A row of cherry trees with fading blossoms, alongside a paved course. There are many people and cyclists under the trees.

A little bit of Mary all night long

José said he would ride this weekend, after a break of a few months during which he was supposed to be training for a marathon. Given beautiful weather with scant wind, I decided to reprise the exploration of Edogawa that was cut short by a fierce headwind on the initial go.

I left home just after 8 with a plan to meet up with José at 9 at Nihonbashi. The weather was as beautiful as forecast, with no trace of wind. The only thing holding me back from my Nihonbashi appointment was the traffic lights.

I needn’t have worried. I arrived at 8:53 a.m. and sent José a photo to let him know I’d arrived. The answer came four minutes later: Whoops. Leaving house now. (He lives only three minutes away.)

Our route was east on Eitai Dori to the Arakawa, across the river on the usual bridge, then south to Kasai Rinkai park before continuing northeast along the Kyu-Edogawa. When I did this in early March, I was fighting the wind as I continued up the river, in addition to learning a new route. This time I knew where I was going, and there was no wind holding us back.

We hit the confluence with the Edogawa at 10:50 and continued upriver. The lack of a headwind was a welcome change from the month-earlier ride. My plan was to continue upriver until noon, and then head back (and look for a lunch spot). As always with the first time on an unfamiliar route, there were several false starts and turnings back, particularly with switchbacks which took us under the many bridges across the Edogawa.

At the 10:50 mark, Garmie was telling me it was roughly 10km to the next turning, and I thought this might be the Nagareyama Bridge which would take us into Chiba. I’d set that as the goal for turning around. Instead, 10km came and went and we were still continuing along the river’s western bank. At least the course was wide and smooth, and the view was good.

Finally, we took a break about 11:30 and José requested that we turn back. I happily agreed, and we reversed course to head back downstream in search of a shaded bench area to enjoy some of Nana’s world-famous onigiri.

There was a very slight headwind as we continued back towards Disneyland — nothing that would really hold us back. As this was my second time on the Kyu-Edogawa, I was familiar with the course and had a good idea how long the return would take us.

Views of Tokyo Disney Resort across a wide expanse of river: Cinderella's castle, the mountain peek of Adventure Land, and the renaissance style of the resort hotel.
Magically nearing the end

After a brief kerfuffle in Kasai Rinkai park, we stopped again for the last of the onigiri, and then crossed the Arakawa again, westward towards home this time. I waved José into the lead and followed him back towards Nihonbashi.

After a hastily waved farewell, I continued alone up Kudanzaka to Budokan. I took only one quick snap to let Nana know where I was, and told her I’d be stopping at the bike shop near Shiba Koen on the way home.

A bicycle leans against an iron banister with a stone pillar, through which are visible several cherry trees with wilting blossoms, and pedal boats on a castle moat.
Chidorigafuchi, of course

I could have asked Garmie the most direct route to Shiba Koen, but I preferred to stick to the route I knew. Part of the reason: I was hoping to clear 100km for the day, which I haven’t done since February, and with the most direct route I might fall short of that goal.

Baby don’t you do me this way

I found the shop easily enough. I’d brought my saddle, complete with the broken bits, to have it serviced.

The first salesman tried to tell me they didn’t service Brooks, and then waved me to a second salesman. He also looked at me with some scepticism at first, until I insisted I’d written to describe the problem, and I’d received a response saying that a fix was available. Then he was all solicitousness. He soon found a record of the e-mail conversation and asked if I was happy with the quotation given. (I wouldn’t say I’m happy, but I’m willing to accept it.)

Finally, after I’d filled out a form, he told me it might be two weeks. (The e-mail response had said one week.) I said that was fine. He confirmed that my phone number is correct (my handwriting is awful). Then he walked me to the door and asked what sort of bike the saddle had come from. I pointed out the door to Kuroko. “That’s the one. I’ve got a C15 on it now.” “Oh, a Cambium.” “That’s right — but it’s really hard.”

It was 3:27 p.m. I messaged Nana that I’d be home about 4:30-5 and set off. Again, I could have asked Garmie for the shortest route, but I was happy to use the route I was already familiar with. It turned out to be quite direct. I was pleased to note I still had some oomph in my thighs, even if I was getting slower and slower on the little hills along the way masquerading as climbs. I got home by 4:20, messaged Nana that I was back, and then took my time parking the bike and collecting all the odds ‘n’ ends. Garmie was reminding me that the Di2 battery was low, and I remembered to remove it and bring it up to the flat for charging.

GPS record of bike ride
A little bit of Mary all night long

As it happened, we had turned around about 6km before the Nagareyama Bridge, or 18-19km before Lake Teganuma. I’ve plotted this as a possible one-night stay for a future ride, which would make a ride each way of just about 70km.

I was pleased to get in a 100km ride (with the detour to the shop for the saddle repair). Today’s ride was not about speed but distance, pushing the Edogawa route further, and getting José back on the bike after an absence of several months. Still, on a moving time of 5:36:15 I averaged 19.5km/h, and I’m happy with that.


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