After yesterday’s efforts, today went like a breeze. Like a tailwind, in fact, which is what we had for much of the time. We managed to get some rain but not nearly as much as yesterday and it was cold enough that we decided not to stay at the camp ground we had originally booked but to go for the warmth of another business hotel instead. This has been an excellent decision: we’ve just come back from dinner and it is icy cold outside. Kazuko is running a hot bath right now.
We didn’t spend a lot of time riding today but we did spend a lot of time on the road. Starting from last night’s accommodation, we made our way to route 235, which we will be following for the next few days. Once on it, it ran parallel to an express way. Last year the Japanese government made many express ways toll free and I think this may have been one of them as it was busy and our road was almost free of traffic. We rode past a landscape that was still more winter than spring with most of the trees not yet budding. Our morning was pleasant with a grey sky but no rain. Without many hills today, we found a good rhythm and the three of us were cycling fairly near each other all the way. After a few hours cycling, we stopped at a michi no eki – a kind of roadside rest area – for a hot can of coffee. While there, I found a bicycle shop on my iphone map so we decided to see if it was open and try to fix my broken spoke.
The guy at the bicycle shop was full of enthusiasm and spent quite some time going through his box of spokes, trying to find the right one. While he was doing this, I noticed the smell of alcohol in the air but I couldn’t say for sure whether he’d been having a crafty one that morning or was recovering from the night before. I can’t imagine he thought he’d have many customers today. In the end, he couldn’t find a spoke so I had to use one of the spare ones that came with the Trucker. The bicycle shop guy seemed impressed that I had my own spoke and must have decided that I knew more than him. He ended up handing over the tools to get my rear cassette off and sat there watching me put the new spoke on and looking quite interested in the whole process. I’d hate to tell him that was the first time I’d put a new spoke on. I also needed new brake pads as the ones I have were worn down by the rain, grit and heavy braking while descending yesterday. He didn’t have any pads that would fit so I swapped my front and rear pads. By the time this was all done, not only was I filthy but we had been there more than an hour and it had started raining.
The middle part of the ride was spent riding along the coast in the rain. The coastal scenery was very nice but I didn’t get the camera out all day as I just didn’t want to stop and get cold. We got steadily closer to our destination but the wind was pretty cold so, as mentioned earlier, it wasn’t hard to convince ourselves to stay at another business hotel. Tomorrow night we are in a bungalow in a camp ground. I don’t know if it is heated or not. If not, I think we will all have to cuddle up together. I shall leave you with some pictures I took once we arrived at Shizunai and had had a warm shower. Doesn’t my dinner look tasty?