Lance Armstrong Would be Proud

Japan wakes me up in the morning. Tatamae gets me on the road every day. Natto has taught me the true meaning of sacrifice. Karaoke makes me suffer. Turner is the reason I’m here.

Loosely interpretted from Lance Armstrong’s words…

I’m afraid my trip to Mt. Fuji will have to be postponed until the next climbing season. Although I have no problem in particular with the weather, there are a few issues:

1. The bus schedule to and from Fuji during the off-season is sporadic at best. You cannot hope to get off the first bus, climb the mountain, and return in time to catch the last bus. No matter how good a climber you might be, it’s just impossible. With the temperature falling and having no desire to haul camping gear up the mountain, I will have to pass. It’s a shame, because I’m sure the trails will be uncrowded and the temperature ideal (for me, at least). However, if you have a car, I’d say go for it. In fact, if you’re willing to take me next weekend, I’ll cover gas.

2. I’m still consolidating debt from back home, and it’s not a good idea to dry out my American sources of money, with the exchange rate being as bad as it could be from Yen to dollars. ¥32,000 on the Shinkansen is somewhat pricely for one weekend of travel. If only I could get a rail pass…

Regardless, there are new adventure plans in the works: the Shimanami Bridges. These bridges connect two of Japan’s major islands, Honshu and Shikoku. In short, this is a 77 km (47.75 mile) cycling path ideal with great views, small Japanese towns with character, and a chance to travel across the largest suspension bridge in the world.

Shimanami Sea Road Cycling Guide
Bike Rental and Lodging Information
Japanese Site

Obviously I’ll be posting more information after the feat, but here are some useful tips I’ve researched beforehand:

– If you’re traveling from Onomichi to Imabari, take the ferry across the first bridge; there is only a very narrow cycling path.
– Bikes should be reserved one week beforehand, especially if you want a decent mountain bike. I’ve included a link to a popular rental shop.
– Tolls must be paid on every bridge, even though this is enforced by the honor system.

Sometimes, things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most — that people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything…

– If you want to travel all the way from Imabari to Matsuyama, it is another 40 km and along the highway as opposed to the bicycles-only path you’ve been following for almost fifty miles. Be wary.
– If you’re staying in Onomichi be sure to see Senko-ji Park (千光寺公園) and temple, situated on a fairly steep mountain. Onomichi is home to many popular udon and ramen shops. I’ve heard Shukaen (朱華園) is quite good.

More details on the bridges to be posted after the trip. The weather has turned for the best, and spirits are high. If you heroes keep reading, I will be eternally grateful, and may even slip you a little omiyage. Peace.