My latest Post.

This view,this beauty
A tear unbidden
Creeps into my eye.

My stay is short
But I shall return to this place
If only my life is long enough.

Such beauty
Gazing upon it
I hope my years are many.

Bokusui Wakayama.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bookride to Kyoto.

   I don't need an excuse to go for a bike-ride, or a walk/hike for that matter. Although, in saying that, a majority of my outdoor pursuits have been executed with a purpose or plan in mind. It's just being in the outdoors that gives me the impetus to don my hiking or cycling gear and get-out and experience what "This Piece of Rock" has to offer. I guess that explains why I'm so addicted to it.
   My friend Steve, aka Florida Biking, wrote in a recent blog ("Do you remember when you were a kid?") about the benefits one experiences when out cycling. Today's outing contains many of Steve's insights regarding the benefits of cycling - fun, health, sights-'n-sounds, satisfaction - plus a shock discovery which will be the topic of a later blog.
   Today's outing did have a purpose - to visit my favorite second-hand bookshop so as to restock my supply of reading material. Reading is another of my (many) obsessions and, as it has been over a week since I had my nose in a good book, I decided on a trip into Kyoto City to satisfy my needs.

Green e Bookshop.

Green e Books is neatly tucked-away in the Marutamachi Area of Kyoto City and specialises in second-hand English books (today was my lucky day, as all books over ¥600 in price were discounted by 50% and, if you purchased three books, you could select a fourth for free. Plus the freebie box was full of books) and, after a half-hour of browsing, I came-away with seven good books (beats taking medication for my O.C.D) ranging from a couple of novels, a D.H.Lawrence classic and a book on the Krakatoa eruption.
   There are many routes to get me to Green e Books, the shortest about 50km, but, as it has been some time since my last outing and I had all the time in the world, I took the scenic-route, about 70km. The route I have done many times so, with camera in hand, I set-off with the hope I would discover something new along the way. And that I surely did. 
   As I was cycling-along the Uji River, towards the dam that controls the canal flow into the Ujigawa, I stopped to check something on my bike, and it was then that I noticed it - a Castle sitting-atop a hill in the distance (partly visible on the left of the photo). 
Approaching Chushojima.
Location - photo taken.
Location - Castle.

I can't recall how many times I have cycled this stretch of track, but this is the first time I have seen this Castle. Fushimi-Momoyama Castle will be the topic of a future blog (once I gather more information on it).

Fishing on the Yamashina Canal.

   This guy has the right idea how to spend a lazy Sunday. I don't think he cares if he catches anything, it's just the thought of chilling-out on a comfortable deck-chair with a fishing-rod in hand. With the cold temperatures at this time-of-year, most of the fish would have gone into hibernation.
   I have by now exited the track and entered the busy thoroughfares of Kyoto
City. As I pass-by the huge & impressive vermilion-colored Torii, that signifies the entrance to Heian-jinju Shrine, I can't help but notice many of the streets barricaded-off with firemen standing guard and directing traffic. Parked along the streets (photo on the right) are many fire-engines. My first thought was "oh-my-god there is a fire somewhere and a National Treasure is on fire." Then I remembered, it's "Dezomeshiki", or "New-Year's Firemen Parade". This is where, once a year, firemen, and their machines, come-out and display their techniques - emergency rescue and disaster intervention (as-well-as putting-on a show for the kids).

Coffee Break on the Chushojima Canal.
I have done my shopping and, on an outing like this, I look for an ideal spot to stop for a coffee and a bite-to-eat. On this occasion I have chosen the path that runs-alongside the Chushojima Canal. I like my coffee and it gives me the excuse to stop & rest before continuing, it also allows me to check-out what books I have purchased. The path I am following runs parallel to the canal as-well-as the Keihan Main Line, that runs from Osaka City to Kyoto City.
Time for a read.

   Wary of the cold I don't want to linger for too long. I know I still have about 30km left to ride.
Rubbish in the Canal.
  The canal branches-off from the Biwako Canal,(Map) just before it runs into the Kamo River. On this day  the canal had been drained for cleaning and, as you can see, an array of litter is exposed. This is just one of many bikes abandoned in the water-way. 
   Do you like Puns? Then check-out the building on the left. If I was in a different mode, I would have passed this (like I had the many other times I have passed-by this building). This is a classic play-on-words and one that amused me highly. At this point I am looking back at where I have come from. 
Yours Truly.
  Five hours and 69.5km later I arrive home, buzzing. I have been on a great ride, seen/experienced things I never realized were there, picked-up some great reading material, chilled-out +++++++. All that is left to do is to peel-off all that clothing (all 12-items), thanks to the cold ( a later blog) and take a shower. Then, compose this blog while the details are still fresh in my mind.
   But, before signing-off, I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge Steve at Florida Biking, for allowing me to quote from his blog. Steve posts some great blogs, that are a mixture of information and humor and I recommend you to connect to his mailing-list.
   While on the subject of blogs, I want also to recommend Charles at Trailviewmount and Kevin at Trailsnet. I always enjoy reading these guys latest blogs and chatting with them via our "Facebook" pages.
   So, until next time, happy cycling.


  1. Barry-san thanks for the kind words but it is a true honor to have been a part of this blog. An Excellent read!

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