picture of the day

Bicycle jam


A man pulls out his bicycle at a parking area outside a railway station in Tachikawa, western Tokyo.

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I'm glad so many people ride bicycles here, it saves a lot of traffic and pollution. But, walking down the sidewalk is very much like driving the busy freeways in Los Angeles.

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Yes, I know, people put ID's on their bikes. But sometimes there has to be moments of confusion locating your bicycle.

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I rode a pink and purple Italian road bike for about 12 years in Japan. It was so ugly, no one would ever steal it despite it being a very nice bike and I could always spot it in a crowd!


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I can always find my bike, its the only one with a long seat post i.e set an an appropriate hight. So many people especially tall school boys have the seat down so low that it the nearly smack their chins with their knees.

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I like the one with the green tires,, Cool!!

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I know of a chap from Holland, over to the Iron Man in the Penticton area. He told me he had a number of good bicycle, but when it came to going to work, in his ofice, he did it with a cheap looking bicycle SO no one would feel that was a costly bike worth stealing.

Seemed like a sensible move to me. When using my bicycle the few times down to the business area I chain it to a light post, but remove the complete saddle as mounted. Would make someone look a bit strange riding a bicycle with no seat.

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I once had a bike that had a fingerprint detection system built into the handlebars. If anybody but got on it, an airbag would deploy under the seat and propel the rider about three meters into the air. There was a delay of about 10 seconds, so they would be sure to be up and moving. I removed it after one winter when I accidentally got on while wearing gloves, and smacked my head into a particularly large branch of a walnut tree.

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Great picture. I have always ridden a bicycle here in Japan. Best way to get around (most times).

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gaijinfo - are you smoking something, or are you Inspector Gadget?

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I wished there were as many people riding bicycles in my country. that would cause us less pollution.

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Cool photo. One human amongst the twisted steel, leather and rubber...

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Now if we could only teach them how to ride the sodding things properly...

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Bicycle helps in Japan and Tokyo. For most trips up my train-line(up to 6 stations) I cycle. Healthy and saves me money, don't commute via train as I work from home.

I don't ride on the pavements as it is against the Law and a Pain. Never been stopped for a bicycle check, easy to spot bicycle and I always wear Helmet and Gloves. Granted a cheap Bicycle from the local cycle shop(Mountain Bike, with Shimano 18 speed, Double Suspension for a mere 17.000 New) but it runs well.

Agree that more towns need to introduce a drivers licence for bicycle and hit them for NOT maintaining them and adjusting them to a ridiculous riding position.

I tend to stay away from the larger bicycle parking areas as seen above.

Said that at most bigger supers, etc you can park your bicycle for 2hrs for FREE.

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Dudes who are 6ft, built in nice suits and white look ridiculous on them.... uhm me. On that note I hear there are over a million bikes unclaimed in Japan- kinda like soi dogs in Bangkok- on the street with no home or owner.

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Never been stopped for a bicycle check

And this is one reason why -


Spending more than 2,000 yen on a bicycle often does the trick.

For those inclined to whinge that they have been stopped for checks again and are the target of some kind of discriminatory campaign, do yourself a favour and watch who else they stop. Hint: lots and lots of Japanese people on crappy bikes.

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Agree with Jikannomuda.

Both mine and my sons Bicycles are well maintained, no screeching brakes, chain is tight, etc.

Also good riding position and we added a few extras like speedo, rear-light, etc plus as mentioned we wear protective gear. Also cops look at riding style too.

In my area it is rare to see a foreigner being stopped, mostly Japanese. Granted we are more rural so many people have Bicycles for touring as well as for commuting.

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Yeah, I agree with the sentiments about riding style and bike quality leading to police checks. I have never been stopped, and I ride everyday. I am sat on top of a 1,000,000yen road bike though, and spend my time drafting police cars, so I doubt they would dare.

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Clarification on my idea of bicycle quality.

Like I said my current ride cost me 17.000Yen + extras(used to ride a cross-bike from Giant that cost 40.000+yen). Granted I go for big frames(giant needs to import those) as I am 5 foot 10 and got long legs. Also had a period where I had to ride a 8.000Yen Mama-chari from Seiyu.

As for riding-style, I also ride Motorbikes and that can be seen from my hands on the handle-bars(2 fingers per hand always rest on the brake levers) so I am always ready for an emergency stop.

Anyhuh back on topic, we got a few bicycle parking places close by like pictured, at first I thought the pic was taken at one of the Muncipial depots where people can pick up confiscated ones(illegally parked, etc).

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I once had to go to one of those places to pick up a bike I had that was taken due to alleged illegal parking (whatever).

Kind of like a graveyard for bikes. Very sad.

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DuraAce at 03:49 PM JST - 5th December

I once had to go to one of those places to pick up a bike I had that was taken due to alleged illegal parking (whatever).

So did I. I found my bike, unlocked it and rode it out. The old man chased after me for a bit but I didn't bother looking back.

They say to ride a bike to conserve, yet they build these expensive parking lots and charge money to park your bike, forcing you to pay money, walk a long way, or park "illegally". No thanks. I have since used a cable to lock to immobile objects. I wonder if they will start cutting cables...

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Like I said check the parkings for supers, department stores, etc. Most of them are FREE for the 1st 2-3hrs.

Got one behind our local Yodobashi, crowded as everybody goes there. Close by other goverment parking ones that charge 100Yen/day(fill up fast) and a covered one that is also FREE for the 1st 2hrs but few people realize it. :p Even the 2hr FREE ones with an additional 100Yen allow you easily 6hrs of parking.

Takes a bit of planning and timing to get some good and secure parking for your steed.

Said that monthly parking at a station depot can be as cheap as 2000Yen/month(similar for monthly bicycle rental and parking at same place. And there is the annual draw for parkings close to the station by the town(all those bicycles you see parked at the edge of the road close to the station). Park there at your own peril, if you haven't got the official sticker.

Forget most of the big goverment owned/sponsored places around stations as they are mostly for monthly rentals. Like the one seen above.

Like I said takes a bit of planning ditto for avoiding getting stopped. Pointers been given above. Keep your Bicycle clean and well maintained. Seen too many expensive bikes that would be pulled overseas too due to their conditions(both foreign and japanese owned).

Place I bought our bicycles overs a 2yr plan(for about 2.000+) insurance, 3 checkups over 2 years(FREE), 10% Discount at purchases, etc. Plus they also puncture proved our tubes for a modest fee.

Forget one thing I see many people do is neglect tire pressure, I can tell very quickly when mine is below optimal level.

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Nice pic! Better bicycles than cars! Who wants to see a picture of a man pulling out of a parking lot in his car?

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Bicycles are great for your health, environmentally friendly, and free (save for maintenance)!

Still, a number of things need to be done to improve the situation of people riding bikes.

1) The police need to actually ENFORCE bicycle laws! It would help if they learned them, first, of course.

2) STOP GIVING PRIORITY TO AUTOMOBILES! If you make the streets wider, do it so you can have bike paths and get the mama-charis of the sidewalks!

3) People need to maintain their bikes properly; as has been said above, there's nothing worse than the idiots who go down steep hills with breaks (or the lack thereof) screeching at pitches that break glass.

4) Don't tolerate all the 'illegal' parking. If it says don't park there, there shouldn't be a warning ribbon tied around your handle bars -- the bikes should just be taken away under the rider's nose if need be. I realize it would create a problem in their removal, but think of the revenue towns could make with people going to get their bikes (if they bother)! I'm sick of the bottom of the stairway at my local station being blocked by bikes.

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Is this photo part of a campaign sponsored with petro-dollars? ;)

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Madeofplastic at 05:10 PM JST - 5th December I have since used a cable to lock to immobile objects. I wonder if they will start cutting cables..

Have you any idea how long it would take the cops to go back to the cop shop, fill out the proper paperwork and hold a meeting in order to suggest making a decision to get some bolt cutters to cut your lock?

I've found that locking to immobile objects allows you to park anywhere you want, without hassle. The only thing you need to worry about is cops actually catching you in the act.

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