Berichten weergeven met het label cyclist etiquette. Alle berichten weergeven
Berichten weergeven met het label cyclist etiquette. Alle berichten weergeven

donderdag 3 mei 2012

Beating the asemo blues...

My niece in Haiti recommended I should use corn starch-based powder to get rid of heat rash on my butt!

zondag 15 maart 2009

Kusatsu Training No.3 (KT3)

Alan of TCC put together this very nice loop around Okutama-ko including some forestry road I have never ridden before (I may have once with Hiroshi but from the opposite direction). All members assembled on time in front of Itsukaichi Station and we took off a little after 9:15 under gorgeous skies and plum blossoms in full bloom. It didn't even feel all that cold and I soon regretted my having overdressed. Michael of Positivo Espresso called and said he, David and Jerome would try to join us on top of Wada. Both groups must have missed each other with about 20 minutes or so. Not far from Wada-toge we enjoyed a brief but superb view of Fujisan. On the way up to Kobu tunnel, a familiar-looking jersey appeared in front of me...Ichiro of Vlaams Tamasai!! Ichiro had joined the 6:30 V練, cycled all the way direction Odawara to Isehara and was adding a few extra hours of mountain riding before heading home. I told him Alan's ride plan and Ichiro, always happy to add some extra kilometers, happily decided to join. A little later, I managed to catch up first with Jerome and then with David sporting brand-new Fulcrum wheels on his Cervelo on the way up to Tomin-no-mori where I found Michael slurping away at a bowl of noodles of some kind. All riders reassembled in front of the restaurants facing Lake Okutama following an exiting downhill led by Ichiro...this light-weight guy surely knows to downhill fast! From here, it was Alan again who took the lead guiding us to the entrance of the little-known trail through a forest leading all the way to Itsukaichi. The entrance point is not far from the Kanzashi Hairpin Museum. On this last hill, I decided to use up my last energies and found a good rhythm. On the downhill part it was once again Alan showing us the way; he too went very fast almost in mountain bike fashion. Alan also gave a little demonstration on how to quickly change an inner tube after suffering a snakebite puncture in a pothole. Ichiro and I parted from the rest and on our way home we stopped by one of VLAAMS's favorite bakery shops called "La Fougasse" in Akiruno. I was starving and ate three different pastries...pear, apple and chocolate...simply delicious! Thanks to Alan's superb organization, I believe everyone was able to enjoy another great day in the outdoors. I was happy to get to meet some more TCC people for the first time. With yesterday's rain, I could only cycle 180km this weekend...I am a bit jealous of Ichiro who must have covered almost 260km today!!

Not very thoughtful this signpost put up by "Santama Jitensha-no-Kai"....Bicycle riders! CAUTION! OK, yes, but caution for what? Hungry bears in the neighbourhood? The text calls out to cyclists to control speed, show consideration for other road users, hikers and people living in the area and give forestry workers no trouble. A very reasonable request and message which cyclists with the right etiquette naturally take to heart. I cannot help but wondering though why it was necessary to put "BICYCLE RIDERS! CAUTION !" in English in the first place ...

maandag 19 januari 2009

Machismo vs Stoicism

One thing I like about riding with the people of VLAAMS Tamasai is their observance of traffic rules; you will almost never see them not stop at red lights and rather than rolling up the side of stopped traffic, they neatly and stoically stay in position behind queued vehicles (I never do that when I'm riding solo but maybe I should as a matter of principle and by way of brushing up my own cyclist etiquette...haha!).

I somehow dislike the wannabe macho types who constantly feel the urge to display their manliness through reckless riding blatantly ignoring red lights. (The same goes for the thinking principle that there is safety in numbers…if we all go through the red light together what can possibly go wrong?)

Frankly, I do not think waiting for a red light to turn green in a godforsaken corner of the Higashi-Chichibu backwoods with absolutely nobody in sight makes any sense but this is exactly what most typical Japanese cycling clubs take for granted! Now that I have (“sort of”) grown used to this routine, I’ve started to appreciate those few seconds in stand-by mode just to take a breather, have a sip, wipe my sunglasses or exchange some comments on the weather or road conditions… Moreover, I'd like to believe that by stopping at red lights we can gain the respect of motorists but this is probably an illusion.

Real machismo can be expressed perhaps not by riding red lights but by braving the elements or cresting a good piece of mountain with panache in style. But then again, maybe this is not called machismo but simply Japanese-style stoicism…or wasn't this whole thing called masochism?

zaterdag 27 december 2008

Eisbahn between Sadamine and Shiraishi !!

Solo ride today ! Left home at 9:00 in full winter attire and with the new "Potenza" Bridgestone tyres (25c on back wheel). My plan was to visit my favorite little bakery between Rd. 11 and Kinshoji temple near Chichibu after cresting Yamabushi-toge.

This bakery is quite unusual; there is no signboard and it is not facing the main road. The bread and pastries are sold on a counter inside a veranda of a normal house so one actually does not step inside the bakery. My first choice pastry is a very plain and chewy bun with a piece of hard chocolat in it...delicious! I was racing up and down the many hills between Ome and Chichibu with the vision of myself biting away two chocolate buns while lazing in the sun on the temple bench. I arrived and I spotted the bakery lady getting of her car...strange; how come she's not behind the counter? To my big shock, she told me that the bakery closed on December 20 and will only re-open late January! She apologized and in an effort to console me, the lady told me "You're the guy from Belgium right? So glad you like our chocolate here!"

I rode a bit further down R.11 until 7/11 where I had some pork on rice heated up for lunch. Fully re-energized, I began my climb of Sadamine-toge. So far, the road surface had been mostly dry - just perfect. Even when I crested Sadamine, there were no ill omens whatsoever of what was to come...although oddly enough there were no cyclists, nobody at all around the Sadamine teahouse.

When the road bent slightly to the right, I was for a moment almost blinded by brightness...the road in front of me was one big eisbahn with snow all over!











Believing the snow and ice would be just in this one spot, I still had enough composure to take a few pictures. Going up higher towards the top of Shiraishi-toge, however, there were no more dry stretches and I was forced to walk my Sirius for about 1km! En route to the top, I came across a car that had gotten stuck on the ice. The couple in the car seemed panick-stricken and tried to get the car moving but the wheels would only spin on the ice. Then I saw some gravel bags on the roadside and suggested they should try open one. I helped them get one and sprinkle the gravel around the wheels...it sure did the job and the guy offered profuse thanks. Good!

I rode extra carefully, getting off the bike and walking on the road side in the shadowy bends where ice was lurking. My cleats were clogged up with snow and ice and would no longer click into the pedals. Fortunately, the south side of the mountain, from Karibazaka down to R299, was sunny and the road "cork-dry" again.

Once on the Tamagawa CR, I noticed a shadow following me...some skinny, blond long-haired foreigner on an orange Lemond bike. Whenever I would slow down, the guy did the same and whenever I did some 39km/h "flatarsing," this fellow would still hang onto my wheel, obviously profiting from my slipstream. Now, I really hate "drafting profiteurs" (in Flemish: "een vuile plakker") like this who are totally ignorant of the proper cyclist etiquette, this is simply NOT DONE! (of course when cycling together with one's own buddies, drafting and taking turns is the normal thing to do). I had already covered many hills and 145km by then and this youngster who probably knows no better than cruising along the Tamagawa CR, doesn't even greet me or offer to take over the lead...lowermost manners! I don't mind if you're reading this Orange Lemond Cyclist...as a matter of fact I certainly hope you will come across this and learn some proper etiquette!

Covered 164km today at an average of 24km/h...not so bad considering all the ice-walking! I rewarded myself with a long hot bath followed with a couple beers from my alma mater brewery.