Hovering helicopter, light rain, fireworks, more rain, heavier rain, strong wind, flapping tent, more rain, cold, shelter, rain,shelter some more, paradise. That pretty much sums up yesterday’s ride.
It was to be a short 30 km ride to my Warmshower host home in Glasgow. Short in distance that is. Time wise it basically took me the whole day. That’s intentional as my host Adrian will only be home after 6pm. Just as well, the constant rain slowed me down. At some point I left the canal and hit the country road and then A80 all the way to Glasglow.
The ride was pretty ordinary with scattered showers here and there. I stopped at factory area to take shelter from the rain and also wait for a marathon race to pass. No rush no worries. What was interesting was I found a great place coffee. What’s great is great restaurant offers unlimited refills of Costa Coffee for £2.59 ! You can have double espressos till you drop shaking. The place is called Brewers Fayre near Stepps. Here is the link https://goo.gl/maps/ETt47huxFxu Great place for shelter and use of clean toilet and plenty of caffeine. I like.
After about 2 hours I decided to head towards Glasgow and since I have some time I decided to go to the Glasgow Art Museum. I am told all Museums in Scotland are free. This one was no exception.
My hosted in invited me to join them for dinner at home so I dropped by the grocer to buy wine and finally headed to the host’s home.
Adrian and Laura have a wonderful home. They are really friendly and accommodating and gave me one of the best room I ever had warmshowering. Wow. Nice dinner, great conversations and down comforter. Couldn’t ask for more. I was a happy tourer.
Today I am heading towards the mighty central range of Hokkaido. I have more than 80 Km to cover and have no clue about the topo of the ride. I was fearing a tough and challenging ride.
The ride started with a climb and I was wondering oh boy it’s going to be a long day. Actually thankfully it wasn’t. It was perhaps the best day of riding by far. I was gifted with a tremendously long and fast downhill after that and actually did around 50KM in super speed. Arrived in Ashoro at around 11am and stopped at what I suspect to be the biggest Michi-No-Eki or Roadside Station. Since there is free wifi and power points I decided to stay for an hour to charge up.
The weather was superb the whole day and it showered slightly but stopped in minutes. At noon time it was full sun and full summer temperatures. The last 30 Km or so was harder and was hot. I arrived the campsite slighty after 2pm set up tent and went to town to shop for groceries.
The sunset was gorgeous at the campsite and I enjoyed it while cooking dinner. My gas ran out so I wasn’t able to cook the rest of the meal which I intended to keep for tomorrow. Went to town to search for gas but all gas station closes after 7pm. Oh well I guess I have to do it tomorrow then. As I went bed I hear in the distance in what sounded like fireworks. It went on for most of the night but not loud or annoying. I wonder what festival it was.
Tomorrow I suspect would be my hardest ride. Hoping I am wrong.
Woke up to drizzle which stopped for awhile to allow me to quickly make some coffee and quick bite of breakfast. The sky remained cloudy and gloomy the whole day. My plan was to ride to Tomamu to see the sea of clouds. It practically rain ( light by Malaysian standard) the whole day. Not a speck of sunshine. However the scenery was fantastic no matter.
I took a break for lunch at a place called Shimukappu Village. There are not a whole lot of towns or shops in between my route so I thought I better stop to lunch and buy supplies. At lunch I meet 2 cycle tourer from France. I chatted with them and asked them where they were heading. It seems like they are heading the opposite direction. I did however get some info on the road ahead and decided to follow their route and head towards Kanayama lake instead. It appears that there are 2 campsites available there. Tomomu did not have campsite and I would probably have to wild camp or stay at a hotel.
It rained pretty much all the way and it was heavier and heavier as I approach Kanayama lake. Luckily for me it stopped a few minutes after I arrived. Thankfully so. I managed to cook a quick dinner have a couple of cups of wine and tucked in the night. Tomorrow I plan to continue to head east towards Shimizu.
Batu Pahat remains one of my favourite small town. It’s charming with its old buildings and small shops, great food and friendly locals. The nutty band of “superheroes” lead by SuperCylcingMan had a wonderful time and we thank you Batu Pahat. Thank you also to Ho Liao Canteen for hosting us and providing us with a wonderful mini town tour and sharing it’s interesting history. We shall be back to visit again.
Day 2 ride to Batu Pahat was so much fun. It was long and hard 104km ride but worth it as SuperCyclingMan succeeded to find his superhero buddies. Let the fun begin. The road condition was around 80% tarmac and 20% gravel but it was never a problem for all. After fooling around for almost the whole day, the superheros arrive Batu Pahat at around 6pm. We were graciously welcomed by Jerry our host who runs a fantatsic hip cafe called Ho Liao Canteen. He allowed us to stay at the top level of his cafe. What a perfect ending to a wonderful ride. Fantastic place for us to stay the night at Batu Pahat. Thank you Jerry from Ho Liao Canteen.
I really enjoyed the short tour of Hokkaido and I will definitely come back for another tour at some point. Hokkaido is a great island for cycle touring if you are looking for a more relaxing and easy going type of your. What I loved about the place ? Mostly the greenery and natural surroundings. Camping is so cheap and convenient and tons of information about the island are available either online or at information centres. As a traveller you are spoilt for choices for accommodation. Camping free or paid are all over the place and so are rider houses ( organised mostly for motor bikers touring) can be for free or paid. Camping if not free cost from 300 Yen to 600 Yen and both free and paid are always with clean toilets and open cleaning kitchens. Rider houses can cost around 1000 Yen per person. Hostels and hotels are expensive. Be prepared to pay around 4000 Yen and above.
Food and drinks inexpensive if you buy from the supermarkets. For a quick meal you have the options of abundance of convenient store like 711, SeacoMart or Lawson in almost every town. Food package usually starts from 300 to 500 Yen. Premium beer is around 200 To 250 Yen per 500ml can and if you are not choosy the cheapest beer cost around 70 to 80 Yen. Wine is super cheap too. You can actually fine super cheap very drinkable Spanish wine from SeacoMart at around 400 Yen per bottle.
If you are frugal can actually tour for very cheap in Hokkaido. Here is my spending for your information.
I guess 50KM plus should be an easy ride. Wrong. One of the toughest day of climbing! The day started great as it was nicely warm and sunny with a slight overcast. I must climb from 60m to over 750m. The climb started 13km onwards go well over 35 km before a superb downhill all the way to Lake Akan. I am told Lake Akan is very touristic and they are not wrong. Upon reaching Lake Akan you feel already like in a resort with many hotels and paid activities like lake cruises and sorts. My campsite for the night cost also higher at 630 Yen per night. It’s well located just opposite the main attractions.
Did a quick tour around the Akan traditional Ainu Village and then off to look at the boiling mud pools from underground volcanic activity. After that I went for a bath at the Onsen nearby which costed on 260 Yen.
The campsite is ok but a lot of insects and mosquitoes. They seem to be all over town as well. Anyway I had a quick dinner before dashing inside my tent to escape the mozzies. Goodnight folks.
First day of cycling. Happy to be on the Saddle. Had a quick breakfast with the Host. I was asking my host where I could get white gas for my stove. I wanted to try it as I have been using unleaded petrol and it has been very sooty and dirty. I hear white gas is cleaner. Ken said he would bring me to buy some and at the same time lead me out to my path. How nice of him. After getting the white gas I was on my way. The bike path was a short 8 km but it is we very nice as if passes through mostly wooded areas. After that the road was a mix of farm roads and also interstate road. The farm roads were a bit annoying as the gravel pebbles were quite loosely packed. The weather was gloomy as well and it drizzled here and there the whole day. The last 15 km to the campsite was tough as it makes you climb at least 8km before defending for another 6km all the way to the campsite. The campsite itself is beautiful but you have to pay 510yen to camp and use th facilities. I think it’s ok. So I set up camp and had a quick dinner before packing in. Looking forward for tomorrow. Not sure where I will be stopping. Still researching.
Today the plan is to set up my bike and also spend some time looking around the area. Another tourer from Hong Kong is also staying with my host family. Ming is planning to cycle the whole of Japan starting from Sapporo. He is awaiting his friend to join him in around 3 weeks.
We planned to cycle to a nearby historical town for a look see and later to downtown to have lunch and a bit of shopping for groceries.
We first visited the historical village of Hokkaido which sits on a 54 hectares of Nopporo Forest Park. There are around 60 structures and old building to see. Entrance fee is 700 Yen which is RM27. Very interesting to see the different Japanese types of architectures and in different eras. We headed to town after this for lunch at a downtown food courts that was nothing special and yet slightly expensive. We headed back to my host’s home to adjust my bike and final set up for the ride tomorrow.
Mrs Ikeda our host’s wife cooked us a storm for dinner and it was so delicious. After dinner the whole family played UNO together and after that we chatted for awhile before I call it the night and went to my room to pack my panniers. Tomorrow’s weather is forecasted to be so so. With potential rain around 2pm. Let’s see.