16 March, 2016

Cycling works in Tokyo

I've written about cycling and bicycles quite a lot on this blog (for example here I wrote about bike parking). Below is a great video about the cycling culture in Japan. 
You can carry an awful lot pretty easily on
a mamachari. This is my bike.

Unfortunately it's not quite representative of cycling in Japan. Most of the people interviewed are wearing helmets and talking about "commuting cycling" and "lycra cycling" rather than the usual cycling that the majority of people are doing. Most cycling trips would be a local i.e. a kilometre or two, rather than several kilometres or more.

At least one of the translations aren't quite right either. Then there is the issue of what the words are translated properly, but do they really mean what they said. An older lady in the first minute of the video says she's only been riding for a year. But I think she's probably been riding since she was a kid, just not seriously. But if you listen to the narration, it is explained that riding goes under the radar in Japan. You don't say you're riding to the shop, you just go out the door and hop on your bike. As natural as most Australians hop in their car.

Despite all that it is still worth watching. 

The Gaman Spirit: Why Cycling Works in Tokyo from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

You know when you've been away from your home country for too long when you struggle to know whether someone has an accent from there. The foreigner speaking (Byron Kidd, Urban Cycling Consultant in Japan) may be Australian . . . what do you think? Here is his blog, Tokyo by Bike, with lots of interesting stuff about riding in Japan. Here is a post about mamachari, the standard getting-around-town bike that most of the 85% of people who own a bike use.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

I think he's Australian, but I think he's picked up a few very slightly non-standard vowels.