A two-story wooden Japanese temple gate on the left side of the picture, with pink and red azaleas covering a steep hill on the right. There are several people in front of the gate, one carrying a parasol. There are green leafy trees and more azaleas filling the picture behind the gate, with blue sky above.

Azaleas and Saddle Repair

I had two goals for yesterday’s ride (apart from just getting out on the bike): get in at least 50km (to bring my monthly total to 400km) and to pick up my Brooks saddle from the shop where I’d taken it for repair.

I last visited Tōgaku-in in 2022. On that occasion the roads to the temple had been packed with traffic and the experience was not very pleasant overall (quite apart from the wind and the leaky tire).

I got a late start after a visit to the barber in the morning, and before I set out I straightened the handlebars that I’d managed to get askew the last time I adjusted them. The skies were bright blue, there was very little wind, and it wasn’t nearly as hot as I’d feared.

Rather than ride straight to Futako — the launching point to visit Tōgaku-in — I took the more westerly course to Komae. This gave me 5 or 6km on the Tamagawa cycling course, which was to be my only time out of traffic for the day.

At Futako I loaded the route to Tōgaku-in on the Garmie and proceeded into Kanagawa. The traffic was quite a bit better this time around, although there’s still a bad spot at the railroad crossing where the road is barely wide enough to allow a single line of pedestrians on either side of the automobile traffic — much less accommodate a handful of impatient cyclists.

It was about 1:20 when I left Tōgaku-in, and I was starting to worry I might not get home before 5. I reached the usual park in Futako at 1:52, drank the last of my water and continued on after a very brief rest. There’s probably a shorter way to get from Futako to Shiba Koen, my next stop, but I’m familiar with the route via home, and I figured I had enough time for that and it would add to my kilometers.

I didn’t record the time I arrived at the shop, but it took less than 10 minutes to pay for the saddle and get on my way again at 3:26. I stopped immediately for a bottle of Pokari and a hotdog, and sat down in the park for a brief break before continuing.

After a glance at the time, I messaged Nana I’d be home about 4:30, “I think,” and set out one last time into traffic.

Tokyo Tower, a tall steel girder structure painted in red and white horizontal bands, rising above leafy green trees.
Tokyo Tower through the leaves

I’d had a splitting headache from the bright sun since leaving Tōgaku-in, and was generally fatigued. On the way home I took every possible opportunity to get off the saddle, stretch my neck and shoulders, and otherwise relax. I didn’t suffer any issues other than soreness and fatigue, in addition to stupid drivers and stupider cyclists. I arrived home at 4:26 and hurried up to the shower.

GPS record of bicycle ride
Azaleas and Saddle Repair

On a moving time of 3:27:09, I averaged 19.3km/h. I’d made an effort to keep the breaks short, but with 60km out of the 66km total being in traffic, and the time spent at the temple and the bike shop, my total elapsed time was 1 hour 18 minutes longer.

The 66km for the day put me satisfactorily over 400km — as well as 400 minutes of activity — for April. I got additional badges for exceeding 40km on the weekend and for riding during Golden Week.

I’m very pleased to have my saddle back in working condition. I’ll have it back on the bike for a ride later this week.

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One response to “Azaleas and Saddle Repair”

  1. […] get in much cycling anyway. But meanwhile there were a couple of things still to do: reinstall the Brooks saddle I picked up last week from the repair, and change the front […]

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