Will I be able to cycle 75km?? My Shimanami Kaido challenge (Japan, April 2020)

Will I be able to cycle 75km?? My Shimanami Kaido challenge (Japan, April 2020)

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Hi guys! I'm in Onomichi and for those  who don't know, Onomichi is well known for its cats,   for cherry blossom, there's quite a lot of those around but also it's one   of the two entry points of the Shimanami Kaido which is probably the most famous cycling road  in Japan um and that's what I'm gonna try to do not (just) today but in two or three days. This road   for those who don't know is 70 (75!) kilometers long and it goes from Onomichi to Imabari. Onomichi is in Honshu island  and Imabari is in Shikoku island so one of the   two main islands in Japan and this road goes through six/seven small islands and   and that's what I'm going to try to do: try to reach out to the other side and   I'm gonna try to show you this is the very very good bicycle that I  have to do that, that's gonna be fun. So  

I'm gonna try to sleep on one of the islands, almost mid-course and then we'll see if I made   it on the other side. 75 kilometers isn't that long, many people are doing it easily in less than a day. A lot of good cyclists are doing the  round trip for training in a few hours To me it was both a big challenge but also a leisure trip.

I stopped all the time to admire the views, take pictures and enjoy the moment. There's   a big reason why it's considered one of the  most beautiful cycling road in the world,   you're mostly going to go along the little  mountains and the sea so enjoy the journey! All right so I made it to the first bridge, I did the first island and this bridge   is actually pretty cool I'm gonna show you. So you can see (or not) that the upper deck is for   cars and the lower deck is for bicycles, pedestrians, scooters, and see the view is not too bad! Going up there was like one kilometer going up, it's like a three percent ascent which is not too much but it kind of killed my legs. I did the Shimanami Kaido in April 2020  when the cherry blossoms were in full display   and I really recommend you go at that time.  Before you probably suffer from the cold   and in summer I can't even imagine  how to do it in the blistering heat.

I'm on the second island and I did something that I don't think   a lot of people are doing when they're  cycling. There's this mountain I don't know   how it's called (I do) but basically at the top of this mountain there's some kind of temple and mostly   it has a lot of Buddha statues. I'm  gonna show you some images after that I'm pretty sure there's an easier  way to arrive here but I followed the road that uh cars are tacking and  it's a 15% climb, so let me tell   you I didn't ride on my bike, I just pushed  my bike and I'm exhausted, it took me forever.  The place is beautiful especially right  now because you got all the cherry blossoms   but I'm not sure it's worth it, I don't know I will see tonight if it was worth it because I still have a   lot of kilometers to to go and my legs are hurting so badly. Also when you're  

arriving at the parking, the car parking then  you still have like 200/300 steps to go on it's it's not very far from the Flower Center  and I think a lot of people are stopping there   it's just way up from the flowers I think. You can stop at the Flower Center and just climb   by just walking I think it's pretty steep but at  least you wouldn't have your bike to carry with   you. I don't know I couldn't find any other road so I wasn't sure but once I arrived at the top I could see other roads with natural stairs so I think it's possible to go the other way   but not with the bike but don't take the  bike, it was awful, it was terrible   So it's Mount Shira... wait I'm trying to read over there, Mount Shirataki. I mean the area is insane, you got this  amazing view of a few of the islands and it's   it's very high and obviously it's really  pretty but going there yeah... I mean I think   it's gonna be almost noon and I'm still on the second island. 4 to go! If you wish to go to Mount Shirataki, don't do it like me, do not take the road made for the cars, go to the Flower Center a bit further down  the road, drop your bike and hike. The view is  

incredible and all the cherry blossoms with  the 500 Buddha statues made a very good visit. I'm on the third island and I just went to one of the road station   to change my bike because it was just not  braking, I couldn't stop anymore with it   and it was making this kind of weird noise and everything it was terrible but then I realized   that all the bikes they presented me, they actually don't work when we use the   rear brake so we have to use the front one but I don't know how it is in your country but in France   you learn that you don't use your front one  especially when it's very downhill because then (you crash)   So I have a new bike that doesn't really stop   either but doesn't make any noise now so it's good. So I'm in, I guess, the main attraction   when you're doing this road. It's a  temple, again, but it's probably one of the  

most beautiful temple I've ever seen and between Korea and Japan I've seen a lot of temple. There's   a lot of marble around here and I can't wait  to just look around everything. It's 2.30pm   so I have quite a lot of time to visit  because I'm not that far from my accommodation for   tonight. This place is, I'm gonna show you some images, it's pretty good.  

Kosanji is probably the biggest attraction of all the islands that you'll go through. I recommend   spending at least an hour there. This is not an ancient temple it was founded in 1936 by a rich   businessman and the construction took more than 30 years. Many of the buildings are modeled after some   of Japan's most famous temples so it might not look unique but it does bring the best of what   Japan has to offer. Some will appreciate the beauty while others might think it's a bit too much.

Six degree inside when it was a pleasant  19 degree outside, you'll have to brave the   cold to discover the cave inside the temple. Lined with artifact set to represent the idea of hell   in the buddhist faith, hundreds of statues and a little waterfall I urge you not to miss it. This unique lookout is called Heights of  Eternal Hope for the Future. It's made entirely of   imported Italian marble and it's a  very bizarre yet very aesthetic area.  

16 years were needed for the sculptor Ittô Kuetani to create this immaculate white garden. And yes I do think it's a nutcracker on the top. The wind and the sun were my biggest enemies. From the last hour of the first day and during the full   second day I had to go against strong winds while I didn't expect the sun to burn my skin so quickly. The hostel was really nice, made  for cyclists, extremely clean comfy and with a lot of space.

Also there is a Family Mart  in front of it so you can eat on the beach. It's the beginning of day two and  as you can see the wind is strong.   It was already strong yesterday  afternoon during the third island and   well everyone says that it's easier to do  the road from Imabari to Onomichi because   mostly you're gonna have the wind pushing you whereas in my case I always have the wind against me.   I loved the third island, I thought it was  really beautiful but it was a struggle and   I basically had the choice of sleeping at the  end of the third island and have this really   amazing sunset view or going to the beginning of the fourth, so doing the bridge yesterday and   not having the sunset but just the  thought of starting the day with a bridge   it was just too much. Sunset was not worth it. So I did the bridge on the beginning of the   fourth island. I mean the view waking up, I just had breakfast just here, that's  

not too bad, that's all right I'm not that  disappointed of not seeing the sunset. The bridge was tough with the wind and everything so I hope that the wind will lessen during the day because basically I'm literally at the middle. It's 75 kilometers   I did 37, so I have literally the same amount of cycling today than I had yesterday which is not   a comforting thought. I mean my legs right now are okay, my neck is a bit sore but the huge issue is the pain in my private parts let's say... this one I seriously don't know   if i'm gonna make it to Imabari because just the thought of sitting on the bike, it's kind   of what makes me want to cry. But let's head it and see how far I can go.

This is the bridge for the fifth island I just went a little further before taking it to be able   to see this thing, I know if you  see the current, this is a natural phenomenon   and I don't know if you can see because there's a lot of trees but it's just in this area   if you look around there's just no current  It looks like a tiny tiny vortex. There it is, the last bridge, not  the least definitely, it's 6.4 kilometers   so it's huge, I mean you can't see the other side. It does feel like the Golden Bridge. I mean   that's what it makes me think about. So one  big push to go up then 6.4 kilometers   I hope the wind is not too bad because the  last two bridges it was really tough   due to the wind and then on the  other side it's Imabari! Two three kilometers after that and I'll be  done. I was super lucky a few minutes ago

I was looking at the map and I saw there was this viewpoint but it was like three kilometers of   very very tough climbing. You can't even see it, it was behind that   little mountain and well anyway, one  guy stopped with his car and he was like   'do you want to see the viewpoint?' and I was like  'yeah but I can't do it with with the bike' and he was like 'yeah no you can't do it with the bike, just leave the bike here and I'll drive   you' and he drove me. We spent like I don't know 20 minutes over there, the view was absolutely insane I'm so thankful because the people have been really nice over these past few   days. I'm gonna stop talking and I'm gonna start cycling again. See you on the other side, last one! I made it! As you can see see here  welcome to Imabari there you go!  Oh my God, 75 kilometers! In two days of course but I'm so glad it's over. I don't have much energy left in my thighs and I'm sore in a lot of places you don't want to be sore at  but I'm really proud that I managed to do  that because I'm cycling maybe five   times a year so it's really not something I have experience in. I mean I know how to use a bicycle but   yeah I'm gonna pay for it in the next few days for sure but it's been a really great experience, it   really helped me focus just on the road and just finishing that instead of just being anxious about   the virus (again, it's April 2020), my future in Japan or in France and I just gave back my bike and I'm gonna check in my hostel and  I think cause I've still tomorrow   off so I think I'm just gonna take the ferry  back to the islands I just did and just enjoy   going back to Onomichi by boat I think. Obviously you can also go back just by taking the  

highway bus which is obviously the quicker way to do that, I could even do it right   now and go back to Onomichi but I already pay for my guest house here and it's five so I'm just gonna   see if there's something great to see in Imabari and start early tomorrow. Ahh it's done, I can't   Wow! I'm a bit disappointed about one  thing is that basically on the road you're   just following the blue line so there's just no  way that you're gonna lose yourself on that trip   and then almost every kilometer you have like well for me Imabari 75 kilometers, 50   kilometers, 10 kilometers and it stop at three and I couldn't see Imabari zero I mean you got all these flags when you arrive in town so it's cute, you can even take a little   flag for you, saying that you did it but  yeah I wanted to take a picture of like Imabari one kilometer or zero it would have been fun but it's all right. It's been a really good experience, the views are amazing so if you feel like you can   manage physically then definitely  that's something that I recommend. The Shimanami Kaido check it out I was surprised to have enough energy to go see the castle once I arrived   in Imabari, I had the place by myself during  sunset and that was the perfect ending to the day. Going back to Onomichi by speedboat and bus was   really quick and easy but way less beautiful and satisfying.

I do recommend to stay a few hours in  Onomichi especially if it's cherry blossom  season. All the area around Senkoji temple and the park is absolutely gorgeous. I really hope you liked this little journey and see you soon!

2021-05-22 18:14

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