You don't have to wear a helmet when riding a bike.
What's even cooler is that this seems to work really, really well.
You see there's a whole class of cyclists in Japan that we just don't see in Australia: Normal people.
Yep, people of all ages, in normal clothes, on bikes, pootling around doing their shopping, going to school, or just getting from point A to B.
|Foreground: 87 year old lady getting her groceries with her cloth cap on.|
Background: 36 year old male with lycra, helmet and bianchi bike.
Maybe we could learn from that.
What I also like about Japan is that when you cram 128 million people onto a relatively small island chain then the sheer economics of that much production allows you to do super cool things ... like build the Shimanami Kaido (the Cyclists Highway) ...
I mean why not?
|Apologies for the blurry photo but that circular ramp is the on ramp just for cyclists|
and I had to show you that.
|Dedicated cyclist lanes on the bridges. Do notice how long this bridge it.|
Then because that was too cheap, they went off and paved a whole lot of the cycleway as well ...
|One bridge had a dedicated cyclists lane underneath it.|
|Most bridges had a separated cycling lane on top.|
And then there was the signage and navigation aids, and I have to say that they employed what must have been one of the simplest and most effective navigation aids I've ever come across on a cycling route ... they just painted a big, blue line the whole friction' way with arrows and distance markers thrown in for good measure ...
|Just follow the blue line ...|
|And if that's not easy enough, they even add destinations in case you somehow get turned around.|
There were only two spots on the whole trip where we actually had to look at the map (free maps in english are available everywhere, plus if you have an App like Maplets you can just download a GPS enabled version of the map to follow on your smartphone (again in English).
I was thinking what a great idea these blue lines would be for the routes from our airports into Hobart and Launceston ...
Of course, there is one final element to a perfect trail, and that's the place you ride through ... and boy oh boy does this ride have 'place' in spades ...
|The view from our hotel room.|
We also love our little hotel on top of the hill (so much so that we came for a night and three nights later we're still here). It has a great Thai restaurant and it's the first room we've stayed in that has actually been bigger than a matchbox.
Yep, we didn't come to Japan to visit the cycling road, but the cycling road has definitely become my favourite part of our holiday in Japan.
My only complaint about the whole ride is that because I wasn't wearing a helmet, I've now got a terribly sunburnt forehead.
They should definitely make wearing sunscreen mandatory.