Today’s route (the most stressful of the trip): The campground at Arashiyama was an interesting one. Most campgrounds we had stayed in so far on this trip had lush grass to pitch the tent on. Arashiyama’s tent sites were dirt. Which means that the idyllic photo below somewhat belies the […]

Cycling Across Hokkaido, Japan (Day 11): From Arashiyama to Hidaka

We had two route options today in order to get to Honbetsu Town. A 110km down-to-the-coast-then-up-again route that would take us into the bustling city of Kushiro ( A more direct 80km route that would take us across two low ridges via forestry roads (marked on Google but not available […]

Cycling Across Hokkaido, Japan (Day 9): From Akan to Honbetsu

0km logged today. All spent in this general vicinity: Essentially, the Akan Nature Recreation Campground (阿寒自然休養村野営場) is in a perfect location for spending a leisurely day. There is the International Akan Crane Center over the road, as well as a few road-side stalls selling local produce. And the icing on the […]

Cycling Across Hokkaido, Japan (Day 8): Rest day and eating ...

Route for the day: Another morning coffee shot. And a shot of coffee. I can’t really recommend the two-cup Bialetti mokapot for use on the MSR Whisperlite stove…too perilous a perch. The campground for last night, however, was great. Quiet, dark (many campgrounds in Hokkaido have the grounds’ lights on […]

Cycling Across Hokkaido, Japan (Day 7): From Lake Shirarutoro to ...

It seems somewhat paradoxical that I would start a cycle-across-Hokkaido blog mini-series with the title “a train from Sapporo to Nemuro.” But that is the start of our two-week meander by bicycle across the island, from Nemuro to Sapporo; we had to get to Nemuro somehow. And that somehow was […]

Cycling Across Hokkaido, Japan (Day 1): A train from Sapporo ...

Every year the Hokkaido University Festival takes place in June. Students prepare in teams for months in advance, culminating in four days of intense festival spirit. Here I interview students about “festival magic”…the curious pairing up of couples during the preparation and excitement of the festival. This was my first […]

College Festival Magic – The Art of Love at a ...

Japanese squat toilets, pandas, grassy farm roads, and cherry blossoms in full bloom. A great way to finish a long-weekend tour. Last night, we went to sleep with rain. This morning, we woke to glorious sunshine. And more or less immediately after wrenching ourselves out of our sleeping bags… it […]

Long Weekend Cycle-Touring in Japan | Day 4: Abira Campground ...

On the third day of our four-day cycle tour, we would face gravel forestry roads, deer carcasses,  missed turns, and the arrival of a third member to the tour. Apparently the overnight temperature dropped to -1 degrees Celsius last night. Goes to show that even early May in Hokkaido still […]

Long Weekend Cycle-Touring in Japan | Day 3: Hobetsu ...

Yesterday, we forgot to fill our camp stove fuel bottle with gasoline. This meant no warm porridge for breakfast this morning. Which meant a convenience store breakfast for us. For me this meant club sandwiches, a rice ball, yogurt, and coffee. But wait, I get ahead of myself. First we […]

Long Weekend Cycle-Touring in Japan | Day 2: Yuni to ...

Claire’s journey is “a journey to meet, record and explore music across the globe whilst travelling by bicycle. I will seek out and interview street musicians and buskers, local independent artists, labels, club nights and radio stations, all in order to listen and learn what music means to different people […]

Claire Press – Music Documentarian Cyclist

Note: I primarily skate for transport. Therefore, the review below is from a skate-for-transport perspective (see the comment from Moony Lupis below). ———- First impressions summary PROS: WheelShields – mudguards (fenders) for a longboard – are a game-changer. Commuting by skateboard on wet roads doesn’t mean road grime on your pants, shoes, and deck […]

First Impressions Review of WheelShields – Mudguards for a Longboard

For four months of the year here in Sapporo, we cycle with spiked tires. That’s mid-December till mid-March. At the beginning of winter, in December, the decision to make the change from normal tires to spikes is fraught with uncertainty: It is snowing today, but will there still be snow […]

2014 Spring Tire Change

Last night, Haidee and I and Haidee’s sister stayed the night in a yurt at Jozankei Nature Park in the foothills of Sapporo City. Despite the interior of the yurt only being separated from the walls of snow surrounding it by a thin layer of canvas, it was a warm […]

Jozankei Nature Park in Winter (Day 2)

Haidee’s sister Kylee was in Tokyo on business. Friday last week was a public holiday. Which is all to say the prerequisites for a quick long-weekend jaunt up to Sapporo were lined up for Kylee. Haidee and I decided to make it count for her. The mission was to try […]

Jozankei Nature Park in Winter (Day 1)

I spent most of today wondering why it had taken us three years to visit Takino Suzuran Park, on the outskirts of Sapporo. This gargantuan park, 395 hectares of it all, is a national government run park. In winter it is free to enter, and is a treasure trove of […]

Takino Suzuran Hillside Park in Winter (Sapporo, Japan)

Sometimes we forget how majestic the nature is here in Sapporo, so close to home. Within a 40 minute drive, a prepared individual can enjoy some impressive hills, made all the more beautiful by the annual winter snows. So I organized a short snowshoe trip for the local Hokkaido International […]

Snowshoeing near Hoheikyo Onsen (Jozankei, Hokkaido)

In summer, Ishikari beach to the north of Sapporo, Japan, is a soft sun-tanners paradise. In -10 deg C mid-winter, it freezes solid. Which means one thing: cycling perfection. Upon Alex’s invitation, I went for a bike ride there today. Alex rides a fatbike. That means his tires are huge; […]

Mid-winter cycling on Ishikari Beach

Get in and support an awesome product for keeping people who longboard for transport clean and dry – Wheel Shields: Way back in 2008, I was in western China sitting in a stifling internet cafe. I had already skated over 6,000 miles (9,600km) across the US and Europe, but in […]

Wheel Shields – get in and support a great idea

Our last two days on the road on this 2013 summer vacation cycling trip were a bit of a blur. The highway connecting Sapporo to Rumoi along the coast is a whirlwind of tunnels interspersed with little nuggets of coast. Roadside stalls lured us in with their delicious wares such […]

Japan Far North: Days 12 & 13 (Mashita to Hamanasu ...