Japan - Shimoda

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May 20th 2016
Published: May 20th 2016
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Izunagaoka to Shimoda
And you thought Cornwall was lumpy. You haven't been down the west coast of the Izu Peninsula then. We were a bit daunted this morning by the prospect of 110km and 2,400m of climbing but we might have got stronger during the tour because we all did it and could still stand up at 5pm when we finished. One good thing is that the climbs were relatively short, usually about 2 km and were obviously followed by a nice descent which allowed a bit of a rest. The gradients were not over kind and whilst averaging 7% went up to 10 or 12. The scenery was possibly the best yet of the whole tour with small fishing villages, holiday resorts, craggy bays, rocky outcrops offshore and small caves in the rocks. Small villages with seaweed drying at the edge of the road and rusty old fishing gear on the shore. I must say that worldwide, commercial fishermen are the most untidy people yet with junk left everywhere. They don't seem to take much better care of the sea in Japan since the coast is cluttered up with old ropes, floats, bouys and bits of plastic drums etc. However,
the people are lovely and each morning we get a send off by all the staff at our accommodation. At the convenience store the staff are also most helpful and whilst we understand little they are very pleasant. We haven't seen many cyclists during our tour. Apart from the 8 Ozzies we have seen maybe a dozen on the road and half of those were not Japanese. We have seen loads, of course, on shopping bikes with the saddle 6" too low and pedalling with their instep at 5 mph. The morning was hazy but the afternoon came out in brilliant sun and warm all day making the views so striking and photogenic. I now have the job of sorting out the 1000 photos I have taken over the two weeks. A good farewell buffet tonight and goodbyes to friends old and new and a special thanks to Ken. Dai and Chuck for a great tour. Roll on next year.

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