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.