I had a hard time deciding where to ride today. After rejecting a 7 a.m. departure that would set me up for a round trip of the entire Tamagawa cycling course, I set my sights on hitting the road at 9. I could get to Disneyland, which I’d missed on my last ride, or I could go to Kawagoe or to Tamagawa and just do the upstream leg. Yokohama was also an option.
After lots of hemming and hawing, I decided to give Tamagawa Sky Bridge another try. On my previous visit, I’d ridden up and down the length of the Soramunado Haneda Ryokuchi but failed to find the bicycle entrance to the bridge. Having consulted Google Street View, I was now confident I could find the ramp up to the bridge.
It was just 3C when I set out, but the roads were pleasantly dry following last night’s heavy snowfall. There were some small patches of ice on Futagobashi, but the traffic was light enough that I had no trouble avoiding them. I reached the Futako cycling course and turned downstream — and into the wind.
I usually stop at the Former Anamori Inari Shrine and have lunch there before returning home, but this time I continued on without stopping. The ramp up to the bridge was just where I’d expected it from Google Street View, and I was soon taking a break at the highest point of the Tamagawa Sky Bridge, with Haneda and Tokyo Bay in one direction and Tamagawa and Fujisan in the opposite direction.
I found a park almost immediately after crossing the bridge into Kanagawa Prefecture, and I sat down in the sun on a bench to feast on Nana’s world-famous onigiri. I checked the time, consulted Google Maps, and set out to find the cycling course that would take me back up the Tamagawa, this time on the Kanagawa side. It proved to be quite easy to find and led me directly up to the Rokugobashi, where I crossed back to the Tokyo side.
I had the wind at my back now and I continued upstream at a much faster pace than I’d managed downstream, with very little effort at all. I passed my usual resting place and continued until I’d reached the kawazuzakura trees, which were just beginning to bud.
I reached Futako just before 1 p.m. I still had water, but no more onigiri. I messaged Nana I would be home about 2. Then I noticed someone had left a couple of smartphones on the bench next to the one where I was sitting. I was just about to pick them up to take to the police box just up the road, when their owner came hurrying back to collect them. We spoke by gestures. These yours? Ah, yes, sorry. And then he said “Thank you” to me in English, although I hadn’t actually done anything.
The route back home was into the wind again. I had my headlight and taillight on as I passed under the shadow of high-rise buildings. The wind was strong enough at points that I was missing lights that I usually make.
But I had my eye on the distance more than the time. It’s usually just under 64km round trip for Haneda and back, and I was curious how much this new route would add. Garmie beeped to let me know I’d passed 55km, and I smiled, knowing I had more than 10km remaining. In the end I pulled up outside the tower at 1:45 with 67km on the clock.
On a moving time of 3:28:04, I’d averaged 19.3km/h — not bad considering the easy pace I was taking and the fight that the wind had given me. Other than that, the view from Tamagawa Sky Bridge and the return up the Kanagawa side of Tamagawa added some spice to a ride that I’ve otherwise done hundreds of times now.