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The morning of the second day of the Bike Friday Meeting in Japan 2003 started with rain. Kataoka-san planned to not ride this day, but have a session indoors to demo Bike Friday's new gadgets such as a re-designed suitcase, and a new folding system.
As we eat breakfast, the rain stops and the sky though still cloudy turns bright. Some people want to ride, but others have decided that they will stay off their bikes for the day.
Kataoka-san suggests that everyone split into 3 groups today... those who will go for a short hill climb up to Kumano Jinja(shrine), those who will stroll around Karuizawa town on their bikes, and those who will stroll around on foot.
The hotel management kindly allowed us to bring our bikes indoors for the night. This is "The Hotel Lobby -ala- Bike Friday"
Some strange ways to park bicycles...upside down ! :-)
FYI...The black Sat-R-Day owned by "Man"-san is the first Sat-R-Day to come in to Japan.
Alan-san's Air Friday....very beautiful one with some one-off gimicks !
As people prepared to go out cycling, I proposed a shot of all the Sat-R-Days that gathered. A total of 9 Sat-R-Days posed for a picture.
Then....everyone joined in for a shot !
"(Ta)" and "(A)" joined the "Kumano-Jinja short hillclimb" group. Just as we left the hotel, deep fog started to sink in on our path.
My Sat-R-Day has a new Bike Friday head badge today...a special gift Alan-san brought for us ! The yellow badge and mignight blue frame color is a best-match.
The ride to Kumano-Jinja is a short hill climb up the "Kyu(old)- Usui Touge(pass)", and is about a 10Km ride. As we ascend, the fog becomes deeper.
The route is straight and simple, with no worry to get lost. Everyone spreads out and climbs at his/her own pace. Alan-san and Nakamura-san lead the pack, zipping ahead while others climb slowly, chatting and taking it easy.
Wasn't that hard...the top of the hill and Kumano Jinja appears from inside the fog.
The sign reads "Kumano Jinja...Usui Touge"
Kumano Jinja is located right ON the prefecture boundary line of Gunma and Nagano. The white tile "(Ta)"-san is jumping
across is the boundary line, with Nagano on the left and Gumna on the right.
Jumping from prefecture to prefecture in a single step !
A shot of "(A)" and "(Ta)"-san, with Alan.
Across the road from the shrine is a rest place..."Tea house on top the Pass". One of the reasons to climb to this place is
to eat the delicious rice cakes..."Chikara(Power) Mochi (rice cakes)" served here.
Alan-san's first try at Japanese rice cakes covered with sweetend beans, soy powder, daikon with soy sauce, walnuts, and black sesame.
It got colder as we started our downhill, but everyone was prepared with warm clothing.
We took a different route downhill, which took us to Kyu(old)-Karuizawa Ginza, kinown as the "Harajuku" of Karuizawa. We ran through many shops and many people, we seemed to be quite a show to everyone, with several Sat-R-Days and Air series Bike Fridays in a bunch.
Back to Hotel Lady-Bird. It was past 1pm, and near the end of the meeting.
The other groups also looked like they had a good time, strolling around Kruizawa and going to a nice (and famous ?) coffee shop.
After everyone joined together, Kataoka-san wrapped up the meeting, and Alan-san's "I'll be Back...." in a Schwarznegger-tone invited a big round of applause.
Hunger comes after we ride...After the meeting came to a close, "(Ta)"-san and "(A)", along with several people went to eat at an Italian place; "La Luce".
"Ozashiki-Italian"....Italian served in a Japanese style table (on tatami), that is.
I should of taken a picture of the "Ozashiki", instead of the menu :-(
After the meal, several people who planned to run the Usui Pass downhill to Yokokawa-Station and take the train from there gathered and prepared for one last run of the day.
It was getting dark, cold, and the road wet from the occasional rain.
we wished them a safe trip back home, while we paked our Sat-R-Days back in the car for our drive back to Tokyo.
A big word of thanks to Kataoka-san who hosted the meeting, Alan-san and Ruthy-san for coming over for the meeting, the people who helped out, and everyone who participated for such a great time !
Canon IXY DIGITAL 400