There’s no better way to explore a new city than by bicycle. Walking has its merits, but you can’t cover nearly the territory. Yet Tokyo can be a daunting city for even the most hardened traveler, and navigating the maze of streets on two wheels may seem like a quick way to get lost. Thankfully, the good people at the cheerfully named Tokyo Great Cycling Tour are here to help.
The inspiration for the company started with an idea of a few people who wanted to run bike tours for foreign visitors as a nice way to show them Tokyo. In November of 2006, they began organizing tours for overseas guests and have been spinning their wheels ever since.
Cycle tours happen every weekend throughout the year. On Saturdays, tours start and end from the Marunouchi Hotel in front of Tokyo Station. On Sundays, the tours begin and finish at JR Shinbashi Station. In summer, they also have night rides around the waterfront area of Tokyo.
The price is a flat ¥10,000, which includes a guide, an eight-speed rental “cross-style” bike, helmet, gloves, insurance and a bento (lunch box). Custom tours are available on request as well. If you join a tour, expect rides of about 25 kilometers and plan to be out on the bike for about six hours.
You’ll receive some local knowledge on different aspects of Tokyo from English-speaking guides with professional backgrounds who enjoy sharing their city with foreign guests. “After spending half a day with guests, we often feel like old friends at the end of the tour,” says Yukiko Koezuka, one of the organizers of the tours and a guide herself.
Anyone is welcome on the tours as long as they can ride a bike. Children are OK if they are accompanied by an adult. It is possible to tow kids on trailers, or they can come along in a child seat. “So far we’ve had a lot of customers from the USA, followed by the U.K., Australia, Canada and Hong Kong,” adds Koezuka.
The tours are great for people visiting Japan on business or travelers who want to get some exercise, see the city through the eyes of local residents and make new friends. All without having to haul around your own gear.
“Get out of your hotel gym and come join us,” suggests Koezuka.
Tokyo Great Cycling Tour
Tel: (03) 4590-2995
Fax: (03) 3591-3377
Book your next cycle tour by visiting the Outdoor Operators section of Outdoor Japan Online. Web: www.outdoorjapan.com.