“You booked this four months ago. You must be very organised…”, Tomo (one of the tour guides) said to me as I walked into the office of the “Tokyo Great Cycling Tour” earlier today. “No”, I told him, “I’ve just been planning this holiday for quite a while”.
When I first read about the cycling tour a few months ago, I thought it sounded like an excellent way to see Tokyo. Over the years I’ve been on many, many bus and walking tours, and I figured a cycling tour might encompass the best of both worlds: a chance to see a fair bit of the city, but still able to get out and about which you often can’t do on a bus.
Then about a month ago, I started to get nervous when I looked at the finer detail, and read the tour was actually 26km long. Although I have a bike, and I ride every couple of weekends, I wasn’t sure my almost 50 year old body would be up to that level of endurance. Talking about it with friends, I was reminded when you’re on holiday you often walk long distances anyway, and that Tokyo was far more flat than Surry Hills.
I was further reassured when a few people older than me, and a few people obviously less fit arrived this morning. I had already prepared a “I’m Sorry, I’ll be the slowest” speech, anticipating almost everyone on the tour would be a slim 20 year old.
That said, the cycling was tough for a few people. A family of four announced just after lunch they had “hit the wall” and were planning to go back to the office. I also started to “feel my age” around three-quarters of the way through the tour. Then, as I chatted to others, I realised it wasn’t only my age, it was the fact it was 34 degrees today. Our other tour guide also told us she was finding it hard going in the heat and humidity. So I reckon if you have reasonable fitness, and you’re not planning to do it in the middle of summer, the tour would be good to do.
Although we visited quite a few spots along the way, including The Imperial Palace, The Meiji Shrine, and some other less important historic locations (oh, and a confectionery store, and a restaurant at a capsule hotel for lunch), I’d estimate cycling still made up most of the tour. As I checked my “Google Fit” a few minutes ago, it revealed I walked for 127 minutes and rode for 169 minutes today, well and truly exceeding my daily goal.
My other goal today was to try to understand the Tokyo Metro. Though I gave up trying this morning (I needed to be there early), I made it back to the hotel (with a track change), and so I felt doubly proud.
After arriving home, I had a bath (with salts) which was well and truly needed. And then later I went for a walk around the nearby gay area. As I looked in some of the bars, it seemed most were full of much younger guys which is not really my thing, and I didn’t really want to be the old guy in the corner with no friends.
Tomorrow I’m planning to visit a few museums and galleries. After today’s efforts in the sun, I think I need a bit of indoor activity. Meanwhile tonight, I’m back in my hotel room with the air-conditioning on, and not doing any favours for climate change.