A busy April – Diary

It’s been a busy month for us, and a really good month too. We collected our bikes, and took them out for a long day ride. We planned a test overnight trip, but we had to postpone it because of a trivial injury. As you read this, if everything goes to plan, we are somewhere near Yonezawa in the middle of our Honshu Coast to Coast tour. It’s been a busy month, but that’s the way we like it.

We collected our bikes from Mr Sato’s shop in Sendai. The service that we received there was absolutely fantastic. Using an indoor trainer, he took us through the process of fitting our bikes, and helped us choose peripherals like handlebar tape, and a ladies saddle for Laura. He gave us a lock and some consumables for free as part of the service, and he was warm, friendly and informative throughout. When we had an email from someone who’d seen our gallery on Reddit, we didn’t hesitate to endorse Mr Sato. We can’t express enough how much we recommend ordering through a good bike shop, rather than online. The service that a good mechanic offers, both before and after ordering, is worth paying for, in our opinion.

In related news, this month we published another Cycle Touring Question of the Week. The topic was how to prepare a new bike for its first tour. Thank you to everybody who contributed. You can read our conclusions here. As suggested, we planned a short test overnight trip to a local nature reserve to try out our camping equipment. Unfortunately, the plan was postponed at the eleventh hour because David injured his finger. The next weekend we had a nice day trip as a kind of replacement test ride, and we ironed out a few creases with our gear at that stage. Hopefully it’ll be enough preparation for our Coast to Coast ride.

Lastly, on April 27th, we set off on our Honshu Coast to Coast tour. In fact, depending on when you read this, and whether our post-dated upload is successful, we might well be on tour when you read this. If you’d like to know more about our plan, there’s some information here . If you’re interested in following our progress, we’re hoping to update our Crazy Guy On A Bike journal from the road using our iPhones. We’ll post a tour report here too, of course. Getting ready for this trip is partly why this month has been so busy. Enjoying our trip will make it all worthwhile.

Reading List

This month’s reading list has some real gems.

Shane Cycles writes about his experiences touring with a folding bike. It looks like a lot of fun, and there are plenty of photos and even a video. Highly recommended.

On a lighter note, the Guardian’s bike blog asked an important question. Should male cyclists shave their legs? What do you think?

Tom Allen’s advice on how to cycle around the world seems disarmingly simple at first. The more I’ve thought about what he said, the more I’m sure that he’s right. Simple isn’t stupid. Take a look.

There are some astonishing pictures in Jude’s post about cycling in Central Asia in winter. Extreme conditions, hospitable local people. Marvellous.

Finally, Colin at Cycling Scot once more decorates the reading list with his work. His article on the excitement that can be found in maps will strike a chord with many of us, while at the same time offering a personal insight into his active mind. A joy to read.

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