Two men in cycling jerseys and glasses, one wearing a baseball cap. Tokyo Skytree is rising at an angle in the background, against a cloudy sky.

Windy Round with Joe

After years of saying, “Yes, we should really do that!” Fearless Leader Joe finally came to Tokyo to spend a day riding with me. There are several rides he’s expressed interest in doing, but he was clear on the first one: Tokyo Landmarks.

I watched the forecast in the days leading up to the ride. At one point it looked like we might have rain in the afternoon. But then the forecast improved, and when we set out this morning it was under grey skies but little chance of rain. Unfortunately, the wind was determined to make up for that lack of adversity.

It took just a minute to raise Dionysus’s saddle to a height more appropriate for Joe, and to remind him how the 1X trigger shifter works. Then it was another minute to force Garmie to reboot after he wouldn’t respond to the command to start recording the ride.

Our next stop — after a pause for a photo at the Diet building (not shown) — was Shiba Koen, with Tokyo Tower in the background. FLJ hadn’t brought a bidon and so spent some time topping up from the park fountain before we continued.

The usual route from the palace was blocked by a large matsuri, so we made a quick detour before continuing along the Yomiuri Shimbun head office, through the financial district to the Bank of Japan. From there our path led across town to the edge of Ginza, and then a turn towards the bay to take us past Tsukiji, Rainbow Bridge and finally to Tokyo Big Sight, where we sat down to enjoy some of Nana’s world-famous onigiri: mentaiko, furikake and tororo kombu.

Leaving Big Sight behind, we encountered our third Mario Cart-type tour of the day before heading back towards Toyosu and then Tomioka Hachiman Shrine, the claimed birthplace of sumo. We turned north again and, after about 600 red lights, reach Sakura Bridge over Sumida River, and stopped for photos with Tokyo Skytree.

We discussed visiting the famous shrine at Asakusa and decided it would be too crowded. Instead we continued on to Ueno Park, Tokyo University and Tokyo Dome before stopping at a convenience store for more water and a Snickers.

At 3:06 p.m. I messaged Nana from Budokan that we would be home about 4-4:30. Traffic was not bad on the way home, although the wind remained strong, and we parked the bikes at 3:47.

GPS record of bicycle ride
Windy Round with Joe

We spent a bit more time stopping for photos and chatting than I do when I’m alone, naturally, and we were fighting the wind all day — particularly when it came time to climb Kudanzaka to Budokan. Based on a moving time of 3:20:30, I averaged 18.3km/h. Overall, it was a good ride and I enjoyed showing Fearless Leader Joe the sights.

Today’s ride earned me the 200K badge, for 200km ridden in May (so far). I got the 400-minute badge yesterday during my commute.

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