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Renting a bike in Japan - anyone done it?

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Renting a bike in Japan - anyone done it?

Old 10-05-11, 01:14 PM
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Renting a bike in Japan - anyone done it?

I'm travelling to Japan in two weeks, and staying for two weeks (business). I'd like to rent a road bike and do some really cool ride, at least one day. I'm staying in Hachioji, about an hour west of Tokyo.

Anyone rented a road bike in Japan / Tokyo vicinity? Any advice? Place to rent from? Route to ride? Mountain to climb? Anything?

Gracias!
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Old 10-05-11, 01:30 PM
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keep in mind that (most likely) bikes over there are like bikes in the UK, front brake will be on the right.
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Old 10-05-11, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
keep in mind that (most likely) bikes over there are like bikes in the UK, front brake will be on the right.
Not my experience. Purchased a "10-speed" at the Navy Exchange in 1972 when our ship stopped for a liberty call. Maybe the levers were swapped because it was from the Exchange. You are correct in that they drive on the "wrong" side of the road.

sac02: did you do a Google search for Tokyo bicycle rentals? That's how I found the rental place in Rome when I went last Spring.
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Old 10-05-11, 02:54 PM
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I ride a bike from Scotland, have never switched it back so just think "motorcycle" when on it. A friend once went to China, told of how he jumped on a bike, went to do a rear wheel slide in the dirt, hauled on the right brake to do a rear lock up slide, and was promptly pitched on his keester when the front locked and slid out....wasnt hurt, just a funny story he tells.

good luck finding a place.
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Old 10-05-11, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
I ride a bike from Scotland, have never switched it back so just think "motorcycle" when on it. A friend once went to China, told of how he jumped on a bike, went to do a rear wheel slide in the dirt, hauled on the right brake to do a rear lock up slide, and was promptly pitched on his keester when the front locked and slid out....wasnt hurt, just a funny story he tells.

good luck finding a place.
Well he better not steal my bike, because that's how I'm set up too.
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Old 10-05-11, 04:53 PM
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I've been to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Shiga Kogen. Kyoto had an abundant amount of bicycles for rent based on the serene and flat environment. Good luck with Tokyo, almost no one I saw had rental bikes but moreso privately owned.

Do your research, Japanese are known to enjoy the newest toys on the market. I went skiing near Nagano, the hotel had super cheap snowboards at $10 a day but were very abused. Next door, a private snowboard shop had their cheapest rentals at $200/day! They were lovely though. . . needless to say I stuck it out with the $10 crappy set.
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Old 10-05-11, 07:16 PM
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Come check out the forums at tokyocycle.com. I seem to remember a thread a while ago about renting bikes, so you might find some information in that thread. However, I don't know of any place that rents real roadbikes. Mostly they're offering internally geared cruiser type bikes for the tourist crowd to navigate between temples and sightseeing spots at one location.

The general advice given is to buy a bike here and then sell it lightly used when you leave, but if you jump on the forum you can check out rides, routes, etc, and if you tell a sob story about really wanting to join a ride but not having a bike, someone might be able to lend you one.
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Old 10-05-11, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by sac02
I'm travelling to Japan in two weeks, and staying for two weeks (business). I'd like to rent a road bike and do some really cool ride, at least one day. I'm staying in Hachioji, about an hour west of Tokyo.

Anyone rented a road bike in Japan / Tokyo vicinity? Any advice? Place to rent from? Route to ride? Mountain to climb? Anything?

Gracias!
If you can grab a good bike, you could try to go for Mt Fuji climb all the way to the 5th station base camp - located about 2400 meters above sea level.
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Old 10-05-11, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
keep in mind that (most likely) bikes over there are like bikes in the UK, front brake will be on the right.
Yep, bought a mtb when I lived there and they were switched. Kind of odd at first but you get used to it.

As for riding in Japan, unless you are going to be someplace out of the way like country roads with little traffic I wouldn't get my hopes up. Narrow roads and cars unused to seeing cyclist. True lots of people ride bike to the train station or to school but they ride on sidewalks/paths and are slow. When I lived there I biked to work a lot and everyone thought I was nuts. I lived in the "inaka" (countryside) so traffic was low for the most part and I still got hit twice. However, if you can find some out of the way places it's a great place to ride. Great scenery. Don't forget to ride on the left and double think your turns (once turned a car onto the wrong side of the road making a left).
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Old 10-05-11, 10:04 PM
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I ride to work in central Tokyo every day and it's fine. Drivers are much more conscientious and courteous here that in the US (in my experience), and the reduced speed limits make it easier to go at the speed of traffic. On the whole, I feel much safer riding in Tokyo than I ever did in New York or Cleveland. I don't have much experience in smaller towns in Japan though, but I do a lot of rides into the mountains west of Tokyo, and have not had issues there either. It's important to plan your route carefully to stay off of the main roads and avoid the tourist buses and motorcycle racers as much as possible, but I ride out from my home in central Tokyo and back for most rides and it's fine.

OP, from Hachioji you're right at the doorstep of some of the best rides in this area. You couldn't pick a better place to stay if you're a cyclist.
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Old 10-06-11, 11:51 AM
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Thanks for the replies, I will definitely check out tokyocycle.com, it looks like a fairly active forum.

If I did want to ride Mt Fuji, could anyone recommend a route?

Any other advice, feel free to keep it coming!

Thanks!
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Old 10-06-11, 08:09 PM
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Not sure about coming from Hachioji. From where I live I usually take route 413 to get to Lake Yamanaka, then go one way or the other round the lake depending on where I'm heading next. Mt Fuji is just on the other side of the lake, relatively speaking, but I've never ridden right to the base of it so I'm not sure the route from the lake.
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Old 10-07-11, 06:34 AM
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I'm looking at Google Maps - I see 413 to the lake, do you know how one would get up Mt Fuji on a bike? Google shows "Mt Fuji Toll Road" running up the side of the mountain, do you have any guess if bikes are allowed on that road?
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Old 10-07-11, 07:50 AM
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hi
there are plenty of bike route map sites these days.
Maybe MapMyRide and Bikely are two of them. There should be some Fuji routes in there.
The name of one good route is "Subaru line" which ascends from roughly the northeast - here's info on the route:
https://fujihc.jp/english.html https://fujihc.jp/course.html
It's not that intuitive to get to the start of the climbing road but combine this info with one of those route map sites and you'll be able to figure it out.
You might have some great views at the top of this route there, but it's cloudy up there a lot. Either way be ready for cold if you do make it up to 2400m.

To ride out there from Hachioji would work, but that would be a long day if you do the climb the same day. There are 2 ways to take a train there - don't take it along the coast or you'll face a first bunch of climbing and probably more car traffic to get to the Subaru line. Take the Fujikyuko train to Fujiyoshida city, the station is called Fujisan.

PM me if you get stuck in planning. There will be one or two Tokyo-based foreigners' road cycling clubs whose club rides you could join if you want - a few intensity levels should be available. If you're renting a bike though you probably don't want to go too crazy on one day, assuming it's hard to get it fit just perfect for you. Kind of easy to screw up knees or something, I would guess. (never rented a good bike)
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Old 10-07-11, 08:48 AM
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I lived in the UK and Australia before the USA so I'm used the right being the front brake. All my bikes except my newest one have it that way.

I wonder what the pros use. Do the Europeans and Americans on the same team have different brake setups?
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Old 10-07-11, 10:03 AM
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I was in Kyoto for a friend visit and I saw SO MANY unlocked bikes on kickstands in front of shops ... The crime rate there must be REAL low...
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Old 10-07-11, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by JimJimex
I was in Kyoto for a friend visit and I saw SO MANY unlocked bikes on kickstands in front of shops ... The crime rate there must be REAL low...
Different culture
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