|Traditional Japanese bike|
I was warned before coming to Japan, that everyone rides bicycles. I took that information with a grain of salt until we actually made it here and saw for myself. Its unbelievable.....bikes are everywhere. They litter the shipyard bike racks and are parked all along the streets in town. If there isn't an actual "bike rack" then people just park their bike and go about their business. They even have bicycle parking lots!
Since we arrived we bought all new bikes. Three of us have Japanese bicycles, one has a mountain bike and one has a BMX-type bike that we bought online from the states. We wanted to start with a clean slate, since all of the bikes we had back home were old (2 mountain bikes were circa 1993).
Most people who bicycle here have a front and sometimes a back basket. This is really convenient because if you are commuting around town, like we are, then you need a place to carry your groceries. Out in town we've found a few places that carry a pretty decent selection of bike parts, baskets, kick stands, etc for a reasonable price. I can't wait to get a back basket and rack for my own bike. This will we better for my back because two days in a row this week, I had a very full front basket, and a full load in my backpack.
Okay, riding around town on the bicycle has been a bit unnerving. I love having the freedom the bikes have given us, buts its rarely been relaxing. We have to be on full alert because people, and other bicycles are everywhere. I'm grateful for the bell on my bike and use it frequently. This works most of the time, except when people are walking with their IPOD's in their ears and cannot hear me/us coming.
We have been loosely looking for a car. Even when we purchase a car, we are still planning on biking around town. Its not only been good exercise, its been an adventure every time. Today, the younger boys and I saw a woman with a baby on her back riding her bike. Her two younger children following on their bikes. Now that's something you wouldn't see back home.