Good thing it wasn’t windy

Three cycles leaning against flowerbed at Tokyo Disney Resort

‘Cuz that woulda sucked

The Halfakid and his Tomo showed up on our doorstop this morning, and we rode out together to Tokyo Disneyland. I’d done a good job of planning this ride because the Halfakid had to leave home and hour and a half before I did, and meanwhile the temperature had risen from 0 degrees to a balmy 4C. (I’ve cleverly made similar plans for next weekend.)

Two cyclists in front of sign for the Arakawa river
At the Arakawa

It’s just a straight go through city traffic to the Arakawa river. We had a short break at a convenience store and then set off down the river, with a strong tailwind to push us along. We made good time with the help of the wind, averaging 27-29km/h on the 5km splits despite the road furniture and clueless pedestrians.


Screenshot of Messenger conversation
Conversation at 30km/h

We arrived at Shinsuna, where the Arakawa empties into Tokyo Bay, at 11 a.m. We were making very good time.

Bicycle in front of signs and river
At the bay

Bicycles leaning against fence in front of river and bridge
View of the bay from Shinsuna

Disneyland

After a few minutes taking pictures, we backtracked to the Kiyosunao Bridge and crossed the Arakawa. We were soon speeding downwind again until we reached the edge of the bay, where we turned east and headed towards Disneyland. On the way we passed through Kasairinkai Park, and we were shocked to see how many people were crowding in, particularly around the Starbucks.

The wind added to the challenge of climbing the walkways to reach the edge of Tokyo Disney Resort. We stopped for a couple of snaps and then decided to move on as a larger group of cyclists arrived (including one who we’d seen behaving recklessly on the Arakawa).

Three cycles leaning against flowerbed at Tokyo Disney Resort
The Three Mouseketeers

Lamppost marking Nihonbashi
Nihonbashi

From there we backtracked a few kilometers, fighting into the wind, to our usual lunch spot. We feasted on Nana’s world-famous onigiri as well as convenience store fried chicken and cakes. We spent the better part of an hour over lunch (including the time taken to reach the convenience store and get to the lunch spot in the park), and so it was nearing 1 p.m. when we set out again for home.

We continued battling the wind and dodging traffic as we proceeded westward into Tokyo. En route to the palace we made a very brief stop at Nihonbashi for a quick snap before proceeding.

Traffic near the palace was moving fast and thick, as usual on a Sunday. We bided our time patiently at three traffic lights in a row before turning to loop around the Chidorigafuchi moat and pay a short visit to Budokan.

Bicycle in front of green moat water
Kuroko at Chidorigafuchi

Tayasumon Gate
Tayasumon Gate, the entrance to Budokan

From Budokan, it’s only 7km home. My thighs were aching even though the ride is not particularly challenging. The Halfakid and Tomo had a further 27km to go after leaving me at home, and they were anxious to get going. We left Budokan behind us and went through some up-down around Hanzomon before emerging on a flat run to Yotsuya and Shinjuku. It was all city traffic by this point, and we had to temper our desire to fly home with a dose of traffic awareness. At last we passed in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Buildings (where I received an automated warning for rushing a crosswalk against the light) and descended past Central Park to home. I messaged Nana that I was home, less than five-and-a-half hours after leaving, and she responded with a welcoming, “Already?”

GPS record of bicycle ride
Good thing it wasn’t windy

In transit, with bike

I flagged the first taxi I saw, and then the driver and I spent the next five minutes struggling to get the bike in. The bag was too wide for the trunk, so in the end we got it in the rear seat on a slant, with one window open.

On my return I’ll have to try and get one of those taxis that looks like a London cab.

At Shinjuku Bus Terminal I discovered my bus was leaving from 3F (instead of 4F as expected). It was a direct to Haneda International Terminal, without stopping at the domestic terminals. There were two of us aboard.

At Haneda I wasted 10 minutes struggling with the check-in kiosk. At first I had the wrong airline, and then it wasn’t reading my passport. When I finally entered all the info, it simply said it couldn’t check me in.

I sighed and got in line.

Once I got to the counter, everything went smoothly. The clerk measured the bike bag and said it was just within the limit. I was able to check my duffel bag as well, after removing the batteries, and there was no charge.

I followed a worker with my bike bag to the oversize luggage security check. There the workers cooperated to lift the rubber curtain on the X-ray machine to get the bag inside. It went through with about 1cm to spare.

If they put me on a 737, I’m bailing…

Welcome to Beijing

International transfer is still a question of finding some rather hidden signs. Parts of the process have been automated, and a very nice man helped me when the machine didn’t like my boarding pass.

After that it was still the line snaking behind a stairwell that I remember from three years ago. And then at security, a shock: they confiscated one of my batteries because the capacity was not shown. After I basically asked ‘Really?’ for the third time, I was led to a polite person who simply repeated the policy to me in English.

Bye-bye, battery. It wasn’t a cheap one, either. But I think I’ll be OK without it.

The signs before security did not say a thing about removing batteries from your bag, with the result that most bags had to be scanned repeatedly.

Air China airplane at gate with control tower and rising sun in background
Welcome to Beijing

All good things must come to an end, even nine-hour layovers in Beijing. Boarding for London next.

Oh, boy. Another A330. No elbow room.

Confirmation bias

It never fails: whenever there are kids (about kindergarten through upper elementary) walking or playing along my bike route, whether it’s a cycling course or a public street, they’ll look and see me coming, wait, and then … suddenly dash across my path the moment I’m within lethal range.

This is probably an example of confirmation bias. I’m sure there are times I encounter children on my rides where they don’t behave like this.

In fact, it’s clearly confirmation bias, because I can note at least two frequently occurring situations which don’t match this pattern; to wit:

  • There are times children dash across directly in front of me without having first waited until I get within range; and
  • There are numerous adults who start across the street or path in front of me, turn and see me coming, and … continue to step right in front of me.
Morning and evening commute
Morning and evening commute

Meanwhile, I didn’t go seeking out hill climbs during today’s commute. But on the plus side, there were no mechanicals, either. (The front derailleur still needs to be adjusted, but it’s working fine.)