The steady patter of raindrops form into small rivulets and run down the window of our Shanghai apartment. Vacantly staring into the featureless mist and clouds wandering through the skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, my mind drifts to places far away. It’s an excellent moment to reflect on journey’s past. Just a few days on the backside of this year’s winter solstice, our adventures in Hokkaido, Kyoto, and Hong Kong seem so far away. A new year is only a couple of days away while 2017 draws to a close, and what an incredible year it was. Twelve months filled with continual cycling and travel adventures seemed to pass so quickly. Such is the nature of time when you’re having fun. Before we plunge headlong into another year, here are a few images to recount some of our travels and places we experienced during this great year.
Adventure cycling in late autumn. We spent a few days exploring the hills and mountains surrounding Kyoto. Early in the morning, narrow urban streets led us out of the bustling city into the surrounding olive drab hills mottled with a smattering of yellows, oranges, and reds. Riding to catch the last vestiges of the autumn leaves before winter set in, we whiled away our days on two-lane roads along the edges of the Yamashiro Basin. We pedaled our way through thick pines, stands of bamboo, and groves of maple.
With the autumn closing in, the evening temperatures dropped quickly. The first pockets of crisp night air bit at our noses as we made our way along the banks of the Katsura River.
The landscape grew a deep gold. Looking back over my left shoulder, I caught a glimpse of the sun’s light fading. There’s a certain feeling I get when I look to the west while the sun is setting.
Autumn is an excellent time to explore Kyoto. The mountains and city parks are alive with fall color. The crisp, mild weather makes for pleasant cycling. Traveling by bike is the best way to experience this historic Japanese city. Both Kyoto and Osaka have vibrant cycling cultures. Kyoto is a city that gets around on bicycles. Riding here reminds me a lot of Amsterdam. Young and old are commuting on their bikes.
Kyoto is an excellent cycling destination. Bicycles are an integral part of the residents’ personal transportation. Travel websites tout the city is one of the most bicycle-friendly in Japan. So, the cycling should be fairly relaxed and easy.
Below is a quick rundown of our base plan and the setup.