Last year I read an article about cycling the length of Kanda River at a time when I was racking my brain to try and come up with a new Tokyo cycling challenge. In some ways I didn’t think it sounded as interesting as my previous rides so I thought it best to do it during the limited cherry blossom season to make it a more picturesque and enjoyable experience. It is that time in Tokyo right now and it already seems like the sunny days are over so I was left with pretty much no choice to do it yesterday (April 8th) when it was a very cloudy, windy day. My mate Matt pulled out of it a couple of days before and there was a pretty large earthquake the night before (at 7.1 magnitude it was a huge one but not as big as ‘the one’ on 11th March) but none of that put me off!
On paper this looked like being one of my easier bicycle rides as what could be difficult about just following a river for about 25km! However, when you have to account for very windy conditions; lots of people; bumpy paths; crossing roads; dead-ends; dogs and kids straying from their owners and parents; construction work; bends and a slightly buckled wheel all amid one of the worlds busiest cities its not such plain sailing.
The sun is actually shining a little when I leave my house in North Tokyo at 07:30 but that soon disappears behind the clouds and the strong winds make it quite difficult to control the bicycle at times as I make my way along a couple of very big, long roads. The only incident worthy of note is when some stupid woman wearing a visor hat appears out of the blue cycling towards me whilst she’s on the wrong side of the road (this is sadly a common thing in Tokyo and it really does my head in) and with cars speeding past my shoulder I can’t exactly swerve out of the way so I have to slam on the breaks. She offers no apology and cuts on to the path leaving me wanting to swear at her in Wayne Rooney style! There are a load of school-kids on the pavement so I bite my tongue not that they would understand anyway! It took me longer than expected to get to the starting point on the Sumida-gawa in Taito-ku very close to the sumo arena. It is just before 9am when I cross back over Ryogoku Bridge and begin to follow the Kanda River which commences at the green bridge seen in the picture below left.
‘Cycling Kanda River In One Day’ can be seen here.