The Dinosaur Bridge (恐竜橋, officially the Tokyo Gate Bridge) is visible from Kasai Rinkai Park, through which I often pass on my way to Tokyo Disney Resort. But I didn’t have any idea how to approach it until I saw a rider post photos in a facebook group I’m a member of for Japanese fans of steel-framed (chromoly) bicycles. The rider included a screenshot of his ride, and with that and a lot of cross-checking with Google Street View, I was able to piece together the route.
I’ve been riding the Arakawa more frequently than even the Tamagawa these days, although it’s been a while since I’ve got to the river by the most direct route, right up Yamate Dori to Toda Bridge. The day was cloudy and bright, and I stopped at a convenience store just before the river to stock up on carbohydrates. As expected during rainy season, the cycling course on the river was covered in puddles, through which I boldly splashed. In less than 1km I was in the midst of a marathon. “Ride in the middle of the lane,” a marathon volunteer shouted as I passed, and I repeated it back to him. Times have changed — not much more than 10 years ago he would have assumed I didn’t understand Japanese.
I stopped for a convenience store hotdog at the 11km mark, near Horikiri train station, and was soon back on the road. At the end of the course at Shinsuna, I stopped only long enough for a photo before backtracking to Kiyosuna Bridge. I stopped at the Seishin-cho North Green Space just the other side of the bridge for the lion’s share of the convenience store goodies. My stomach was full (for the moment), but also a bit more uneasy than it would have been with Nana’s world-famous onigiri.
I took just 15 minutes for lunch and then set out again downriver to Kasai Rinkai Park, then over the Maihama Ohashi to Tokyo Disney Resort. Again, I only stopped long enough for a photo, and to set the route in Garmie for the next bit, before setting off again.
It’s not at all obvious how to get to the pedestrian / cycle walk of the Arakawa Estuary Bridge, or indeed even that such a thing exists. Fortunately I’d done my homework and Garmie faithfully led the way. It’s a pity it was such a grey day the Tokyo Skytree was barely visible from the bridge.
At the foot of the bridge in Koto ward, I turned back on my course to join the Nonbiri Cycling route and cross under the bridge into Shinkibaryokudo Park. Mindful of the route’s name (meaning “laid back”) and the ample warnings about pedestrians, I kept my pace easy. The route offered ample views of the bay. Soon I was crossing over another bridge to Wakasu Park, where I continued along the shoreline until at last my goal hove into view: Dinosaur Bridge!
After pausing for photos and a water refill near the bridge, I was soon slowing to avoid families on the Nonbiri Cycling route. I came to a pavilion that serves as café and cycle rental spot, and slowed to a crawl in the pedestrian and cycling traffic. Not long after that, I was in the thick of a whole lot of industrial traffic as I rejoined the road and my way back to Eitai Dori.
Eitai Dori brings me to my usual route home, with a brief stop at Nihonbashi, then circling around the Imperial Palace for the climb up Kudanzaka and then another brief stop at Chidorigafuchi and the Tayasumon gate to Budokan. I didn’t stay long as it was 2:05 and I was eager to see if I could be home by 3, for a total ride time of 6 hours. I’d turned on my taillight when leaving Tokyo Disney Resort as it was gloomy and I’d be in traffic the rest of the way. I then turned on the headlight when I reached Eitai Dori. But by the time I got to Nihonbashi they were both dead. Only the smaller taillight on the rear stay was still blinking away happily, so with that one bit of precaution working for me, I sped on my way home.
My thighs felt tired from the start of the ride to the finish. I made good time down the Arakawa, and I picked up the pace on the way home after leaving the Nonbiri Cycling route despite a growing headache. I arrived home about 2:40, handily beating my goal of 3 p.m. On a moving time of 4:08:15, I averaged 20.1km/h. I had a shower and a beer and fell into a deep sleep for at least half an hour.