A bicycle built for me

So, I officially have wheels in Tokyo now! This is how I roll as of last weekend:

Selecting a bike to buy in Japan an easy decision to make. Every standard bicycle has exactly the same features – the only decisions you have to make are the colour and whether or not you want gears. There’s not even men’s and women’s models – there’s only one basic frame type.

The key word you’d use to describe most bikes here is “functional”: no frills, and everything you need to make it useful day-to-day comes with it.

Most usefully – a light, which makes a slightly eerie whirring noise when you turn it on:

I love this ingenious ring lock. Slide your key down the left hand side to open the lock, and it stays there when you’re riding. When you park your bike, slide the ring to lock the spokes, remove the key and you’re all set. Here, you can see it locked:

Also standard are a big front basket (not just for girls, really!) and a rear carrier, as well as a very sturdy “triangular” style stand. All that, and it only cost 8000 yen (AUD $80) to boot!

Actually, there was one small problem buying a bike. I almost felt obligated to buy this bike too:

The people’s transport, indeed.

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6 thoughts on “A bicycle built for me

  1. Hey bro,
    Nice wheels. I can’t remember if I told you about that or not when we had a chat about Tokyo. You now have all the essentials for Tokyo living.
    On a side note talking about blog stuff, because your site is getting picture heavy, and the rest of the world don’t have Japan’s wicked download speeds (sob), try using the ‘read more’ link thingy after perhaps the first photo and blurb. I just did it to my blog yesterday and it makes the whole thing load a lot quicker. Obviously up to you, but just a thought.
    btw any crazy Shibuya/Rappongi nights yet?
    benn

  2. Yep, certainly took your advice on the jitensha purchase! It’s strangely liberating to have a bike after hoofing it everywhere for a while – kind of like when I got my first car. The last bike I had was when I was about 12, so it’s a nice “reliving my childhood” experience too.

    Fair cop on the images! I’ll give what you said a go. Alternatively, I have lots of Internets here – maybe I can download some spare interweb-packets for you and mail them on a DVD?

    No crazy nights really, but I am getting the chance to go lots of places for dinner at least. I take lots of photos of food, so I’m hoping to post a few of them here… it’s hard to go wrong, no matter what you order!

  3. I’ve got a bike, you can ride it if you like.
    It’s got a basket, a bell that rings
    And things to make it look good.
    I’d give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it.

    (Syd Barrett – 1966)

  4. “I’ve got a cloak. It’s a bit of a joke.”

    “I know a mouse, and he hasn’t got a house.”

    Really, that’s the guy that was in Pink Floyd? Wow.

  5. Yep. Roger Barrett – nicknamed ‘Syd’ because one Roger (Waters) was clearly enough, and besides it’s a cooler title anyway – was the original creative genius behind Pink Floyd. The first album was basically his own, and his last – the Floyd’s music from then on took its direction from Waters and imo suffered as a result.

  6. Pingback: The Outsiders « 4000 Miles North

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