikes need police registration, mandatory insurance and a few more registration with your affiliations. For me its my dorm, my school, and police. I have about 4-5 registration stickers on my bike.

By law all bicycles have to have some lighting device during the night so most commuter bikes have dynamos built-in. We ride on the sidewalks, even though the law is for us to ride on the shoulders of the roads. Cars are pretty courteous to bicycle riders but nobody really want to take a chance on the narrow roads as most of us don't wear a helmet while riding.

I've occasionally see one of two riders on racing bikes cruising down the main roads, but what really happens is that the cars behind the bike will automatically merge to avoid being in the same lane with the bike. I haven't seen any riders getting honked at. There is an understanding between the pedestrian and the riders that we have the right of way on the sidewalk. People will pause and let the bikes pass if the road is narrow. I guess they don't want to get hit by a bike. We then give a little head nod to thank them.

I will have to figure out some ways to add a huge mudguard and chain guard if I ever get a mountain bike.. or be prepared to have a change of cloth every morning I get to school..
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