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This year's Bike Friday Japan Meeting was held November 13 and 14 in Kyoto hosted by Kataoka-san, Bike Friday's Japanese distributorCYCLETECH IKD. Kyoto-City (Kyoto Prefecture, Japan) is in the Kinki-Region of Japan, located in the west central part of Japan. Kyoto is the ancient capitol of Japan from 794 to 1868, thus famous for it's many historical landmarks. This year, Bike Friday co-founder/designer Hanz Scholz and BF Ambassador to Japan : Ruthy Kanagy (known as O-rusu-san to the Japanese community) came over from Eugine Oregon to join this meeting. This made the meeting a very exciting one for us to participate. It's not so often that one get's to ride together with the designer of your bike.
About 50 participants gathered to Kyoto where the the weather was a fine one for cycling this weekend. @nak(A)(myself) brought our latest addition, the Air Friday. (Ta),who owns a Sat-R-Day however brought her Brompton to Kyoto thisi time so she can easily stroll around the narrow streets of Kyoto.
There were two cycling routes to choose from on the first day of the meeting :
1) A hillclimb up to Kyoumi-Touge (Kyoumi-Pass) located north of Kyoto.
2) A sightseeting route covering temples and shrines, and other points of interest in Kyoto.
followed by a dinner party at a Japanese cuisine.
The theme was "water" for the cycling on the second day, where the route ran along rivers and waterways running in and out of Kyoto.
Of course, the participants enjoyed not only cycling, the good food, but chit chatting about Bike Fridays, cycling, and about everything else during the two days of the Kyoto meeting !
Information about Kyoto...
JNTO Website >Regional Tourist Guides
Sat-R-Days being prepared out of the suitcase, owners showing off their Bike Fridays, friend reunions...the usual scenes from meetings like this. Hanz Scholz, CEO of Bike Friday and Ruthy Kanagey, Japan Advocate came over from Eugine to participate in the Kyoto Meeting.
This year's pamphlet and souvenier, which is a Japanese spatula with the BF Kyoto Meeting logo.
Kataoka-san makes a quick stop on a bidge crossing Kamo-river (Kamo-gawa), leaving everyone in surprize when he started feeding the birds !! The pack of bikes ride northward on a path along Kamo-river. 40 small wheelers in a row does attract alot of attention. :-)
Traditional cuisines standing alongside the river. We stop at Ikeda-Ya, which is a historical landmark. Trying to explain Japanese history to Hanz in English was a difficult one...my history grades weren't the best !
Next stop... a Velo-Taxi station. Velo-Taxis operate around central Kyoto. We arrived before operating hours, so we got to see them parked. Hanz-san takes a look under the body....a new idea popping up !?
Moving along to "Kyoto-Gosho", or Kyoto Imperial Palace. After a short stop near the gates, we visit the information center where a scaled model of the palace can be seen. We also visited "Hamaguri-Gomon", or Hamaguri Gate, which was a historic landmark from the Edo period. Bullets from the shoot outs can be seen sunk into the wooden gate structures.
Leaving the "Gosho", we head towards "Dai-Kou-Myou-Ji"...Dai Kou Myou Temple.
We stop to see a traditional Japanese garden within the temple grounds.
The bike pack strolls through the old residential area of Kyoto. At a intersection, Hanz-san aims his camera at a student on a folding bike,the typical "discount store cheap-cycle". Talking about discount store bikes lead to our interesting conversation about Wal-mart and McDonald's. Yes, of course I didn't forget explaining the traditional Japanese "long-apartment", "Naga-ya".
This is a stop for all cyclists visiting Kyoto, Kugi-Nuki-Jizo ! Would you believe that there is a guardian shirine (Jizo) that respects the god of Kugi-nuki, nail pincers !?
Bike Friday's Sapphire Blue, Canary Yellow, and Raspberry Red. A nice trio
Passing Nin-na-Ji(Nin-na-Temple),and passing railroad tracks, we reach the northwest of Kyoto. Hirosawa-Ike(Hirosawa-pond) appears. Heading alongside the pond, the rural landscape of Kita-Saga appears. People are just about ready for lunch...
Beautiful cosmos greet us as we enter the Kita-Saga district, designated as an important cultural property.
40 people don't fit in a restraunt that easily, so the group split up for lunch. Kyoto is famous for "Kyoto-pickles", so that's what we had. Kyoto Pickles, rice and tea makes a nice meal in Japan.
A beautiful autumn day with the leaves starting to color. As we wait at the parking lot for everyone to return from lunch, we compare and test ride a couple of Petite Crusoes. (Ta) goes off for a test ride of Uri-bo-san's compact Crusoe, and comes back with a big smile on her face ! :-)
We leave Kita-Saga for Arashi-yama, another sightseeing spot with a beautiful landscape. On our way, we pass though a forrest of bamboos streaking high in the air. Many visitors (Autumn in Kyoto is a big tourist attraction) avoided us from riding on our bikes, so we got off and strolled. We had to make way for the the "Jin-Riki-Sha", or rickshaws which takes the tourists around the Saga-Arashiyama district.
Crossing the Togetu-Kyo (Togetu-bridge) and arriving at Arashiyama, on the riverside of Hozu gawa (Hozu-river). Everyone lines up for a snapshot.
After alot of walking of our bikes, we enter the Kizu-Arashiyama-Bike Path where we can cruise the "fast-lane" The bike path runs along Katuragawa, and we head southward. Crossing a railroad track keeps the ride interesting.
Another stop before we head to our hotel; a Japanese confectionary called "Nakamura-Ken". Rice cakes with sweet beans.
After some sweets at the confectionary, we resume southward on the bike path. Well, the ride wasn't completely smooth, we had to grab our bikes and walk down some stairs at one place. One last stop before the hotel wa Ryuukoku University, where we were greeted with beautiful illuimation of the shchol building.
Coming back to the hotel, we parked our bikes and took the subway to the dinner party Kataoka-san set up for us.
"Ka-Kyu", a Japanese Cuisine located at Karasuyama-On-Ike was the place for the party.
The party started off with a word from Kataoka-sa, followed by Hanz, then our leader for the tour today, Nas-san. The food (shown in ths link)was gorgeous, and delicious.
The latter half of the party was spent by Hanz explaining and demo-ing the folding sequence of his latest development, the PTA. (which he actually brought a prototype to Kyotoj The disclosing of this new 16-inch model was a treat only for the participants of the Kyoto meeting, so sorry for the mosaic folks, it's according to the Non-Disclosure Agreement ! We also asked Hanz to sketch the new-generation Sat-R-Day. Hmm...nice looking !
After the part was over, a buch headed towards Kyoto station for a late snack of....Ramen, chinise noodles ! (Haven't we had enough this evening !?) The place we found was packed, with people waiting in line outside of the shop. (This is 10pm at night folks.) The ramen noodles were good, a nice dish one to top off the day !
Kyoto Tower in the distance.
Canon IXY Digital 400