Commuting Bike

Red touring bicycle facing left along a paved path with bushes beside the road on the right.
Maruishi Balboa, a 1980 touring bike with a 2014 double kickstand along the road from Ritto City to JR Moriyama Station.

I commute about 3 kilometers by bicycle from my home in Ritto City to JR Moriyama Station. My commuting and general-purpose bike is an old Maruishi Balboa touring bike that I bought in 1980. Last week I installed a new double kickstand to make it more stable when I park it.

This bike has been to the Pacific Ocean, Kyoto, Uji, and on roads everywhere in Shiga Prefecture. Many times it has climbed up river valleys into the Suzuka mountains and taken me on several trips around Lake Biwa. In 33 years on the road, that old bike has been knocked down three times by cars, and in May, 2008, it was hit head-on by another bicycle: front wheels hit straight on, both rims were destroyed in figure-8 bends, the other rider, a high school girl blinded by car lights, was uninjured, and I suffered facial cuts and a badly sprained left hand. I’ve rebuilt the wheels, and many other parts have been replaced several times.

The Balboa has spent a lot of time outdoors, so the frame looks awful, but it rides well and I don’t have to worry about the abuse it gets in the bike parking lot at the train station. I lock it, but I doubt that anyone would want to steal it. Now I have four bicycles, including a newer (1996) touring bike, but for daily use my old Balboa is my first choice.

445-29 Takano, Ritto City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan

Published by Greg Peterson

Professor Emeritus, Kyoto Notre Dame University (1977-2020). Since 1980 I have lived in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, where I enjoy outdoor activities, especially photography, hiking, and cycling.

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