*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Best bike commuting route.

Sigh... This route sucks at the end.  For no accountable reason the bridge at the end of it, besides being a hell of a climb for my fixed-gear, has terrible pavement: think swimming in molasses.  Going through Sunamachi to avoid that last bridge I have done: busy and narrow - Japan.  I may quit this after all.

I'd given up on commuting by bike in Tokyo, because my route took me through the heart of the city, and even if Tokyo drivers are better than Toronto's, that's some faint praise.  It's a numbers game: cycle with enough drivers, no matter how skilled some are, aware the cyclist is, or lucky, you're going to go down.  How many times can you go down and get hurt as little as I did?

The other thing about Tokyo cycling is that even when it isn't dangerous, it's stressful and unpleasant: treeless, narrow, crowded and full of long lights.  This was my old route, though the two ends of the route are intentionally misleading for the sake of privacy.  There's just no way to make that ride pleasant, and I tried many minor alterations.

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If only, I'd long thought, I could use the bike path down the Arakawa, go through Odaiba with its wider roads, and over the 'Rainbow Bridge' back to the mainland, avoiding the crush of downtown.

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However, that bridge, and the road tunnels to the south of it, are closed to bicycle traffic.  The bridge has a pedestrian level built too narrow to accommodate bikes safely, because stupid: there are tens of thousands who use that bridge by car, bus and the Yurikamome line, and tens of thousands who live on the landfill side of it.  Oh, it's not open mornings until nine.  But there must be a ferry, right?  The ferries don't like bikes at rush hour, and the best choice is not that frequent and leaves me at Hinode Pier after a slow puttering.  No.

So give up.  Arististhenes is nothing if not a stubborn bastard: 'multi-modal'.  I ride down the Arakawa, and take the Rinkai line from its first stop where I don't get a seat, but neither am I as sardined as on my regular trains.  I leave the bike in Shin-Kiba for 100y, get it back the same route on the way home, and it still costs me a bit less and takes only an extra quarter hour for getting almost 50km of ride in, return.

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Did it the other day and it went off without any bigger hitch than my preferred bridge was under construction, and there's no shelter along the river from afternoon northerlies.  This is going to become a habit.


  1. Nice work. Now all you need somewhere cheap/free to freshen up and shower at Shin Kiba and you are sorted.

    1. Funny I hadn't thought of that. It's an industrial area so there isn't much. Anyway, I'll be able to ride below my sweating threshold as I won't have to race ahead of twats at every light so they don't try to bully me to the gutter.

    2. There's a bunch of sports facilities the north side of the station, but both public and private ones aren't open until nine, because Japan.