Tractor beams, wineries, and flat tires

This past weekend the summer weather cooled enough to justify getting on the bike again. I did some exploring of the Fuchu Furusato Nature Park (that’s where I took the photo above). There’s a golf course at the top of the hill there, and it’s a relatively convenient place to get over Kureha Mountain (It’s called a mountain but it’s more of a long hill) to the cycling on the other side. However, because of the golf course you have a moderate amount of traffic on the road up, and I was curious about whether there was a road that would allow me to avoid having to cycle together with that traffic (there is).

There’s also a ‘pond’ (Furudo Pond) and according to Google, a road going around the pond, and I wanted to see how cycle-friendly that road was (it wasn’t):

I should have taken a picture, but after the road turned to gravel, it pretty quickly turned into churned forest floor. On a hybrid bike without suspension, with my feet locked into spd pedals, I decided it best to turn around before I had the drama of some spectacular accident. The beware of bears and wild boar signs didn’t help the case for continuing forward instead of turning around. Neither did having listened to an NPR story that morning about an emergency room physician paralyzed in a mountain biking accident. I should have gotten a picture of the trail, but didn’t think to take one until I was back on paved road. I should also offer my apologies to the half dozen spiders I picked up in the forest. I’m sure they worked very hard to create their webs only to have a foreigner come and rip them from their homes.

After that, I pretty much stuck to roads I know. I passed the entrance to the Toyama Astronomical Observatory and headed up to a fork where National Roads 237 and 432 meet. Going left would have taken me up a hill, through a short tunnel, then basically back to where I had started. Going right could eventually take me to Horaisan, a local winery:

The ensuing conflict in my decision making process is captured pretty well in my texts with Jerry Talandis:

As the texts above summarize, I made it to the winery, unlocking the Buy a Bottle of Wine and Drunken Party at my Place Tonight achievement badges, but about two kilometers from Jerry’s place my tire went flat and that was the end of the cycling adventure for the day.

I called Yuki to rescue me, walked the rest of the way to Jerry’s place, and we drank coffee and had Panda Panda bread until the cavalry arrived.

Could I carry a spare tube and/or a patch kit? Yes. But I would much rather fix a flat in my parking lot than on the side of the road with additional hours of cycling to get home after I’m done with my repairs. And once the bicycle is on the back of the car, it’s much faster and easier to simply drop it off at the bike shop. That’s what I elected to do. I picked it back up on Sunday.

And the rain clouds were closing in. Yes, that’s right. I’ll blame it on the rain

Here’s the day’s course according to Google. This time I only made it about 34 km (21 miles) before the flat (Google didn’t register the flat and switching to walking). My sister, on the other hand, ‘only’ went on a 50 mile cycle ride over the weekend, so don’t worry; she’s still way ahead of where I am.