Wow – where did that week go? We’ve been making the painful transition from holiday to settled-in which, sadly, includes finding employment. This means I’m not out going for a joyous ride on my own time any more. No, I’m guiltily stealing time that I should be spending finding a job. This puts a downer on everything. Still, if I put in a bit of effort this coming week I could be gainfully employed and spending my days wishing I was out riding. Kazuko found a job although I suspect it found her. She was hoping to get a job near where we live but somehow stumbled on to an old friend who offered her a job in the south of town. She was going to spend the weekend thinking about it and would have started in a couple of weeks but somehow she got a phone call yesterday and by the time she had hung up, she was starting work on Monday.

The pista has gone through several transitions during the course of the week. I flipped the back wheel around to turn her into a proper fixie instead of a coastable single-speed and took her on what may well be the basis of my regular training ride:

Training ride: click for more

Training ride: click for more

Once you get out of Sapporo, the riding seems pretty good but I haven’t found a way not to spend at least 20 minutes stopping and starting for traffic lights on the way out. At least it’s good interval training – I take off as quickly as I can to keep up with the car in front and try to be behind the same one at all the lights. I don’t know why I keep hearing about the Zen of fixie riding. Once I got the confidence up not to brake so heavily, I got up to 45kph going down one hill and all I could think was how un-Zenlike it would be to fly over the handlebars because I couldn’t pedal as fast as the wheel was spinning. Then again, perhaps that’s when the true revelations arrive. I do have new respect for people who ride fixies without brakes but that’s mainly because you should always respect the insane – they’re unpredictable at the best of times.

Then later in the week, my new handlebars arrived at Cycle Ono so I was able to get the pista looking a bit racier:

New bars

New bars

Side on

Side on

I realise now that Mr Kubota at Cycle Ono had a different vision to mine and was wanting to retain the bike’s old-style look. Hence the ye olde skoole brake hoods. He was strongly hinting I should rub brown handlebar tape which in combination with the hoods would probably offset the saddle nicely. There has been furious debate on internet forums this week about this new look and by that, I mean Cam prefers the old bars and Alf would like to see white handlebar tape and a fizik saddle. (Note to marketing experts: phonetic symbols are not readily available on the average keyboard. Please contact Prince for further information.) The drops are definitely more comfortable for training rides.

There’s a lake to the south called Lake Shikotsu that I’d like to ride out to at some point but on Sunday Kaz and I did a little exploratory ride in that direction. After labouring into a headwind and up a nice, steady climb, we decided we’d take a look at the Sapporo Arts Park then turn around and head home. Looks like there’s a jazz festival coming up so we’ll have to see if we can’t make it along to some of it:

Chasing the train

Chasin' the Trane

It costs to get in so they wouldn’t let us ride around, but the front area looks like this:

Sapporo Art Park

Sapporo Art Park

Interestingly, the three sculptures on the water are floating freely. I decided not to swim out to them, though. And in conclusion, here are some photos I took on the way to leaving. Many thanks again to Cam and Alf for the lift to the airport.

Karl's new beast

Karl's new beast

DSCN0276

DSCN0278

DSCN0282

Welcome to Japan

Welcome to Japan

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