Pilgrimage On Shikoku Island: Forum
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May 26th, 2017, 01:14am


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FlyingDutch
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exclamation General advices for biking the Henro Shikoku
« Thread started on: May 7th, 2017, 12:14am »

Based on our experience, I am going to share some advice for those who are thinking on embarking in the route by bike.
Of course everybody has his own approach, so I don't expect the following to be golden rules.

- Where to start: we started at Zentsuji, since our bikes could not fit the size for carrying them on the bus. We ended up changing 5 trains and spending 1 entire day from Kansai Internation to Zentsuji. Japanese trains are not really made for carrying big stuff like a bike bag.
We later realized that there is a service from KIX to deliver/pick up baggages, so if you are not short of budget you might consider it for easing your transfer.

- Drivers are generally extremely respectful thoward cyclists, even on large roads like 55 and 11. Normally to overtake a bike they take the complete opposite lane. Only in big cities like Takamatsu, Kochi, Matsuyama, it can happen that some extra attention to traffic is needed, but if you are used to ride in a European city it should not be a problem.

- Theft is not really a concern: having seen the "dental floss" most japanese cyclists used to lock their bikes, I felt a bit overshooting with my steel chain.

- Wear reflective gear and always have a powerful light. Countryside and coastal roads are often pitch dark.

- Pay some extra attention to elderly people riding a bike or walking. They travel slowly but tend to make sudden manouvers, like stopping or changing direction. Announcing your presence in due time may not be enough to be noticed.

- You can bike on sidewalks, but you will share them with pedestrians and also with cyclists travelling the opposite direction.

- The road is not always evenly paved: paths for blind people, tiles lines, patches, bumps, all will often act a rail for your wheel, expecially if you ride on a narrow tire like we did.

- Be extra cautios if you want to enter a gas station: 90% of them has an uncovered rain collection trench all around their perimeter, few centimeters wide and few centimeters deep. It's no concern for a car, but if you take it too grazing with your bike you will end up on the ground for sure.

- As much as possible wear your hakui. We didn't for some part of the trip, and the difference we experienced in how we were treated was noticeable.
« Last Edit: May 7th, 2017, 12:23am by FlyingDutch » User IP Logged

tneva82
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xx Re: General advices for biking the Henro Shikoku
« Reply #1 on: May 8th, 2017, 04:01am »

on May 7th, 2017, 12:14am, FlyingDutch wrote:
- Drivers are generally extremely respectful thoward cyclists, even on large roads like 55 and 11. Normally to overtake a bike they take the complete opposite lane.


They do that for walkers as well. Sometimes to ridiculous level but not that I'm complaining cheesy

Quote:
- Theft is not really a concern: having seen the "dental floss" most japanese cyclists used to lock their bikes, I felt a bit overshooting with my steel chain.


I left my backbag regularly unattended. Not a problem. Japan is mega safe country.

Interesting bit about hakui. I had it always except for rain but then again with staff and conical hat hakui wasn't really needed to make me clear pilgrim. Might be different for biker without staff and hat which aren't all that convenient for bikers.
« Last Edit: May 8th, 2017, 04:02am by tneva82 » User IP Logged

FlyingDutch
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xx Re: General advices for biking the Henro Shikoku
« Reply #2 on: May 10th, 2017, 10:56pm »

on May 8th, 2017, 04:01am, tneva82 wrote:
Interesting bit about hakui. I had it always except for rain but then again with staff and conical hat hakui wasn't really needed to make me clear pilgrim. Might be different for biker without staff and hat which aren't all that convenient for bikers.


When we were wearing the normal cyclist gear (we only had the henro "bandana" (sorry, I don't know the exact name) on our heads and the staff bell attached to the handlebar), people occasionally approached us to ask where did we come from and if we were doing the Henro Shikoku.

When we wore the hakui, people came directly to us with osettai and encouragement words, without even asking questions upfront.
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