(Not) the first real day

I managed to depart Atsugi at 8AM this morning. I had roughly planned out the route the day before, to take me fairly close to the mountains so I could get some scenery, but not too close so I could avoid the big hills. It kind of worked and it kind of didn't. There were very boring and busy stretches but also very pretty and quiet stretches. All in all it's not too bad I guess. Good exercise for days to come. In addition to my butt, which started hurting after 20km today, my back has also begun to hurt. One by one components are failing as the new weakest links are found. As long as it's not my leg muscles I'm all ok with it. I'll get used to it.

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Japanese people are nice people. Two examples: at a conbini, a woman left her dog in the car with the sun pointing right at it, and it was really hot. I thought that wasn't a very nice thing to do, but she came back within the minute with a bowl of water for the dog. Nice. At a different conbini I was having a break when a car parked right up in front of me. I happened to look the owner straight in the eye, and I'm sure he must have thought me one mighty strange creature. Despite that he stepped out of the car and into the conbini, all the while leaving the engine running. A trusting people, the Japanese.

Living life on the edge (of a conbini) Living life on the edge (of a conbini)

I've had some problems with my Garmin today. Garmin's been forcing their shitty new website on me, which means a shitty new software program to synchronise the tracks with. Said program bullied me into updating my firmware, which caused me to wait for 5 minutes in the morning until the cyclocomp decided it would wake up. Then at various points during the day, the inclination and vertical speed measurements stopped working. And to make matters worse, the speed sensor keeps hitting the wheel and shifting, because if I place it too far (read: more than 1mm) away from the sensor, it only registers half the actual speed. Now, you'd think that a gps-based cyclocomp would use the gps data to autocorrect itself, but it does not such thing. It happily reports that you're plodding along at 0kph even though there's gps data that proves directly otherwise. IT USED TO BE BETTER, GARMIN!

Roads. Roads are good. Roads. Roads are good.

I happened to be cycling around 3PM when the schools were out. So much little yellow hats everywhere. I passed by a group of grade schoolers and one of them yelled out "that dude is cool!". Yay, I'm cool! Then five minutes later I passed another group and one of them shouted "that bicycle is so lame!". Ugh. You win some, you lose some.

Also: Kumagaya, what's with not allowing cyclists on the road anywhere? At least give me a decent and wide cycling path as an alternative.

Narrow.. Narrow..

----- dump truck rant begins. skip if you like to pretend that life is perfect -----

Not everyone in Japan is nice. The people I currently hate the most are those fucking dump truck drivers. I got cut off at least 5 times today by those fuckwits. One time was serious enough to raise my hand in frustration, and another time prompted me to take my middle finger out, something I seriously never do. I still can't get over how everyone in Japan drives safely except for these scumbags. Drivers of big trucks are the best; they've got skillz. Little car drivers tend to be scared shitless of bicycles, so they take a very wide berth and pass you very slowly. Nothing to worry about. Even the lorry-sized trucks, without the trailer but not dump-truck-style, are fine. I guess the dump truck is the apex predator on the Japanese roads. Light and powerful enough to be as fast as any traffic participant, and massive enough to scare anyone into submission. I get the feeling I'll be showing off my middle finger to a lot more of them during this trip.. Now, I know that some of you will suspect this is my fault, but I seriously try to cycle as considerately as possible. If there's space for them to pass, I give it to them, but when the road becomes narrower again I move back in to position, and that's when they strike. And that's just dangerous. And since there's no way in fucking hell that I'm going to brake for one of these dicks, I'm just going to take an even wider line whenever I hear that disgusting dump truck noise coming up from behind me. You shall not pass.

Posted in Spirit of Japan 2