The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populated area in the world with more than 37 million people. With this many people in such a small concentrated area, it is not designed to be a road cyclist's dream. But despite its huge population, cycling in Tokyo proved to be a great way to discover the city if you don’t want to travel via the trains underground.
When you want to do some sightseeing in a major city like Tokyo, public transportation is the way to go. Thanks to it’s perfectly organized metro system, you travel around the city in no time and at almost no cost. Although you can travel between hotspots in a flash, you don't get to experience much else beyond the train cars in between stops.. Therefore, we decided to go sightseeing in Tokyo by bike, because #OutsideIsFree…
We started our ride in the Shibuya area, the most energetic district in Tokyo with countless restaurants and shops and, of course, the famous “scramble crossing”. From there on we rode to Yoyogi park, one of the biggest parks in Tokyo and a green lung in the city. We continued our ride to visit some highlights such as: the 2020 Olympic Stadium, Sakuradamon Gate, the Hamarikyu Gardens, and the Tokyo Tower, which is inspired by the Eiffel Tower in Paris. In total, we did a 30 km ride across downtown Tokyo. Needless to say, we took our time to take it all in and get a good feel for the city.
Enter our friend Shimizu-San from LoveCyclist.me and his cycling buddies. He invited us for an evening ride in Tokyo, to show us how it’s done. Shimizu-San and his crew started pseudo-interval training between the countless traffic lights of Tokyo as we accelerated to 40km/h out of a stop, then slammed our brakes at the next stoplight. During the 3-hour ride, they showed us Tokyo nightlife. Instead of visiting discotheques or the traditional “izakaya” bars, we embraced Japanese culture with a stop at the Senso-Ji temple. From there on, we headed back to the hotel, but with adrenaline still pumping through our veins, it was difficult to catch some sleep.
In Belgium, our cycling superhighways are the paths along the canals and rivers. In Japan, things aren't much different. If you want to experience a regular group ride in Tokyo, it’s better to go to the big cycling lane next to the Arakawa River rathe than through the cities. Together with the bike shop Tokyo Wheels, we organized a Social Saturday ride with about 15 participants to the northern part of Tokyo. Riding next to Arakawa River is about the only place in Tokyo that you can ride without stopping for traffic lights. Therefore, it can be crowded in the weekend, but it’s understandable why it is that popular. A perfectly paved stretch of car-free road for more than 20 km is the perfect playground for cyclists who live in this city. During our ride we stopped for lunch in the area of Toda before heading back to Tokyo Wheels. It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning in Tokyo and to understand how and where Tokyo cyclists actually ride.
If you would like to discover Tokyo by bike, please take a look on our Strava account to have access to the routes.