Poor bike

It's supposed to be bent but it's not. It's great.


I'm using MAPS.ME for offline map use for the cycling trip, and have been doing so for the past 2-3 trips. It's an absolutely fantastic app that's well worth the money. Before going on the trip I scout out potential routes with Google Earth, creating a bunch of placemarks for youth hostels, camp sites, convenience stores, potential sights and  interesting-looking roads. I don't decide in advance where to go but I do have a rough idea of the things I'll be passing.  When done I upload the placemarks to MAPS.ME via Dropbox. When on the trip I switch my phone to airplane mode and just use the GPS, which greatly reduces battery usage. I usually end up with way more than half battery left at the end of each day.

It's unbelievable how painless this process is compared to the first big cycling trip I did, in the pre-smartphone age. Back then I was carrying around a thick map book meant for motorcyclists, which had all the roads of a particular section of Japan, and also the youth hostels and camp sites. I navigated by compass and by trying to remember the page of the book I was on and the crossings I would encounter, but I inevitably had to reach for the book every 20 minutes or so. It was quite frustrating. I ended up having to buy a new map book two or three times during that trip since they don't cover that much area. And since I didn't want to carry that much weight around I threw the old ones away. (Or rather, left them at youth hostels and camp sites for others to find). I am definitely pleased with the state of modern technology when it comes to navigation.

Last time I traveled very light and was very focused. I was going to do the same this time, but am feeling kind of happy-go-lucky. I ended up buying a new DSLR for the trip. It's been a while since I owned a good one. I'm also still not sure about whether to bring a GoPro or not. I don't have specific plans to use a GoPro anywhere but I guess it's not that much extra weight to carry around. Yup, I'll take it.

Posted in Spirit of Japan 3