Practicalities


The bikes are now in their boxes ready for the flights home. Our kit has performed fantastically well and below we list the star performers and things we might have done differently if we were to repeat this kind of cycling journey again.

Stars:

  • Mercian and Condor bicycle frames and forks
  • Ortlieb bags
  • Schawble tyres
  • MSR tent
  • Trangia stove
  • Swrve shorts
  • Thermarest matts

To do differently:

  • Simpler bikes – hub gears, disc brakes, Kevlar drive belts and integrated bike stands
  • Shimano group sets for the ease of replacement
  • Smaller lock
  • Less spares and tools
  • Cycle jerseys with rear pockets (we departed with none)
  • Brightly coloured clothing to be more easily seen
  • Arm warmers to keep wet rain jackets off the skin
  • 3 season rated sleeping bags not 2
  • Thermal liners and not ‘cool’ liners for our sleeping bags
  • Thermal socks
  • Thermal gloves

A Year’s Travelling Lessons


Time 

Is finite so I will use it carefully. 

Art 

Communicates much about everything including the places through which I travel. 

Places 

Reveal what I value and call home – London. 

Fitness 

Drives the most creative of my thoughts. 

Glowing screens 

Can kill all of the above – I think now before I use them.

The five headings have become a new kind of mantra for a future way of living. 

Japan and a year’s cycling stats

We have about 40km to ride to Chitose, south of Sapporo, from where we shortly fly out of Japan and finish our year of riding. Bicycles are simply the best way to travel and have allowed us to see so much more of Australia, Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and Japan than any other modes of transport.

Japan stats as follows.

  • Distance ridden – 3,564km
  • Days riding – 38
  • Average daily distance – 94km
  • Longest day – 141km from Muryama to Nr. Minamisaniku
  • Punctures – as before just one
  • Mechanicals – Many, which I recounted previously with fortunately no more to add
  • Other cyclists – 34
  • Pies – still at 33

The year’s comparative stats are as follows.
Distances ridden:

  • Japan – 3,564km
  • New Zealand – 3,546km
  • Vietnam and Cambodia – 4,472km
  • Australia – 4,016km
  • TOTAL = 15,598km

Days spent riding:

  • Japan – 38
  • New Zealand – 35
  • Vietnam and Cambodia – 40.5
  • Australia – 37.5
  • TOTAL = 151

Average Daily Distance – 103km

Longest Day – Cambodia, Kampong Thom to Siem Reap at 150km

Punctures – 03 with New Zealand winning with none

Other touring cyclists – 173 with New Zealand winning again at 122

Pies – 33 with Australia winning with 23

Sumio Goto


A fantastic artist who we stumbled across as we headed south from the north of Hokkaido to Sapporo. This is ‘big’ pigment painting. Layers of colour layered with a kind of glue, not water, across a canvas which needs to dry before the next wash is applied. They can literally take years to finish with the artist having multiple pictures on the go for prolonged periods until completed. The colours are staggeringly good, vibrant and zinging out of the canvas.

‘Sweets’ from Sapporo 


The ‘Central’ department store contains five floors of stationary, artist materials, pens and paper, calligraphy equipment, a printing shop and cafe. I spent ages just looking at the Japanese water colours – Gansai Tambi – before making a selection. They are renowned for stunning colour pigmentation and for being long lasting. The new watercolour papers are 70% bamboo and at a size closer to A4 rather than the A6 and A5 I’ve been confined to.