adventures of an urban bicycle in japan
Bicycles are very important in everyday Japanese life. In the West we tend to think of Japan as the home of the latest technology so, on my first visit, it was a very nice surprise to find that, not only did everybody ride a bike, but the conditions for cycling were great. In its own way Japan is every bit as good for cyclists as, say, the Netherlands. I hired a very basic urban bike for a couple of hours in the town of Takayama and was so uplifted by the experience that I vowed that, if I came again, I would bring a bike with me.
In October 2003 I visited Japan again for two weeks, mainly for an academic conference. I still had the idea that I would like to take a bike but the reality was that I didn’t have a suitable bike, didn’t know how easy it would be to transport it to Japan and around the country and didn’t know how much use I would get from it.
On the other hand I had conceived a deep passion for the Brompton folding bike and my only regret was that I didn’t have a serious use for one. A conventional bike is all I need for everyday travel in Sheffield and on most of the rail journeys I make it is easy to take a full-size bike with you. In the end I decided that the trip to Japan was the best reason I would ever have to buy a Brompton.