Bicycle rider selfie in black helmet, sunglasses and wearing a black mask. In the background are lines of people, shops and the tops of some trees.

Fujisan and Takaosan Dawdle

I had an easy-going ride on Sunday, setting out in single-digit temperatures (Celsius). Nana had not made any onigiri, so my first stop was at a convenience store for some food to keep me going throughout the day.

I’d replaced the disc brake pads on Saturday. The front pads, which had been squealing for a month or so, still had some thickness but the rears were getting quite thin. I started the ride with a lap around the block with some skidding stops to seat the new pads. The squealing was fixed and the brakes were working well, but I had a new issue which occurred repeatedly during the ride: the discs were rubbing against the pads. It would come and go and was driving me mad at times.

I’d also checked the chain: it still had plenty of life, so I cleaned and oiled it.

Bicycle leaning against an iron railing overlooking a river that extends up through the center of the photo. In the background, very small, is Fujisan's snowy peak under clear blue skies.
River to Fujisan?

I was wearing my new shoes for the first time as well. The fit is very good. The boa clasp system works too well — it’s easy to get them more snug than necessary, and I stopped a couple of times to loosen them up when my toes started going numb.

Fujisan was quite clear off to my left as I rode up the Tamagawa, and then, soon after turning on the Asakawa, it was dead ahead. It’s barely visible in the photo, thanks to the magic of smartphone optics, but it looked gigantic as I pedaled upstream.

I was heading for Takaosan, with the option of climbing Otarumi Touge. I was mentally counting off the reasons not to make the climb as I wandered up the river: my stomach was a bit unsettled and I’d set out a bit late — if I made the climb I might not get home until about 5 p.m. I finally talked myself out of the climb with the realization that I was enjoying the ride, and if I set myself the goal of climbing that would make a task out of the ride.

Finally, as I neared Takaosan, the crowds on the cycling course suddenly thickened as I came into a festival. I had to leave the course for the streets, which were also clogged with festival-going pedestrians as well as cars. I was lucky as I neared Takaosan Guchi that I could pass by the lines of cars idling in traffic.

Bicycle rider selfie in black helmet, sunglasses and wearing a black mask. In the background are lines of people, shops and the tops of some trees.
Can’t see a thing

I dismounted when I reached the street leading to the cable car entrance. It was far too crowded to attempt riding. When I reached the entrance I grabbed a quick shot: between the fogged glasses and bright sunshine, in my hurry to get the photo and get out I didn’t realize the cable car entrance wasn’t visible.

The ride home went much faster, once I’d cleared the crowds of festival-goers. I was riding into the wind at times, but as I was going downhill (however gradually) it balanced out.

That’s a new twist

I took my last rest in a park near the Tamagawa at 2:30, and messaged Nana I would be home between 3:30 and 4.

Bicycle leaning against a wooden railing with a small decorative waterfall in the background, amid shrubbery.
Nearly there

I hadn’t gone far into the traffic when my left cleat started playing up. I could only clip in my twisting my ankle so I was pigeon-toed. Unclipping also proved difficult. It was apparent the cleat had twisted in the sole.

I was making good time despite the awkward leg position, so I tried to ignore it for a few kilometers. It finally got to the point, though, were I was worried I wouldn’t be able to unclip, so I found a little park bench and got out the multitool. It took just a minute to undo the cleat, line it up properly, and tighten it again. I made sure to get it extra snug to avoid a repeat of the slipping.

GPS record of cycle ride
Fujisan and Takaosan Dawdle

With the time I’d spent searching out a park bench and adjusting the cleat, it took an hour from the park to home. I arrived at 3:30, but the clock had ticked up to 3:31 before I could message Nana that I was home. Based on a moving time of 5:12:54, I’d averaged 19.7km/h.

Strava coughed up two badges at the end of the ride: the Gran Fondo (a single ride of 100km) and the Cycling Challenge for completing 200km for the month.

Date18 November 2023
PartsBrake pads
Distance14,943km
Maintenance record

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