Japan is one country in Asia that enjoys a bicycle lifestyle. Numerous children and adults bike their way to school and their offices and then back home every day. In addition, bike tours (guided and self-guided) are offered by many agencies to visitors wanting to have a nature trip outside the city on two wheels.
Bicycling is a way of life in Japan. All streets have bicycle lanes that provide a safe area for people to pedal their way to their destinations.
Not many bicycle enthusiasts who travel the world are aware of Japan as a great biking destination. With its diverse geography, the country is in fact one of the best places to travel by bike. Long stretches of bicycle routes are in place some of which provide marvelous scenery and terrains. The best part is that the roads are well paved, in good condition and free from traffic that cyclists can be sure to have a wonderful experience pedaling even in remote areas.
When biking in the city, though, it’s not necessary to wear a helmet. Just be aware that the roads are narrow, traffic can be heavy and bicycles are now allowed on trains unless they have been partially dismantled and placed in a carry on bike bag called rinko bukuro. When on the road, ride on the left hand side.
Rental bikes are available in various locations throughout the country. Normally, they can be found at train stations, tourist information centers, hotels and bicycle rental shops.
History of Cycling in Asia
The 1860s saw the bicycle boom worldwide with the invention of the pedal propulsion. By 1869, Rev. E. Jonathan Scobie invented the first rickshaw as a way to carry his disabled wife around Yokohama.
In the 1870s, Japan began manufacturing bicycles featuring a boneshaker that fits the Japanese body size.
By the year 1892, Eisuke Miyata created the first Japanese diamond frame safety bicycle at the Miyata gun factory. The bike’s frame was made of solid steel, the same material used in making rifle barrels.
Japan was well known for its Ordinary style or the Dharma bicycle in the olden days. The name Dharma, which the Japanese
believed to be a sign of good luck, came from an Indian monk who founded the Zen sect in China.
A bicycle club also existed in 1886, although it’s not confirmed whether it’s the first club of its kind in the country. Four men named Tanakadate, Sawai, Hirota and Wada were credited for organizing the group.
Image via sturesearcher