Miura Kaigan

Three cyclists wave before departing

This year instead of reprising our Okutama two-day adventure, we decided to try Miura Kaigan, past Yokohama and Yokosuka, near the tip of the Miura Peninsula.

The route was mostly flat, with some climbs (and lots of tunnels) in the final 10km. More importantly, though, it was almost all urban riding. The final 10, hilly, kilometers were more rural, but still not very scenic. It was just climb up to the tunnel, descend, climb up to the next tunnel. Tomo was taking her time on the climbs, but she was getting to the top every time, not having to resort to getting off and pushing.

When we finally arrived at our destination, there was a steep descent off the prefectural highway on a concrete road pock-marked with anti-skid features. We were all thinking the same thing: Tomorrow we have to climb back up this!

The hotel offered a nice view of the sunset over the sea, but I didn’t take any photos. After 80km of riding, we just wanted the bath and then dinner. After dinner we watched the latter half of the Rugby World Cup finals in our room.

Mechanicals

I had met the Halfakid in the morning and then we proceeded to the Tamagawa cycling course. The toll from Typhoon #19 was evident here as we passed great mounds of mud and dead vegetation that had been cleared from the playing fields along the river banks. The cycling course itself was covered with mud and dirt in places, and in a couple of places the switchbacks leading under bridges were blocked off and we had to route around them.

At our first rest stop, the Halfakid noticed he was missing a screw from one of his cleats. I have spares — in my flat. As we didn’t have any way of dealing with things on the spot, we just shrugged and continued on. The Halfakid was able to clip in, and we didn’t give it much more thought.

When we left the cycling course at Rokugodote to meet Tomo, though, the Halfakid wasn’t able to free his shoe from the cleat. He ended up unlacing the shoe so he could pull his foot out! Tomo pointed out a cycle shop not far from where we’d met, back in the direction she’d come from, and we made our way there.

The shop doesn’t handle cleats and they didn’t have a spare screw to match, but they were able to free the shoe from the clip. So the Halfakid just asked them to remove the cleat from the shoe, and he stuck that in his pocket and rode the rest of the way with only one cleat.

That was our only issue until the final 10km of the day, where I found that my front derailleur wasn’t behaving again. As we were mostly climbing at this point, and just coasting on the descents, I didn’t worry about it. In the morning I spent a few minutes adjusting the cable tension and all was right once more.

Day 2

Our return trip indeed started off with the go up the steep, pockmarked street leading to the prefectural highway. Tomo had announced her intention from the start to simply push up this climb, while the Halfakid and I were determined to give it a go. It turns out to be a rise of 19m over a run of just 250m, for an average of less than 8%. It certainly seemed steeper than that! The Halfakid — with the steepest gears among the three of us — made it straight to the top, while I made it over the steeper portion and then had to take a rest with just a couple of dozen meters to go. I rested until Tomo (pushing her bike) had nearly reached me, and then pressed on to the top.

Once at the top, the Halfakid realized he hadn’t turned on his Garmin before starting, and so his effort up this climb hadn’t been recorded. And with that, he turned on the Garmin, descended back to the bottom, and climbed it again!

Three cyclists wave before departing
Preparing to depart

After that, we were on our way. As luck would have it, the climbs up to the tunnels were more gentle on the way home than they had been the first day. As we also knew our way around by this point, and weren’t led off on wild goose chases by the route I’d programmed into the GPS, the ride home was smoother sailing. We felt we were making better time, but at the same time we were racing the threat of rain, which was coming up on us fast.

We got to Yokohama without incident and stopped to rest and snack in the same park where we’d had lunch the day before. On our way from the park through Yokohama’s Minato Mirai, I realized I hadn’t been taking any pictures this trip and so I fired off a couple of snaps as we were waiting at a traffic light.

Yokohama Landmark Tower
Landmark Tower

It’s a straight and very level ride from Yokohama back to Tokyo and we made very good time apart from the traffic lights. We had a brief break at Rokugodote and said goodbye to Tomo. From there we were back on the Tamagawa cycling course, and the Halfakid rocketed ahead in the race against the rain. I caught up with him half an hour later where he was waiting at the end of Futagobashi bridge, and we crossed together and climbed up out of the Tamagawa valley. We had our last rest at the top of the climb.

The ride home after that was uneventful. We all made it home before the rain. Although our average speed on the return trip was slightly lower than on Day 1, our overall elapsed time was half an hour less as we spent less time faffing about Yokohama lost, while the GPS was telling us one direction and our common sense was telling us another. (In the end, our common sense proved to be correct. This time.)

All in all, we had a fun ride that everyone enjoyed. At the same time, everyone said they’d prefer to go back to Okutama next year.

GPS routes to and from Miura Kaigan
Miura Kaigan

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