Cycling the Shimanami Kaido

Our adventure began early Saturday morning when we caught the train to Imabari, where our cycling journey would commence. From there we caught taxi’s for the short distance to the bicycle rental shop. (Short distance, but we wanted to save our legs, not knowing how they would be holding up at the end of the day. Turns out they wouldn’t hold my body up, but that comes later.)

on the train
If they don’t look like people ready to cycle 70km then I don’t know who does.

After renting our bikes we were ready to begin! The 70 kilometer cycle took us across 6 islands from our home prefecture of Ehime on Shikoku over to Hiroshima Prefecture on the island of Honshu. The photos do not do this trip justice. The sights were gorgeous, and it was definitely up there on one of the best day’s I have had in Japan so far. The weather was cloudy and foggy at the start of our trip, but the fog cleared up later. Thankfully the clouds remained but without rain, leaving us beautiful cycling temperatures. A lot of ALT’s came out for the cycle, so although everyone was cycling at their own pace, we managed to all see each other for lunch stops, and of course a quick stop at the pirate museum on the first island. Not to mention ice cream.

shimanami kaido cycle
Between bridges, we cycled through the islands at sea level.

I only have one thing different to add, which none of the websites on the cycle seemed to mention, and that is this ride is HILLY. I was told it was fairly easy, and although I managed to complete it without walking (which must mean it was pretty easy), I can’t mention the cycle without mentioning the MANY hills we had to cycle. Getting on each bridge was a feat in of itself, as you have to cycle practically straight up to get to it. Of course that means once you’ve crossed it you get to cycle straight downhill, going amazingly fast. That part is every child’s dream come true. Then the beautiful cycle along the seashore of the islands is flat for the most part. About the 4th island in, we came to some of the worst hills ever. We were distracted by this dinosaur statue that we didn’t built up a desired amount of momentum for the mega hill that was around this corner. Fortunately Katie & I (who did a great portion of the trip on our own, as we seemed to be cycling our own pace) turned out to be much better at cycling than we thought, and managed to make it the whole 70km without walking, although I will admit that at the top of dino hill my legs were literally shaking, and we stopped for a break before making the cycle up to the bridge.

dinosaur statue
There to distract you from the most painful thing you will experience this trip.

The day was wonderful; an amazing experience. Although I had a brief moment after dinner in which my legs almost gave out, I managed to awake Sunday morning pain free! We took the bus back across the islands and arrived home by 2pm Sunday afternoon! A great trip, and a recommendation for anyone visiting Japan who likes biking. It’s a great way to get a feel for the country and see some of its most beautiful islands!

bridge
I now love cycling over bridges, too.

cycling downhill
Going downhill: the best part of cycling.

bridge
Beautiful!

Be sure to check out all the photos on my flickr. Thanks for reading!

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