Bicycle in front of Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery, Meiji Jingu Gaien


Following yesterday’s tune-up I was really hoping for a mechanical-free ride today. Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but I nearly got my wish.


As usual after a maintenance session, I carried Kuroko from the Workshop in the Sky to the elevator and hence down to the bicycle parking in the basement. From there I take a special bicycle elevator up to the ground floor. Today, there was a security guard waiting for me at the ground floor. He said I’m not supposed to take my bicycle on the regular elevator from our 33F aerie down to the basement: I should use the freight elevator. That’s fine — preferable, even — but the freight elevator is always locked. So he told me I should call the disaster preparedness center (aka the security office) when I want to transport my bike, and they’ll unlock the freight elevator for me.

All well and good, but a rather inauspicious start to the ride today.

Iffy weather

Preliminaries out of the way, I loaded up my Tokyo Landmarks route on the Garmin and set out. The sky was grey and threatening, but there wasn’t much rain and it wasn’t too cold. I had my fingers crossed (not literally) for a nice, relaxing ride without having to invoke Rule #9.

The front shifter did give me a couple of bad boy moments, pretty much right off the bat, but I was able to employ the workaround I’d discovered yesterday to get up onto the larger chainring when I needed it. I’m going to have to have a good look at the shifter and try to sort this out on a permanent basis. (I can start with the one that I previously removed from Kuroko.)

Other than that the ride went smoothly, and I reached Meiji Jingu Gaien almost before I knew it.

Bicycle in front of Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery, Meiji Jingu Gaien
Meiji Jingu Gaien

The better part of valor?

Tokyo Tower viewed through plum blossoms
Tokyo Tower with ume

From the park my route winds around to take me past Akasaka Palace and then through Akasaka Mitsuke to the Imperial Palace and Diet Building. I got into traffic here and went up onto the sidewalk to get around the construction that was causing all the congestion.

After some brisk climbing, I passed through Roppongi and descended to Shiba Koen, where I took a break to take stock and top up my water bottle. I sent a photo to Nana to let her know my progress, and she told me that the weather was getting worse. I weighed my options for a couple of moments and decided to return home rather than try to complete the route and get caught in a sudden rain.

Heading back the way I came, I didn’t bother to try to turn off the Garmin navigation. So it was beeping every few seconds to let me know I was off course and telling me to turn make a U-turn. Fortunately I knew the route home quite well. Turn onto Gaien Higashi and pass Roppongi and then Midtown until I’m back at Meiji Jingu, and from there retrace my route home.

Along the way there was no change in the weather, and I arrived home without having experienced more than a scattering of drops all day. I pulled up to the tower entrance and pushed the button on the Garmin to save my ride, then pulled out my phone to let Nana know I was home.

Up the elevator (after having left Kuroko in the basement parking) and into the shower. When I cleaned up and dressed, I went to the Garmin site and discovered … I hadn’t recorded the ride! I thought the Garmin had been behaving differently, but I put it down to a recent software update. (And it was giving me navigation the entire time.) So after heaving a sigh, I set out to recreate my jaunt via MapMyRide, and I came up with a grand total of 26km for the day.

Hand plotted route map of Tokyo
Today’s curtailed route

In sum, I was pleased with Kuroko’s performance, although I’m determined to do something about that front shifter in the long term. The burgeoning rain did not materialize by the end of my ride, and in fact the weather cleared up somewhat by the time I got home. With my luck, if I hadn’t turned around the heavens might have opened up.

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