Tama River Ride

Mike GristGuides, Japan 10 Comments

After the success of our Arakawa River Ride, both Jason and I were chomping at the bit to get out and cycle-camp some more. Jason was keen to hit up the Arakawa again, whereas I wanted to try something new: the Tama river.

The Tama river has been a steady and recurrent part of my life for as long as I’ve been here. I’ve been playing ultimate frisbee alongside its banks at Futako-Tamagawa for over 5 years, I once walked its length from my old apartment out in Minami-Osawa 20km into the city, I BBQ-ed by its side with all my old GEOS students in Fuchu for my leaving party back in 2004, nearly got swept away while crossing it in the rapids when heading to Canadian Mike’s birthday party last year, first flew my Power Kite on its wide-open flood-plain at Keio-Tamagawa, I’ve gone on dates with girls walking alongside it, I’ve partied, camped, and watched generator-powered movies beside it, and it was always there for me like a steadfast and loyal friend.

Riding it to its source in the mountains has seemed like a grand idea ever since I got a bike.

We set off early on Saturday and blitzkrieged our way through Shibuya, down to Futako-Tamagawa, and onto the river. From there we grinded about 40km, left the river, and headed for Mitake mountain.

At Mitake we decided to climb up to the cable car. At the cable car we decided to get in, with our bikes, and ride to the top. At the top we decided to portage our bikes to another mountaintop 2km away- Hinode, the mountain of the leaving of the sun, or Sunset Mountain.

It was grueling. I was exhausted. We had little water and only the food we’d brought with us, but we had the mountain top to ourselves. We watched the ethereal mist roll in to cocoon us in a fuzzy white shell of moon-light and fog, and we didn’t have to share it with anyone.

The next day we rolled down, separated at Fuchu so I could ride Koshu-Kaido Street, which also has meaning for me, and arrived home in the afternoon after a total of 9 hours in the saddle and 158km covered.

Here’s the video:

Me and Jason on Hinode:

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Comments 10

  1. You got Jason to sing on video!! Did you trick him into it?

    Have to admit Mike, that was pretty damn funny! Good bit of filming there. Bit with you waking up in the morning, doing the running commentary, the fast forwarding, the slow motion, etc. Nice. Did Jason help film any of that or did you do it all yourself? Must’ve taken hours and hours to splice it all together.

    Is this another video that Jason refuses to watch?

  2. Hey what an adventure. GReat little video too and 2 of my favourite songs….Coming round the mtn. and the song from Rawhide…american tv show….long ago!!!
    Glad you are really getting on and seeing Japan.
    Have you sent this to the American cousins? You are the dead ringer for Uncle Bobby as you were getting out of bed!!! At similar ages I mean.

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    Hey mom, thanks- I don’t know why I started singing Rawhide- it just came to me. Then of course I had to use the actual music. Looking like Uncle Bobby- and now my hair is really starting to thin out too! Arrgh!

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    Mike- I was pretty surprised that Jason sang like that- I expected instead a look of distaste as he went by- he wasn’t keen on all the filming I did. Once he sang that though- I had to use it.

    I shot it all myself- some with the help of a gorilla pod. Making new angles and shot positions was great fun, and splicing it together took hours yeah.

    Jason has seen it- I think he enjoyed it.

  5. The singing I did was serious and the location and place were appropriate. It just came out naturally. We had been coming round a mountain for awhile.

    I didn’t need to see that stuff on video because I was there while most of it was being filmed, so I already heard it all. I did watch most of the finished video, mostly just skipping the scary in tent talking….

    Mike was late to meet me for our ride…now I know why.

    His editing skills have improved….now about that talking directly into the camera stuff…….

  6. That looked like fun. It makes me want to pay you another visit and maybe we could do a rerun of that terifying ghost ride for your film!!! xx

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    It was good fun- though slogging up the mountain with bikes was exhausting.

    As for ghost ride- great idea, though they probably wouldn’t let me film it. I’ll have to take you to one of the Japan ruins sites I’ve found and we’ll camp overnight there. That’ll be better than a ghost ride for spookiness!

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