Long time no Kawasaki Daishi

Main Hall of Kawasaki Daishi

Maintenance before the start

Before I could ride today, I had to take care of a couple of small mechanical issues that arose during last week’s ride to Takaosan: some adjustment of the rear derailleur, and a strange noise that cropped up late in the ride. So my first step was to bring Kuroko up to the Workshop in the Sky and have a look.

Detail of bicycle casette and rear drop-out showing protruding bolt head
You again!

As soon as I got the bike into the stand, I could see the problem: one of the bolts that I’d just installed and tightened a week ago was sticking out far enough to rub against the chain and derailleur. I’ve been dealing with this issue as long as I’ve had Kuroko, and this past week I’ve been trying to get in touch with the manufacturer (with no success).

(The larger, silver bolt sticking out on the opposite side is for the pannier rack, which is currently not installed. If I screw the bolt all the way in without the rack, it interferes with the derailleur. I’ve had no issue with it sticking out, and the fit is tight enough that it’s not going anywhere — unlike with the derailleur hanger bolts.)

Loctite, pliers, hex wrench, bolt and nuts on floor
Nuts to that!

The bolts I installed a week ago stick through to the other side of the derailleur hanger, so that gives me enough thread to fit nuts on the end of each one. Even with the wheel removed, it’s a very tight fit for my fat fingers, but in the end I was able to get a nut on each bolt, with Loctite, and tighten it down.

Detail of rear derailleur mounting showing four nuts on bolt ends
That should hold?

That done, it was just a matter of a minute or two to adjust the rear derailleur cable tension, and that took care of the shifting issue. I ran through the gears a few times until I was satisfied everything was working. The final bit of pre-flight maintenance was to check the disk brake pads (all fine) and the tire pressure (added a few PSI to the rear).

Just a short one today

Between the delay for the maintenance (I didn’t want to start too early in the morning because the neighbor’s dog starts barking if I make noise out in the Workshop in the Sky) and an iffy tummy in the morning, I decided on a short ride today. I set out down the Tamagawa towards Haneda. As soon as I started riding I felt strong. I stopped after about 22km for the first of Nana’s world famous onigiri, and was soon back on the bike.

As I passed under Gas Bashi, I noticed there was a newly paved path down at the foot of the levee. I usually ride on the top of the levee here, but I worked my way down to the new pathway. Very smooth, wide pavement. The section of the cycling course this replaces isn’t the one most in need of maintenance currently, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

Soon after, Haneda hove into view, with Kawasaki Daishi Bridge just in front of it. When I saw the bridge and recalled the name, I realized I hadn’t been to visit Kawasaki Daishi itself in a couple of years at least. I quickly changed my plans and turned off the cycling course for the bridge.

Kawasaki Daishi

I knew all I had to do was cross over the bridge into Kawasaki, continue along the main road for a bit and then turn right. The question, after all this time, was where to turn. I turned just one intersection early and ended up faffing about for a bit before finally consulting Google Maps. As often happens in these circumstances, I’d passed quite near my goal twice before finally getting on the right heading.

Portion of GPS record showing rider wandering about, lost
Faffing about

Once back on course, I recognized the way immediately. Soon I was walking Kuroko down the row of sweets shops leading up to the main gate, listening to the candy makers hammering their knives against the cutting boards to attract business.

Row of candy shops and octogonal five-story pagoda
Row of candy shops and octogonal five-story pagoda

The bike rack was just where I remembered it, and I locked up Kuroko while I took a brief stroll inside the temple for some snaps.

Main gate and pagoda
Main gate and pagoda

Giant lantern in the main gate
Giant lantern in the main gate

Main Hall of Kawasaki Daishi
Main Hall of Kawasaki Daishi

Two of the Four Heavenly Kings guarding the main gate
Two of the Four Heavenly Kings guarding the main gate

Lunch and return

After retrieving Kuroko from the bike stand, I continued on a few dozen meters to the large park nearby, where I sat down in the shade of a large tree and enjoyed more mentaiko onigiri.

Bicycle leaning against large tree trunk
Thank you, tree, for holding my bike

After lunch I didn’t have any trouble making my way back across the bridge and picking up the cycling course on my way home. I still felt strong and was pushing the pedals at every opportunity. I’d switched the Garmin to navigation view while flailing about in search of Kawasaki Daishi, and I left it that way on my return. I determined not to worry about my pace but just to keep pedaling. The tactic certainly worked as I spent less time paying attention to the Garmin and more on where I was going (especially because I knew the route well).

Back at Nikotama, I crossed the river into Tokyo and climbed up out of the Tamagawa valley. At the top I took a brief rest in a park, sipped some water, and messaged Nana that I would be home in about an hour. I made good time through traffic after that and was home after only 45 minutes.

GPS record of cycle route
Long time no Kawasaki Daishi

Trouble-free ride

I’m very pleased to note there were no mechanical issues on today’s ride following my morning maintenance. The shifting was flawless for the whole ride. And when I parked Kuroko in the basement I checked the derailleur hanger once again, and all the nuts and bolts were snug.

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