Monday, December 19, 2016

japan 2: cycling in tokyo

To all the people to whom I said we went cycling in Tokyo in winter, they said: Huh? Wasn’t it cold?

Yes it was, but we weren’t trying to be cool. I honestly thought we’d be fine because we all love cycling in Singapore, and I thought the exercise would warm us up. Only it didn’t, not really. I completely forgot that cycling implies a breeze, and this breeze was ice-cold. (why do these practicalities occur to everyone else but me?)

It was also the first thing we did on Day 2, after landing in the evening of Day 1, and we were still adjusting to the cold.

A short while into the cycling jaunt, I wish I had made the kids wear their long johns, and I tried my best to cover up freezing cheeks and ears.

IMG_0127

When the sun came out, it got better.

The Tokyo Great Cycling Tour was a six-hour affair covering over 25km. Booked online, all we had to do was to show up at 9am sharp, select our spiffy mountain bikes, and go off with our cyclist tour guide. Of about six different tours offered on different days, I picked the one which seemed to cover the most number of must-see places, route B. Two other young ladies from Brisbane went along with us.

Cold aside, I think it was one of the best things we did. It is such a great way to see the city and our English-speaking guide was such a cheerful lady, armed with her notepad of photos and illustrations to show us whenever we made a stop. 

We also noticed that whenever we stopped and left the bikes, which was often, the bikes were all parked in corners where they could easily have been stolen, devoid of locks. Apparently, its that safe. 

IMG_0218
* Kids, assistant guide (on the left), and our tour guide Yukiko on the right

IMG_0150
* Along the way she whipped out a little game of paper Sumo wrestlers

Lu cycled behind KK on a tandem bike and those two were probably a little miserable. 

IMG_0193

She was feeling frozen and still tired from the flight, threatening to nod off while cycling. Six hours and 25km is OTT for her. And because the bike was a tandem, KK’s seat was a bit too high, which really hurt after half a day.

But Day, Jo and I had a blast riding through throngs of people, crossing traffic junctions, enjoying parks and getting a broad view of life in Tokyo which we would never have otherwise.

IMG_0143
* As we came to a stop and shivered outside this sumo training facility, wearing all the warm clothes I had in my bag, that man on the left emerged from the glass door and hung around in the freezing cold taking photos. We were truly be-dazzled by the superhuman sumo wrestler

IMG_0154
 * With a wrestler who is apparently a hot favourite because he's so cute

IMG_0166

IMG_0165

IMG_0156

IMG_0158
* Skytree

IMG_0169
* Lunch

IMG_0173

IMG_0147
* Snack of red bean-chestnut mochi at a sweet shop the ladies brought us to

IMG_0177

IMG_0189
* Sensoji Temple

IMG_0199
* Tokyo University

IMG_0208
* Stopping at the Imperial Palace

IMG_0216
* Us in front of the Nijubashi Bridge, where we engaged with the guide in a very interesting discussion about the Japanese Imperial Family and its dire lack of heirs

For the tour, bikes, a great lunch and a snack, it cost about $120 per adult and $60-80 for kids, depending on age. And as luck would have it, Jo had a free ride because she’s the same age as the company, which was celebrating its 10th anniversary.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Indeed it will be cold in winter but it looks fun too. Something I can consider for my family next time.- min

Lysithea said...

This is really cool! I must try this next time ...