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7 rules to follow in order to keep safe while cycling in Japan

17 Comments
By Connie Sceaphierde, grape Japan

As the state of emergency has been lifted and restrictions are relaxed, we’re seeing more and more of the world go back to normal. But we’re still not out of the dark just yet, even if COVID-19 is relatively under control within Japan. The virus is still affecting lives on a daily basis and as it doesn’t discriminate, anyone can still catch it.

To help decrease the chances of spreading the virus, Play Atre Tsuchiura – Japan’s largest cycling resort – has come up with a list of seven tips that cyclists should keep in mind and follow as the world slowly spins back to normality.

Even though the risk of catching and transferring COVID-19 when using a bicycle is extremely low (the activity avoids the three main causes of infection transfer; closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact situations), the following requests have been suggested so that people can continue to enjoy cycling safely.

Try riding solo (#ridesolo)

Enjoy riding solo as much as possible to help minimize contact with people. If you really need to ride with more than one person, be aware of how to social distance whilst cycling.

It is believed that a safe social distance when cycling is around 15 to 20 meters.

Avoid as many stopping points as possible

To reduce contact with people as much as possible, lessen the overall distance of the journey and the number of rest breaks taken during the ride.

The official Play Atre Tsuchiura app and the Tsukuba Kasumigaura ring road website both have information about which support stations are currently open in their areas.

Bring enough food for refueling and stay hydrated

Before you leave, make sure to prepare enough supplementary foods and follow a plan to drink water frequently during your cycle ride. As the summer heat fast approaches, the risk of heat stroke will increase, so be careful and vigilant.

Listen to your body

If you feel unwell or weak in any manner, don’t ignore your body, and instead make the smart decision to call off the cycling event or if you are already out and about, begin to head home.

You should also try your best to avoid the risk of overtraining, as excessive training is believed to weaken the immune system.

Set and appropriate distance and follow a safe route

To avoid overtiredness, it is best to put a limit on your overall journey distance, that doesn’t mean you can’t go far though, as Play Atre states that a cycling journey should be no more than 60km in total length (that's pretty far).

The Tsukuba Kasumigaura ring road, which starts from Play Atre Tsuchiura and follows a route around mount Tsukuba is a 40km round trip, as is the distance to the Kasumigaura Ohashi Bridge.

To plan a safe journey, consider your fitness level and physical condition. Think about when and where you need to take a break and if you can decrease the overall journey distance.

Play Atre notes how the Kasumigaura area has only a few rest areas, so it may not be ideal for people who are not used to cycling.

Gear up with a mask and rubbing alcohol

Be sure to bring a face mask and rubbing alcohol with you when cycling, and be mindful when taking a break or entering a store. It is also recommended to wash your hands and to gargle each time you take a rest break.

Respect others

Everyone has their own way to enjoy cycling. To continue enjoying the ride, try to understand the current situation at hand and pay close attention to prevent the spread of infection.

By being aware and by practicing safe measures, we can create an environment where everyone can enjoy themselves without judging others.

Reads more stories from grape Japan.

-- Tokyo Tower reopens, but there’s a catch if you want to get to the top!

-- Bring the adventure home with these four video experiences

-- Nara’s famous deer enjoy sea of sakura in breathtaking video

© grape Japan

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

17 Comments
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The virus is still affecting lives on a daily basis and as it doesn’t discriminate, anyone can still catch it.

Yes, but for healthy, younger people, the risk is much less. Thus is the way of illnesses.

There’s a greater chance of being hit by a driver ignoring the stop sign in Japan

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The lead photo depicts an experienced cyclist on an isolated mountain road, far from the urban environment. As previous poster suggested, the best way "to keep safe while cycling in Japan" is to avoid vehicular traffic. The danger to cyclists posed by coronavirus is so infinitesimal as to be insignificant.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

you really would be hard-pressed to find a person to interact with on these mountain roads anyway and cycling near urban centers is a nightmare

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The kind of cyclist this article is talking about are hobby and sport cyclists and not Mamachari riders that often blow though stop signs and round corners without looking. Many of the cyclists in Japan are Ojisans as opposed to cyclists in the west.

That being said, I think the cycling resort that offered up this advice is trying to attract young couples, judging by the photos and the advice. Probably good advice for novice riders. I remember bonking from lack of hydration when I began riding. I hope the resort is a success. It seemed to open just as the pandemic hit.

Oh...and I hope the model they found to look like he is fixing a bicycle has another sparkling white shirt as his arm pit is going to get mighty greasy if he repairs a bike with a well used chain. Scroll to the bottom: https://playatre.com/concept/

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bring enough food for refueling and stay hydrated

Gear up with a mask and rubbing alcohol

Try riding solo (#ridesolo)

Except the guy in the photo doesn't seem to be be doing any of these things.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Never blindly ride out over a crossing even if you’ve got a green light.

Same with stop signs.

Japanese drivers don’t seem to care about these things

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Mirai Hayashi

Cycling jerseys often have pockets in the back to store energy bars and bikes like this have mounts for at least one bottle. Mine has 3. If he stays on the highway, if this is near Okutama, he should be alright as there are plenty of cars to flag down if help is needed. There are vending machines occasionally tucked up in unexpected places. I found one at a cemetery high up above Okutama on a road that goes up and over to Hinohara.

@Vince Black

This article is not talking about urban cycle commuting on Mamacharis.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Vince Black "Never blindly ride out over a crossing even if you’ve got a green light."

I totally agree. I was just about to post the same advice. I often tell cyclists (especially the younger) always look carefully both left and right even when the walk signal is green.

Thanks

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Based on the lack of a shoulder on most roads and inattentive drivers, I see this as a highly risky hobby/sport. Maybe off road mountain biking is better.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Nothing about the real things to stay safe.

Keep left.

Be aware of traffic approaching from behind.

Follow the road rules when on the road.

Ride within safe stopping distance.

Stay in single file.

Do not hold up traffic.

Stop at red lights and stop signs.

There you go 7 safety tips should help you to stay safe.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Note that the article is not about urban cycling. It is from a resort destination in the countryside that has latched onto road cycling as a way to get tourists. If you have a bike, you can of course do road cycling anywhere with roads, you are free to go anywhere, but I dunno, I suppose some people must like to be told where to go.

Anyway, the most important thing for road cycling in Japan is to have low gears on your bike. Japan is 70% mountainous and lots of the climbs are steep. Most road bikes sold around the world are never ridden on climbs as big as Japan's and have gears for riding on the flat. Just an hour out of Tokyo and you'll hit a climb as big as anything in most of Europe, home of road cycling. Poor gearing on a bike can turn a doable climb into torture. To fully enjoy the best cycling in Japan, you need to embrace climbing and have a bike set up for it. Riding on the flat in Japan equals riding in lots of traffic. There is no flat or gently rolling countryside here.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

follow a plan to drink water frequently during your cycle ride. As the summer heat fast approaches, the risk of heat stroke will increase, so be careful and vigilant.

Not a bad tip, of course, but you may want to bring electrolyte drinks, gels, etc instead of or with your water.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Bjorn

"Stay in single file." "Do not hold up traffic."

The above does not keep you safe. Refer to close passing elsewhere in the world.

In fact it's promoted as being more courteous and safe to ride side by side as there is a shorter group to overtake and drivers should changing lanes anyway.

Drivers are subsidised too, they don't pay their way by a long shot and are just licensed guests, so we don't need to worry about their journey too much.

But Japanese laws are written by those with little experience in this area.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

“There is no flat or gently rolling countryside here.“

Riding the river paths are a good option if you want to avoid hills. Minamiboso coast is s also good cycling. No hills, nice scenery and little traffic

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I lived in the Japan Alps, I went painting everywhere on my mountain bike. Average was about 50 km per day, sometimes more. Even up 1500 m mountains, coming down was always exciting.

I would bike to a site and paint all day before returning back to my studio.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is common sense to support exercise in the form of running or cycling for many reasons, but things have changed a bit with a virus that is transmitted through vapor from breathing. Masks have proven to be one of the best means of controlling the spread of vapor, but runners and cyclists don't wear them at all here in NYC. Studies done on the virus in conjunction with evaluating the slipstream from runners and cyclists seem to indicate that this slipstream of heavy breathing covers a much wider area than just standing still. Give runners and cyclists a wide berth to stay out of their slipstream. In the less populated areas the danger is of course less. Stay safe out there.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Masks have proven to be one of the best means of controlling the spread of vapor

Findings are 50-50 at best.

If you are right, Australia and NZ would be much worse. But they aren’t

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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