TV Producer Daisaku Kawase’s Five Boro Bike Tour Participation Report!
Falling in Love with New York Vol.1
Love at First Sight with a Brompton.

It was love at first sight. I fell in love the moment we met. “Where should I go next with this one?” I find myself thinking. When was the last time I felt this excited? But it’s not a person I’m talking about.

It’s a Brompton. And now, I’m truly enjoying life and travel with my Brompton. I’ve always been interested in folding bikes. But compared to road bikes, I thought small-wheeled bikes might be unsatisfying. I believed they wouldn’t reach the speeds of road bikes or be suitable for long distances. In my mind, road bikes were the “King of Bicycles.” That was my fixed idea.

But even road bikes have their weaknesses. One of them is riding in the city. When riding on major city roads, you frequently get caught at traffic lights, which can be quite frustrating. Road bikes with large wheels are not great at stop-and-go situations. It’s also a hassle to constantly clip in and out of the binding shoes every time you stop.

So, at one point, I started looking for a bike for city riding. I was searching for a small-wheeled E-bike. I visited several shops but couldn’t find the perfect bike. Then one day, a row of bikes on the shelf caught my eye.

A colorful array of bikes was lined up tightly on the shelf. The beauty of their presence made my heart leap. That was the Brompton.

I encountered them at “Wada Cycle” in Nishi-Ogikubo. When it comes to shops that deal with small-wheeled bicycles, including Bromptons, it’s one of the top bicycle shops in Tokyo, or rather, in all of Japan.

Mr. Wada from “Wada Cycle,” founded in 1917 (over 100 years ago!), is a well-known figure among Brompton fans and also oversees the supervision of specialized books.
https://wadacycle.storeinfo.jp/

The shop assistant, Mr. Nishikubo, demonstrated the folding mechanism for me. The efficiency and gracefulness of his movements were almost artistic in nature.

Of course, I also took it for a test ride. It zoomed forward with just a light push. Even the 4-speed model is more than sufficient for city riding. And as for E-bikes, they’re not bad at all. In fact, you could say they’re becoming the mainstream for city riding, especially for households with small children.

But I am a cyclist, a fan of cycling. I can always try an E-bike another time. Imagining a cycling life with a Brompton made my heart flutter. Going against this feeling would betray the essence of being a cyclist.

So, I bought it on the spot.

As I started riding after the purchase, I fell even more in love with it. The small tires make starting off incredibly easy. Even when stopped at traffic lights, it’s not bothersome at all.
It’s just so much fun. When folded, I can take it into most shops without any hassle and enjoy a meal without worrying about theft. It doesn’t take up much space even on the subway, so as long as I’m considerate, I can minimize inconvenience to others. It fits snugly into airline containers when traveling by plane, making air travel with it worry-free.

Moreover, it easily fits into coin lockers. While it may be a bit more expensive compared to parking it in a bicycle parking lot, the peace of mind regarding theft is priceless.

And thus, a desire began to swell within me. To ride through the streets of New York City on this beloved bike.

On May 5th, there’s an event called “BIKE NEW YORK,” formally known as the “FIVE BORO BIKE TOUR” (https://www.bike.nyc/). As the name suggests, it takes riders through the five boroughs of New York City (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island). It’s the largest bicycle event in the Northern Hemisphere, shutting down traffic in Manhattan. Over 30,000 riders from around the world gather for this event. The course spans 40 miles, approximately 64 kilometers.

To ride through the city of my dreams on my own bike, and even better, on a Brompton. If I arrive a few days before the event, I could smoothly cycle through Central Park or SOHO. It’s too good to be true! Even though it’s not confirmed yet, my excitement is through the roof, and I feel like “The Secret of My Success.”*

At this point, I was already confirmed as a guest rider by the Global Ride editorial team (https://globalride.jp/). Originally, the plan was to go empty-handed and rent a road bike on-site. But since it’s New York, I wanted to ride with my own bike if possible… It was around that time that I happened to encounter the Brompton and fell in love. And now, we’ll ride through New York together. There’s a saying attributed to the literary giant Shakespeare:

” It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

It might sound exaggerated, but the stage is set. And so, while dreaming of a New York life with my Brompton, I began to plan how to handle its transport. Now, let’s see what journey awaits.


To be continued in the next installment.

*”The Secret of My Success” is an American comedy film set in New York and starring Michael J. Fox, released in 1987.


Text & Photo_Daisaku Kawase

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Profile

Daisaku Kawase
He is a Free Producer, the Representative of Days Co., Ltd, Global Ride Communication Director.
Born in Aichi Prefecture. With 16 years of road cycling experience, he loves scenic rides. He squeezes in rides between work and travels all over Japan with his bike. His beloved bike is a Trek. After working as a producer on programs like “Ariyoshi no Okane Hakken Totsugeki! Kaneo-kun,” “Oyasumi Japan Nemuiine,” and “Asaichi” at NHK, he became independent in 2022. In addition to producing programs, he also handles project production for government and corporate clients.

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The third installment of the New York City travelogue by popular bicycle youtuber, Kenta-san. Kenta-san participated in Bike New York 2019, and his video from New York City is now available. This time it’s at the Bike New York EXPO, which takes place the day before the event. Kenta-san came to the JAPAN booth to pick up his bib, and there were many goods of interest to Kenta-san for sale at the EXPO.

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TV Producer Daisaku Kawase’s Five Boro Bike Tour Participation Report!
Falling in Love with New York Vol.2
It fit into the suitcase as if by magic.

Riding through Manhattan on a Brompton. Just imagining it makes me smile. After all, I’ll be riding my Brompton through places like Soho and Central Park, making it a truly rosy Manhattan experience. I’ve bought a few guidebooks like ‘100 Things to Do in Manhattan,’ and I even got a new denim jacket. I’ve also downloaded some Netflix shows on my iPad to watch on the plane. I’m all set and ready to go. One day, I suddenly realized something. By the way, how will this Brompton be transported overseas? Within the country, as long as it’s in a bike bag, it can be safely transported. However, when I Googled ‘Brompton overseas transport,’ I fou […]

#Bike Case
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