Tokyo Imperial Palace Autumn Scenes

November 21, 2008

I was fully intent on cycling to Ginza to take some more candid street photographs on a beautiful, sunny fall afternoon in Tokyo that would have been a crime against nature to spend indoors.  However, as I turned of Shinjuku Dori in front of the Imperial Palace of Tokyo, I saw all the ginko trees had turned yellow and that a few photographers were taking photos of them.  So I thought, I should too.  I liked it so much I never left the palace area, and thusly never made it to Ginza.  I like how my afternoon surprisingly turned out though.

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Last night time Palace laps?

November 10, 2008


  • Distance: 15.87 miles
  • Time in motion: 1 hour 03 minutes 54 seconds
  • Average speed: 14.9 mph
  • Max speed: 26.4 mph


  • Distance: 9.40 miles
  • Time in motion: 33 minutes 58 seconds
  • Average speed: 16.6 mph

I am actually writing this cycling report like 10 days later.  That’s how turned off I was by this ride.  I couldn’t even get myself to write about it until now.  It was my first cold weather ride of the year, thus the first time I donned my winter Pearl Izumi cycling pants and full finger winter gloves.  The pants may not have been necessary, but I never actually felt that overly warm.  The gloves were definitely needed.
About this ride . . . well, right off the bat once I got to the palace I got totally boned at one of the first lights on the huge decent, which should be the fasted section of the loop.  I had never have to come to almost a complete stop there before.  Usually I just whiz by at 28mph.  This time I was stuck tip-toeing between traffic stopped at the red light.
And then it was just a total parade of red lights.  Plus some street lights on the Tokyo Station side weren’t working so it was quite dark.  Then some fool tried to challenge me on the ascent section.  I thought it was a real cyclist on a road bike, so I yielded a bit as I felt they were just shadowing me and I didn’t like it.  Turns out it was just some fool (j-dude) on a not mama-cheri but some slightly better city bike trying to be a hero.  It just annoyed me and I quickly passed him and dropped him.
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Back in the fast lane of cycling around the Imperial Palace

October 22, 2008

  • Distance:  15.83 miles
  • Time in motion: 59 minutes 42 seconds
  • Average speed: 15.9 mph
  • Max speed: 31.2 mph
  • Distance: 9.38 miles
  • Time in motion: 30 minutes 44 seconds
  • Average speed: 18.3 mph
Tonight I wasn’t going to settle for the usual slow riding around the Imperial Palace that was starting to become my usual M.O.  Every time I thought about easing up on the pedals at the places I had been easing up at on the past few rides, I told myself, “hell no fool, keep cranking!”  In that way I was able to improve my average lap speeds by almost a full mph and shaved nearly 2 minutes off the total 3-laps time.

It helped to be curry-free for a change, and to have gotten a decent night’s sleep before.  Tuesday night rides are usually sleep deprived ones, as well as belly full of curry ones.  These two changes helped a lot I think.  Plus maybe I am starting to finally get back into cycling shape, at least a little bit.

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Mello ride around the Imperial Palace in a light rain

October 9, 2008

  • Distance: 15.85 miles
  • Time in motion: 1 hour 00 minutes 51 seconds
  • Average speed: 15.6 mph
  • Max speed: 26.9 mph
  • Distance: 9.40 miles
  • Time in motion: 32 minutes 22 seconds
  • Average speed: 17.4 mph
Tonight was a totally different feeling ride around the Imperial Palace.  For one, I never looked at my cycling computer while doing the laps.  This is a radical change.  I am normally obsessively looking at my time and current speed, calculating how I’m doing on each lap in my mind.  
Tonight I was free.

I decided right away, on the fly, to not look at my cycling computer.  The cool October air helped free my mind as well.  All I did was keep my eyes fixed on the road in front of me and my mind thought of only one thing—keep the cranks in motion.  I’ve never had such a single-mindedness like that cycling around the palace.  It felt great. 

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First Fall 2008 Cycling

September 25, 2008

  • Distance: 15.81 miles
  • Time in motion: 59 minutes 44 seconds
  • Average speed: 15.9 mph
  • Max speed: 28.8 mph
  • Distance: 9.39 miles
  • Time in motion: 30 minutes 59 seconds
  • Average speed: 18.2 mph
It always feels good to get back in the saddle, and this time was no different, except this time I didn’t feel so good once getting back in the saddle!  I swear it seems every time I go cycling on a week night, I end up eating green Thai curry before the ride, which takes me forever to digest.  I’ve thrown up such undigested curry twice in the past, and although I felt a hint of nausea this time, I managed my pace so as to keep all food down.

This was my first cycling of autumn, and I noticed the temperature difference immediately.  There was a hint of a chill in the air.  However, I wore my usual summer cycling attire–yellow short-sleeve jersey and thigh length biking shorts.  And I still sweated a helluva lot despite the cooler temps.

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Back to cycling the Palace, slowly

September 3, 2008

  • Distance: 15.78 miles
  • Time in motion: 1 hour 1 minute 48 seconds
  • Average speed: 15.3 mph
  • Max speed: 26.7 mph
  • Distance: 9.36 miles
  • Time in motion: 31 minutes 14 seconds
  • Average speed: 18.0 mph 
This was my first cycling, or real exercise of any kind, since August 7th.  August was largely rained out in Tokyo.  I heard it was the rainiest August on record, maybe.  So tonight it felt very good to get back in the saddle again, well, it felt good until I hit that head wind on the descent part of the Palace loop, and then got slowed down by traffic as usual.  Then of course there is the very curious fact that I always seem to eat green Thai curry on the nights I go riding!  As anyone knows, this meal is prone to making me throw up!

So this time I wanted to avoid such messiness, so no new record times tonight or anything.  And my legs actually felt like they hit a wall of some sort on the third lap out of saddle ascent.

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Cycling with Mike, again, and throwing up, again!!

August 7, 2008

  • Distance: 15.86 miles
  • Time in motion: 1 hour 1 minute 31 seconds
  • Average speed: 15.5 mph
  • Max speed: 31.0 mph
  • Distance: NA
  • Time in motion: 29 minutes 24 seconds
  • Average speed: 19.0 mph NEW RECORD!
Well, it had been one month since UK Mike and I rode together around the Imperial Palace.  I had gone on many solo rides since then, and last week he went on a solo one as well.  As you may recall, not enough digestion time lead to me throwing up on our very first night palace ride, and sure enough, lack of digestion time tonight again yielded an upheaval for me on the very final stretch!  
At about the 80% mark of the first lap my heart rate was too high, so I signaled for Mike to pass and set the pace.  And set the pace he did.  He only briefly relinquished the lead once after that.  He undoubtedly rode his hardest yet around the palace.  The whole time he maintained an average of a 1 to 2 second lead over me.  I couldn’t get my heart rate down until the third, and final, lap.  As we went around the final corner, he had a good 1.5 second lead.  I pedaled through the corner hard and got out of the saddle and made it to his back wheel.  Then the upheaval feeling came over me and I just sat up hoping to stem it.  There was one small dry heave shortly after.

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Day-cycler does 3 Imperial laps!

July 30, 2008

  • Distance:  15.84 miles
  • Time in motion:  1 hour 1 minute 2 seconds
  • Average speed:  15.5 mph
  • Max speed:  28.0 mph
  • Distance:  9.39  miles
  • Time in motion:  31 minutes 24 seconds
  • Average speed:  17.8 mph

Due to the sudden arrival of a powerful thunderstorm last night, I could not as usual do laps around the Imperial Palace in darkness.  So after I got up today I donned my yellow jersey and dropped in on bright sunshine.  It felt good.  

The atmosphere driving through the city during the day is totally different than the night, as one might expect of course.  Riding during the day feels friendlier.  I guess if you are seeing people out and about, they are on break from work or just plain not working.  So it feels a bit relaxed.  It could also be that I am not working while other people are out working, so my leisure time feels that much better. 

I was expecting more traffic on the palace loop than at night, but I can’t really say traffic was any worse than any of my last few night rides.  I did have to come to a complete stop once, but did not have to unclick, I could stand and balance in my pedals until the traffic started moving again.  Also, there weren’t the lines of cars waiting at red lights were not that long, so not much trouble snaking through and on to open road.  

In fact, I had a helluva fun ride.  There were no illusions of doing a fourth lap this time, so maybe the heat did have an effect on me, but I didn’t notice the heat in particular.  Maybe not eating breakfast before riding was more cause for not doing a fourth lap.

The ride was not without incident, as some fool riding against traffic on a housewife’s bike around a blind corner made me have to skid to a stop.  Ignant.  

Still, I may soon go day-riding again.  I like the atmo in the city and around the palace.

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