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Don's cycling info
How to get around Tokyo by bike:

How to buy a bike:

Riding out to Odaiba:



bar news and views

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502: Tour de Morton, part deux
Don Morton gets back on two wheels for a leisurely ride out toward Haneda Airport.


Tour de Morton, part deux

Don Morton gets back on two wheels for a leisurely ride out toward Haneda Airport.

The second urban ride I like to do on weekends involves a 20-kilometer round-trip jaunt to a nice little seaside park just across the water from Haneda Airport. It's classified as easy, with only a few bridges to get over. So rip out these pages and let's get started.

As with the Odaiba ride, we'll begin in Azabu Juban at the little water park (Photo 1) where three overhead expressways meet. From there, head toward the bay. You should immediately pass Nissin "World Delicatessen" on the right as you go down the right side of the road. Keep going toward Mita, passing Tokyo Tower on your left. When the four-lane road narrows to a one-lane, one-way, keep going straight, through two lights, a little one and then the big Route 15, and pass under the JR tracks via a little pedestrian/bicycle underpass (Photo 2).

Cross under the expressway and head toward the Intercontinental Hotel, then turn left under the Yurikamome line tracks along the left side of the road (Photo 3), heading toward the Rainbow Bridge.

(When you get to the bridge, you have the option of locking your bike near the bridge tower, where there's a guard, and walking across the bridge to Odaiba and back. I call this the "ride & stride" outing.)

Follow the road around under the bridge's curlicue onramp (Photo 4), staying close to the bay until you are brought back to the main road with the expressway overhead. Turn left and go along the left side of the road for 1 or 2km (Photo 5) until you reach Seafort Square (Tennozu Isle monorail stop), just past which you will see a pair of blue bridges on the left (Photo 6) and a police box on the right. Cross the bridges on either side, turn right and proceed along the right sidewalk (Photo 7). From here on it's almost all greenery-lined bike trail.


Into the wild
Some wise person said, "Anglers often don't know that they're not really there for the fish," but you could hardly apply that wisdom to "The Guys," a group of fishermen who gather every summer weekend under a bridge along your way. They're clearly under no illusions that they're there for the sake. Holler "Konnichiwa" as you go by (Photo 8).

At the first light, mountain bikes can take the right fork (up) and do a bit of off-roading (Photo 9). Road bikes can stretch out on the nice, straight path to the left (Photo 10). They'll end up in the same place.

Eventually you will come to the Ota Stadium, with its big oval light towers, and the light after that is the divided Kan-Nana ring road (two signals). Turn left and go down either side of Kan-Nana and over a bridge. That greenery on the right is the Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park. Take an immediate right and over another bridge.

After you go straight through two lights, you should be seeing airliners landing or taking off, depending on the prevailing winds. You'll get to a T intersection, go left along the left side to another T, and go right along the right side. Follow your nose to find the Jonan Jima Seaside Park (Photo 11), where they have a little beach, lots of grass, and, most important, a beer machine. You can even camp. Ah, Tokyo. Take along a little pair of binoculars to watch the ships come in, and then watch them go away again. 'Cause you'll be sittin'… oh never mind. Try to spot the airliner with the funniest paint job, like the "Poké-jetto" or the "Mickey-jetto" or even the "Matsui-jetto."


Homeward bound
We come back by a somewhat different route. Return to the Ota Stadium and turn left (inland), then immediately right through the sports park. You can watch ongoing games of baseball, football, soccer or lacrosse; Japan at play. Then just after the indoor pool, follow the path to the left through a nice tree-lined area and past a waterfall and out to the street (watch out for the potentially dangerous optical illusion here-Photo 12) and turn right.

At the intersection, cross both streets and cut up the little footpath (Photo 13). This will bring you to a fine, wide foot/bike path with water on the left (Photo 14). If you go through here at dusk, it's best to keep your mouth shut and wear eye protection, as I call it "Gnat Alley."

Keep going along the water until the path veers right and up to the path you came in on. Then it's the same until you cross the blue bridges again. This time head for the police box across the street and turn inland, then immediately right through a breezeway. If you can see a Subway sandwich shop, you're on the right track. Go on through and to the right to find yourself on the water again (Photo 15) near the TY Harbor Brewery (Photo 16). I strongly suggest having one of their terrific Pale Ales at this point.

Then over the little footbridge, around the softball diamond and along the canal (Photo 17). Cross two wide streets with traffic signals and turn left at the second. This will take you toward Shinagawa Station, but just before you get there, turn to the right along a one-way street (the other way, careful) for about a kilometer of Tokyo's least fragrant cycling (that's a sewage treatment plant on the right), until the road dips under the tracks. This only-in-Tokyo tunnel is about 200m long and just 1.5m high; watch your heads, tall guys, and stay on the "sidewalk," as traffic flows against you (Photo 18 is of the exit end). Cross the major street and go right through a few lights until the next big left. This is Sakurada-Dori, which heads toward Tokyo Tower. That's Keio University on the left. A few more blocks and a left just after the expressway brings you back to our starting point, and you made it!

Let's ride:
Though my offer to guide a group to Odaiba was rained out on September 20, we'll try again, this time to Haneda. November offers some of the best cycling weather. Meet at the Azabu-Juban water park at 1pm on the 15th (the 16th if it rains). Call 090-5813-6721 if it looks as though it may rain.

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