Bicycle leaning against sign saying "Shinsuna" in English and Japanese. In the background are a river and bridge, with a Ferris wheel visible behind the bridge. A cyclist clad in black is looking at his phone in the right of the photo.

Arakawa – Disney – Budokan

I got an early start yesterday, on the road before 8 with a couple of Nana’s world-famous onigiri in the bag. It was not quite 10C when I set out, with a forecast high of 17, so I wore shorts and regular (fingerless) gloves together with a long-sleeved jersey. I was sweating long before the temperature reached its high, so the clothing choice was not too light for the conditions.

For the first four or five kilometers along Yamate Dori, working my way in traffic up to the Arakawa, I couldn’t stop thinking about the bath and beer when I would get home. It wasn’t long though before I put those thoughts out of my mind (never completely, of course) and started to really enjoy the riding.

There was very little wind and nothing really noticeable about the traffic — neither heavy nor light for this main artery, and no construction of note. I reached the Arakawa in less than an hour, as usual, and was soon heading downstream on the cycling path.

I was feeling good overall, warm in the sun, riding without pushing. My hands and backside were a little more sore than usual, and I shifted around on my seat and changed hand positions often so I could continue riding. I stopped in the shade with 11km to go to the mouth of the river, and ate the first onigiri while I shook the feeling back into my fingers.

Bicycle on grass leaning against an irregularly shaped sign. The sign has painted fireworks in white and pink against a dark blue background, all outlined in white. The word "Arakawa" can be made out very faintly in alphabetical letters and hiragana.
A bit more faded each time

On the bike again, I wasn’t too disappointed to be passed when I saw how much younger and fitter the rider was — and the fact he was riding one of these added salve to the burn. I decided to satisfy karma by rapidly overtaking a little league soccer team as they pedaled along to their practice field.

By the time I reached Shinsuna at the mouth of Tokyo Bay, I was ready for another onigiri. I sat near the water’s edge and watched as a small poodle barked at a few waterfowl placidly paddling their way about the river.

After crossing over the river, I ran into construction, with traffic diverted off the cycling course. I continued on the street, in traffic, until I came to a ramp up to an elevated way for pedestrians and cyclists which took me back to my usual route to Disney. A few cyclists passed by as I took a photo by the fountain, but I was the only one who had stopped for pictures.

On the return trip I was expecting the detour, and just stayed on the road until I got to the usual convenience store, where I stocked up on a couple of hot dogs to supplement the onigiri to eat as I sat under the plum blossoms in a small park near the bridge.

As I recrossed the Arakawa into Koto Ward, the sky clouded over and the weather turned cold and windy. I stopped at the top of the bridge to message Nana I was on my way home and that the weather was changing. While I stopped I decided to get a photo of the flower message at the side of the cycling course below.

In the traffic of Eitai Avenue, an older, more fit rider passed me on his racing bike. “Good for him,” I thought. But after a couple of lights I caught up with him and then passed him when a bus blocked him against a parked car. After another light or two he fell in behind me, content to let me set the pace, while I was motivated by his presence to put more effort into the ride. We continued on this way until we had nearly reached Nihonbashi, as he turned off just a light or two before.

From Nihonbashi it’s a short sprint to Kudanzaka, and then I took my time working up the hill to Tayasumon at Budokan. The sun had come out again while the older gent and I were sparring in traffic, before I reached Nihonbashi, and at Budokan I relaxed for a moment, warming my shoulders as I drank some water. I checked the time and messaged Nana that I would be home by 1:30. But I made good time with the lights and finally messaged her at 12:53 that I was home, barely half an hour after leaving Budokan.

GPS record of bicycle ride
Arakawa – Disney – Budokan

For the most part I’d taken it easy on the ride, relaxing and enjoying the good weather rather than pushing for time. With a moving time of 3:41:21, I’d averaged 19.6km/h while on the go.

Fixed in preflight

I dealt with the only mechanical issue, if it can be called that, on Saturday night before the ride began. Garmie has been increasingly reluctant to get moving in the mornings, and often 1-3km have gone by before he starts recording. I did some searching and came across this post on Garmin’s user boards, so I gave that a go. When it came time to depart Sunday morning, Garmie fired right up and found the satellites within a couple of seconds. It’s probably too early to say the issue is completely fixed, but that’s a promising first result.

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