lifestyle

Here’s a handy cycling hack: Pump up your tires for free at any police box

19 Comments
By Evie Nyan, SoraNews24

Japan is a wonderful and safe place to ride a bicycle, with sidewalk cycling technically being illegal yet widely tolerated. You’ll also be in good company, since Japan — a country with 127 million people — has 72 million bicycles. That’s a lot of bikes! You can even register any bicycle you buy in your name to help protect against bicycle theft and make sure you learn the up-to-date cycling rules in Japan.

One handy bike hack for cyclists in Japan is the ability to stop by any police box (koban) in Japan and get your tires pumped up for free. Since each police box in Japan has at least one bicycle for patrols, the chances of them not having a pump are practically zero. As long as you ask politely, there’s every chance they’ll hook you up with some free air. Also, since police boxes are manned 24/7 and bicycle stores are not, they’re a better option for late-night cyclists in need of assistance.

One possible drawback to this method is that the police may ask to see your bike registration and even ID, so we obviously don’t advise asking them for a bike pump if you’re cruising along without your residence card (which is illegal if one has been issued to you). But since it should only take a few minutes for them to check out your ID, you can always let them do that while you’re pumping up your tires.

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© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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Free air with a gaijin card check.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Buy a portable pump and/or carry C02 cartridges and never worry. That's how non-mamachari cyclists roll.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Registering your bicycle does nothing to prevent theft.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Out here in Chiba-ken, the police boxes (even the one at Yachimata station) are NOT manned 24 hours a day.

The lights are on but no one is there - only a telephone on the counter so you can call for help.

Carry your own pump!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I guess the cops will have a mama chari, so you are looking at what Japanese call a "British style" valve on the tyres. It's a should-be-antiquated design where a replaceable rubber tube is sandwiched between the inner and outer parts. Most pumps for "British" valves sold in Japan do not fit other tyres, so a police box may not be able to inflate a decent or better bike's tyres.

Road bikes and tubeless mtb use Presta valves, the thin ones with an end you unscrew. Other mtb use Schrader valves, the same as car tyres, so these can be inflated as gasoline stands.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

kohakuebisu - if only everyone's bicycles were as nice as yours!!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

This isn't a 'hack'.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Decent bike parking areas will often have a pump lying around for people to use.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Registering your bicycle does nothing to prevent theft.

And where does all the money go? If 1 resident in 100 buys and registers a bicycle each year, that's 625 million yen annually in registration fees.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I thought most cycles had clips on the angled bar for a pump... when I was a kid with a bike I always had a pump clipped there. Then again I also had a football card on my rear so my bike sounded hellish lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Registering your bicycle does nothing to prevent theft.

Sure it does - knowing that almost every bike is registered means no one wants to steal bikes, as it's easy to find out whether they own the bike or not. That's why bike theft rates in Japan are so low.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

We had those pump clips when I was young(before I switched to motorbikes), haven't seen them on bicycles here ditto for dyno-powered tail-lights.

Guess different regulations, as for the valves many hand pumps can fit US & UK valves?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bikes are often stolen for a quick ride to the station, or to resell. Resold bikes are prepped (registration info removed) and sold online etc.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You can even register any bicycle you buy in your name to help protect against bicycle theft

Actually it is the law

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The last time I stopped at the police box to ask directions while cycling they accused me of stealing my own bike and I had to wait ten minutes while they checked the registration of the bike and my ID.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

10min to check bicycle registration, usually takes 1min.

Had it done to verify to the buyer that is my bike I am selling.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So you pump your bike tires with air while they pump you with questions about whether you stole the bike?

No thanks; I'll fill my tires at any of dozens of bicycle sale and repair shops that also offer free air. A lot of them even have high-pressure compressed air coming right out of the tube; you don't have to pump it yourself!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ha! No thanks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

StrangerlandAug. 8  03:08 pm JST

Registering your bicycle does nothing to prevent theft.

Sure it does - knowing that almost every bike is registered means no one wants to steal bikes, as it's easy to find out whether they own the bike or not. That's why bike theft rates in Japan are so low.

Are you being sarcastic???

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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