About a year and a half ago, the world’s great leaders descended upon Lake Toya, roughly 100km south-west of Sapporo, for the 2008 G8 summit where, among other things, they resolved to cut world carbon emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2050. Evidently, from pledges made at Copenhagen, they want someone else to make the cuts though or perhaps, like me with a homework assignment, they think they can put off making them until New Year’s Eve 2049.

Slightly less than a week ago, three of the world’s great cyclists (this may be a slight exaggeration) descended upon Lake Toya to cycle a lap, have a bite to eat and warm up in the water of one of the local onsen. In the interests of the climate, we eschewed our private jet and instead took up the generous offer by our friend and Team Attic teammate Mr Kon to drive us there.

There's our lake with the red line around it.

To be honest, our visit to Toyako had nothing to do with reliving the past excesses of the world’s leaders and more to do with Mr Kon’s suggestion that it’s warmer for riding there than in Sapporo, which turned out to be not so very much warmer at all. Kazuko shook off a week of illness and got up bright and early to make lunch for us yet was strangely unprepared to bring me a cup of coffee in bed so I had to get up to review her work.

Kazuko, busy in the kitchen.

Sausages, with room for egg.

Kazuko Fried Chicken and not a vege in sight.

As you can see, we have plenty of opportunity for cutting our carbon footprint by, at some later date, changing to vegetarianism. And there was another tray of onigiri to get through as well. Nice work, Kaz.

There was no snow on the ground in Sapporo but we had to cross some mountains to get there and we soon got into some snow.

Mr Kon was in charge of transport.

And it started snowing in the mountains. Oddly enough.

Luckily for us, we basked in a sultry two degrees or so at Toyako and I only had temporary cause to regret not bringing another layer of clothes. We parked the car and hit the road.

Getting ready to go. I think Kazuko is hiding behind the open door.

Because it was so clearly cold and not warm, I quickly decided to ignore all the evidence to the contrary and become a climate change contrarian. “There’s no evidence the world is getting warmer,” I espoused as we hit the road. “In fact, the world has been cooling since 1998,” I claimed, to the amazement of all around me. To fit in with my new climate denial chums, especially those in politics, I’ve decided to start believing in God as well. Because although there is not a single scientific body of national or international standing that holds a dissenting stand on climate change, I still think there’s room for doubt, I’m still confident the existence of God is a scientific certainty.

So off we headed for a lap around the lake:

A great place for a summit.

Mr Kon steps up the pace.

Kazuko is actually colder than she looks.

Not long after this shot, Kazuko told us to go ahead as, after a week’s illness, she was having trouble keeping up. Being the gentlemen that we are, we left her behind. I’m sure she regretted that quite soon as we were riding into the wind and then it started snowing and she had no one to hide behind. I forgot to get my camera out while it was snowing but if you look at the photo below quite closely, I’m sure you’ll see some just-melted snow on my eyebrows. It’s quite novel cycling while snow builds up on your sleeves and gloves.

The sun's come out but it has no warmth! And how did I manage to look fat in this photo?

The lap around the lake was about 40km and both scenic and enjoyable. Also quite flat for a change.

That's an island in the middle.

On the way back, not too far from where we left the car, we passed one peak that had volcanic steam coming from it, which put me in mind of pompous buffoon Ian Plimer’s assertion that global warming is actually caused by volcanoes. And judging from his interview on Lateline, the role of the climate “skeptic” is to ask questions but not to actually answer any on the pack of lies that you assert as truth. Poor old George Monbiot looks like either is head is going to explode or he’s going to burst into tears. I suppose it’s quite rare to come across such brazen dishonesty.

When we got back to the car park, Kazuko wasn’t there yet, so I phoned her to learn that she had been held up because her chain had come off. I don’t know how that can have happened, I only adjusted the front derailleur the other day. We picked her up and then drove to an onsen that Mr Kon knew, where we ate lunch and enjoyed sitting in hot water.

It clearly hadn’t stopped snowing in the mountains while we were down at the lake and we had a jolly white trip home.

At least it was nice and warm in the car. (Is that localised global warming?)

I enjoyed the ride around the lake so much, I’ve pledged to lower my carbon emissions by riding out there some time next year when the weather warms up again. And here in Sapporo the snow has finally caught up with us. This was my walk to the subway station on Tuesday morning:

Even the colonel was hiding inside.

So it looks as if I’ll have to persist with cycling on the indoor trainer. Now if I can only find a way to put the energy from that to use, I’ll be able to power at least two light bulbs. The 60W ones, not the 100W ones, of course.

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8 Comment on “Toyako summit: warm globally, cool locally

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