Category Archives: cycling

Crows along Yasugawa

On Sunday, March 18, 2018, I was cycling down the north bank of Yasugawa when I heard some noisy crows perched in nearby trees.

When I ride my touring bike, I carry a small audio recorder and microphones. For this recording I used a Sony PCM-M10 recorder and Clippy Stereo EM172 mics by FEL Communications Ltd. To mimic human hearing, a quasi-binaural sound image was made by placing the mics on either side of my bicycle handlebar bag. I prefer to use trees about the diameter of an adult human head, but I use the handlebar bag when I cannot find a tree.

Trek 520 touring bike with audio recorder and mics on handlebar bag in Yasu City

The Compass app on my iPhone shows the location, direction, and time.

Compass and geolocation app on bicycle handlebar bag in Yasu City

As we can see on the map, this location is between a river and near the edge of a suburban area. With aircraft overhead, vehicles on nearby roads, and rural and suburban human activities, this place is quite noisy, even on Sunday.

In everyday life we filter out much of the noise. When the crows are not so noisy, I suppose most people experience this environment as a peaceful and quiet little park, just as it appears in photographs.

Trek 520 touring bike in Yasu City

Trek 520 touring bike in Yasu City

Calm lake with two boulders in left foreground and low mountains in the background.

Bike Ride to Hikone

On August 13, 2014, I rode my touring bike along Lake Biwa to Hikone Harbor and back via Notogawa Suisha (waterwheel) and Dainaka. It had been a while since I’d gone such a distance, but I know the route well, and it was a pleasant ride with nice weather except for a little rain late in the afternoon. I drank several liters of water, and the light rain cooled me down and gave me a little boost of energy near the end of the ride. The weather was about as good as it gets for cycling in mid August.

Along the way I stopped several times and made a couple of audio recordings that I’ll post later. At such a leisurely pace my average speed was only 19.9 KPH, and the ride took most of the day. I was passed by many younger and faster cyclists on racing bikes, but back home I still felt great after 101.11 kilometers.

Ride to Biwako after Typhoon 11 and Super Moon

Typhoon 11 of 2014 passed through western Japan on August 11. By midnight the southern sky was clear enough to see the super moon, although fast-moving clouds from the southwest often obscured the view.

Super Moon at 00:03 on August 11, 2014

Super Moon at 00:03 on August 11, 2014

The morning of August 11th was clear in the east, so I took a 36 km bike ride down along Yasugawa to Biwako and along to lake to just north of the Hino River, where I saw some windsurfers far out on the lake between Omihachiman and Oki Island. A strong wind continued to blow from the southwest. The ride home against the wind was exhausting, and heavy clouds came up from the southwest. I didn’t even think of taking more photos on the way home.

On the way to Biwako I saw two turtles. The first one was a Japanese pond turtle with a diameter about the size of my head. These turtles are very common here along rivers and lakes. The second one, about the size of my hand, was a more colorful species I hadn’t seen before. After searching The Reptile Database and studying photos on the Web, I think that turtle a red-eared slider (trachemys scripta elegans), a non-native species. (If you can confirm or correct the identification, please let me know!) Both turtles had just crossed the embankment road and were moving away from Yasugawa, down toward the canal at the base of the embankment.

Biwako, Rice Fields, and an ELVIS License Plate

August 1, 2014, was a hot but overcast day here in Shiga Prefecture. I took a short mid-day bike ride down along Yasugawa to Biwako, rode north along the lake for a few kilometers, and then returned to Yasugawa and rode home. I carried some camera gear, including a new tripod that I wanted to try.

Trek 520 touring bike and photo gear at Biwako, north of Yasugawa.

Trek 520 touring bike and photo gear at Biwako, north of Yasugawa.

The overcast sky was nice for cycling, but it made Biwako look a bit gloomy.

Biwako

A little north of Chuzu Ohashi, the bridge that crosses Yasugawa, a stand of large trees serves as a windbreak. Their trunks have been bent by the prevailing northwesterly wind from the lake.

Trees along Biwako

A few kilometers north along the lake I turned back and took a narrow road toward the Tsutsumi intersection and Japan Route 477. This is farm country, mostly rice fields.

Rice Fields with Mikamiyama in the background

Rice Fields with Mikamiyama in the background

Near the Tsutsumi intersection there is a small machine shop. The rear half of a car (an old Suzuki Jimny) is mounted high on the wall that faces the road.

Car rear half on a Wall with ELVIS fake license plate near Tsutsumi.

Car rear half on a Wall with ELVIS fake license plate near Tsutsumi.

I’ve passed that spot dozens of times, but until today I hadn’t noticed the fake license plate on the car.

ELVIS fake license plate on car rear half mounted to a wall.

ELVIS fake license plate on car rear half mounted to a wall.

So, I spotted ELVIS in Moriyama today.

Small world.

Winter cycling 2010-2011

Mountain bike from back in snow near Takano Shrine

At the end of 2010 we had a lot of snow here in Shiga. On 31 December 2010 I didn’t get very far on my old mountain bike, but it was a beautiful day.

Greg Peterson standing with Trek 520 bike

As a New Year’s resolution for 2012, I hope to get outdoors more often on my 1996 Trek 520 touring bike. It’s taken me thousands of kilometers around Shiga Prefecture (and a few in Mie). In 2008 I overhauled it and added a Brooks B17 saddle, a Carradice Barley saddlebag, and Schwalbe Marathon tires (Marathon XR 700x35c). It’s not fast, but it’s very comfortable and reliable, even on dirt roads.

In 2011 I got off to a good start in early February, but I haven’t gone cycling very often since rainy season, which began in late May. We had a lot of rain, and then I became extremely busy with weekend events at the university. Autumn was a disaster. In October and November I worked many weekends, it rained some Sundays, and then I caught a cold that lasted several weeks. In 2012 I hope to motivate myself to get back on the bike and ride more often.