07 October, 2016

A big ride and new park

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go on a longer ride again. The weather was beautiful (even quite warm edging up close to 30 degrees). I've been thinking for more than a year about attempting a longer ride with a different destination. Yesterday everything came together, including my courage, and I did it. 

I rode to Toritsu Sayama Park. It is about 11 kilometres west of here. It was so worth it! The sky was amazing, and even though I limited myself to how long I spent in the park (only about half an hour), it was beautiful.

One of the things that's held me back from going somewhere else is how difficult I find navigating in Tokyo. There are so many  little winding streets! And most of the time you can't just pick one road that will take you to your destination. So I anticipated a very frustrating ride where I was constantly checking Google maps on my phone for my directions. 

It turned out much better than that. The route took me through areas that I was somewhat familiar with about nine years ago when we lived further from CAJ. Granted, my familiarity was from a car, but still most of the time I knew approximately where I was.

I ended up riding nearly 23 km in under two hours (and then a couple more later in the day when I popped down to the gym with a friend, but I only worked upper body there). Yep, feeling pretty tired.

One of the attractions was not just a park, but a large body of water, Lake Tama (or more correctly Murayama Reservoir). It is one of the water supplies for Tokyo.

After riding nearly 12 km I climbed up several flights of stairs on the dam wall to see the dam itself. Beautiful blue!

I tried to take a selfie here on the dam wall, but the wind was blowing
my hair the wrong way! An older gentleman took pity on me
and practised his English, "Can I take your photo?" So here I am, at Lake Tama.
But it was hot up on the wall with no shade, so I soon went in search of a shaded bench to have a snack. I found a spot  that overlooked a pond. It was not so "park like" as the usual park I go to, with lots of overgrown areas, I guess it generally gets less visitors as it is further out? Surprisingly it is nowhere near as big as Koganei Park (⅙ the size) but it is hilly and abuts a number of other parks. Lots to explore if I have the time! 

Aka tombo. Red dragonfly, seen only at this time of
the year.
There were gorgeous  red dragonflies flying around my bench, I didn't have my big camera with me, just my iPhone, but one or two stayed still long enough to get a photo, if not quite zoomed in to my liking, it's a glimpse. These are known as autumn markers in Japan, appearing in autumn, they're called "Aka tombo". In fact there is a  famous Japanese children's song about them, (listen to it here).

It was a good outing that I'll have to carve out time to repeat. I'm so thankful to have had the time to do it.

I couldn't get close enough to this one, the green-red contrast would have
been lovely if I had!
I wish I'd had my big camera for this pond. To the eye the pond
looked brown, but I was surprised to find the blue sky reflected in
the camera's "eye".
Some of the way I rode on this bike/footpath. It is created over the
top of a stream. I sure wouldn't like to ride there if there was
rain. But I was grateful for a traffic-light and car-free place to ride
for some of the way.
Here's a photo of the dam from the wall. It was lovely to see after riding though the streets of Tokyo. I can't believe how clear and blue the sky is. We haven't seen many of those kinds of skies in the last few months. I even saw a woman stopped to take a photo of the sky. I was quietly cheering her on!

I also stumbled about this article in English about riding to and around the park area.

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