Sunday, September 28, 2014

Shimanami Kaido = Cylcing Heaven

This weekend Jeff and I road the full Shimanami Kaido cycling route.  Depending on where you stay in Imabari it is around 75 to 80 kilometers each way.  Jeff and I had ridden the first 40 kilometers as an out and back but this weekend we booked a hotel in Imabari so that we could do the whole thing (without having to ride it all, both directions, in one day).

It is a fantastic ride that goes over 6 bridges and a short ferry ride.  The route is marked with a blue line on the street and there are signs and rest stops along the way specifically for cyclists.  Many of the restaurants and businesses even have bike pumps, a couple of simple bike tools and will fill your water bottles for free.

Here is a link to the map.

This was our view at our lunch stop on the way there.  We noodles with tempura octopus.  It was really good.

This was our ice cream break.  Green tea vanilla swirl.  Yum!
Jeff and I took a couple of small detours on the way out.  One was a really nasty climb.  It was only 3.8 km long but it made Bogus seem flat.  It was a climb of almost 1000 ft.  It was such a nasty climb that we had to have a second ice cream - lol!  This time it was orange sorbet.  If you haven't figured it out yet, Jeff and I like to eat, and a long day on the bike is a great excuse.

Looking back the way we came

The big bridge.
The big bridge is over 4 km long and is the longest cable bridge in the world.  It was pretty impressive.

One of the most impressive things about this ride is the infrastructure they invested for cyclists.  Here are some of the ramps that are cyclist only that they built for getting on and off the bridge.  

The bigger road that is closet to me when I took this picture is the main bridge.  The small road that splits off of it is the cyclist ramp.  This is only for cyclists and connects to the main bridge but is totally separated from motorized traffic.  This was typical of all of the bridges on this route.

Jeff took this one of me going down the ramp from the bridge.  
Imabari has a really nice castle so we walked around in the evening and took a few pictures.  The moat is fed from the ocean and had ocean fish in it.  It was really neat to see the fish jumping to catch bugs as we were enjoying the view.

Imabari castle lit up at night.

This one gives a little better feeling for how huge it was.
We stayed in a really nice hotel in Imabari with a king size bed, which was awesome, even though it was still Japanese firm (think of putting a thin blanket on the floor and that is a little softer than a Japanese bed).  It was really nice to have a bigger bed for a change.

The next morning we got an early start and rode back towards home.  Here are a couple more pictures of the big bridge.  
Crossing the bridge.  Like mentioned above, separate from cars.

Last pic of the monster bridge.
Jeff and I had a wonderful weekend trip. It was delightfully uneventful.  No crashes or mechanical issues, good weather.  Just a super pleasant and beautiful weekend riding bikes.  If anyone is in to cycling, I highly recommend this route and it's neighbor Tobishima Kaido (the 7 bridge ride I've previously mentioned).  Amazing.

Very typical view of route.  You can see the blue line that marked our route.

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