I had better snap out of my post-ride stupor to report—in case you had been wondering—that yes, we did manage the final day’s ride back to Sapporo.
The last day was appropriately unspectacular. Damian and I woke up in time for the weather to surprise us only slightly by starting to rain. On the bright side, the old lady running the ryokan where we stayed gave us a discount as we paid and left.
I had had two route choices for the day. One would be more scenic and take us up through mountains and home along relatively quiet roads but my calculations showed the distance involved, as well as the climbing, would make it a bit too much for one day’s riding, so we settled on a more direct route back to town, along the Ishikari River. This also followed the railway line and took us through farmland as far as the outskirts of Sapporo.
It soon stopped raining but this was replaced by a headwind that grew during the day before somehow turning into a tailwind during our lunchbreak and pushing us home. We got back in the early afternoon and here’s how we looked:
For me, the ride was about 1550km. It’s a little less for Kazuko and Damian as they didn’t ride the brevet that I did on the rest day but still plenty of distance covered by all three of us. That none of us got any punctures is an indication of the good condition of Japanese roads.
With the ride all done, Damian and I celebrated with a visit to the bathhouse up the road for a nice, relaxing bath followed by an icy cold glass of beer. Damian spent the next day cleaning his bike and preparing for his next adventure, which is living in a buddhist temple in Kyushu for a short time. I’m keen to hear how this works out.
While Damian was cleaning his bike, I couldn’t help myself and got the pista out for a ride. After three weeks of pushing the fully-loaded Trucker about the place, it felt like I was riding a toy bike.
So all that’s left to do now is start planning next year’s trip. I’d like to spend more time exploring the mountains around Furano and also get up to Wakkanai, Japan’s northernmost town. Damian says he’d like to see how a motorbike’s gearing compares to the Brompton’s.