Ring Ring Road ride report (2)
Good for beginner riders
Cycle paths reused from abandoned railway lines.

Table of Contents

1. The second day’s “Old Tsukuba Railway Course” is a nostalgic ride like a summer vacation in the countryside.
2. Abandoned railway tracks have been turned into a bike path. A rare course that does not run “side by side” with a roadway or sidewalk.
3. Healing in the shade of natural trees at a rest spot that retains the look of the platform.
4. Castle ruins, ranch, popsicles, ideal summer vacation!
5. The landmark is Mount Tsukuba, one of Japan’s 100 most famous mountains. Simple single track is safe even for beginner riders.
6. Excellent perko noodles served in a Showa-style diner in Makabe.
7. Heading home while admiring the abundance of flowers along the course
8. Cherry blossoms are a spectacular sight in spring! Enjoy the colorful scenery.
9. When you get to the station you love the most, look back on the ride with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
10. summary
・If you want to make your first bike trip and first overnight ride the best experience, start with Tsuchiura’s “Ring Ring Road”.
・Early departure is recommended.
・As the seasons change, so does the fun.
・If you’re going to go on a ride, make it more flavorful with “Nodate coffee”.


The second day’s “Old Tsukuba Railway Course” is a nostalgic ride like a summer vacation in the countryside.

In the previous issue, we reported on our challenge to ride 111 km around Lake Kasumigaura.
The day after an overnight stay, we will report on a 63-km ride along the old Tsukuba Railway course, where the peaceful atmosphere will soothe you.

*This article is a reprint of a June 2020 article.

Start with a breakfast of freshly baked bread at Tsuchiura Station.

In the morning, we went to Couronne, a bakery that opens at 7:00 am inside Play atre Tsuchiura. A croque-monsieur morning meal is a great way to fill up before the ride.

A five-minute drive from the station takes you to a bicycle-pedestrian path.

After running for a while, we came to a straight line where we could see straight ahead.

The path is just wide enough for a small train to pass. The characteristics of the former railroad tracks are evident.

Abandoned railway tracks have been turned into a bike path. A rare course that does not run “side by side” with a roadway or sidewalk.

The former Tsukuba Railway, on which the course is based, was called the Japan National Railways Joban Line and connected Tsuchiura Station with Iwase Station on the Mito Line and was in use until 1987. After the railway line was closed down, it was transformed into a cycling path, taking advantage of its “complete independence from the roadway.
There are six rest stops along the way, utilizing the former station building to provide a place of relaxation.

Healing in the shade of natural trees at a rest spot that retains the look of the platform.

The first place I reached was the Mushikake Rest Area.

The raised area next to the road was the platform at that time. A large wisteria trellis straddles it, providing shade. Must be a wonderful sight during the flowering season!

Castle ruins, ranch, popsicles, ideal summer vacation!

Further along the ride, we took a restroom break at the ruins of Oda Castle. The castle itself is not there, but the ruins of the castle have been mowed and the breezes are pleasant.

Sheep and goats welcome you at Momojirou Farm along the course. Perhaps it was the baby rush, but the energetic lambs will soothe you.

Pedaling bicycles and grazing on the road at castle ruins and farms…it’s like a summer vacation for elementary school students.

The landmark is Mount Tsukuba, one of Japan’s 100 most famous mountains. Simple single track is safe even for beginner riders.

I was impressed by how easy the roads were to follow.
This course was almost a straight road with clear visibility, and even the directionally inept author was able to travel it with ease.

It frees novice riders from the common problem of frustration due to the difficulty of planning a course for a long ride.

The large Mt. Tsukuba located on the east side of the course is a landmark, making it easy to know where you are.

Excellent perko noodles served in a Showa-style diner in Makabe.

Arrived at Makabe Rest Area, the turnaround point this time. First, we went to “Satsuki Shokudo” for lunch. There were many cars at this quaint Showa-style restaurant. It is a popular restaurant.

Perko noodles feature a large cutlet and fried oil in a savory broth. That’s 750 yen!

Recharge your salt and prepare for the second half of the ride.

Heading home while admiring the abundance of flowers along the course

Looking back on the ride to the destination, we were amazed at the abundance of flowers and decided to return while taking pictures of the flowers on the way back.
The most impressive flowers were the hydrangeas that were rhythmically planted everywhere we went, but there were many other flowers in bloom as well.






When you get to the station you love the most, look back on the ride with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.

The second station from Tsuchiura Station, Fujisawa Rest Area, where we stopped for our last rest stop.

I boiled water with a portable gas burner and dripped my own coffee break.

 

The tea cakes are dried sweet potatoes from “Kaitsuka” found inside Play atre Tsuchiura. It is a portable food unique to Ibaraki.

This is a mini “nodate” event that adds a “smoke break” to a long ride that tends to consist of riding through or stopping to enjoy the ride. Coffee is great to drink surrounded by a nice view, and the caffeine effect and calories from the tea will make the rest of the ride easier, so this will be a regular part of the ride.

I started running at 9:30 a.m. and arrived at Tsuchiura Station at 3:30 p.m. The mileage for the day was 63 km.

Summary

Here is a summary of my impressions from this 2-day/1-night trip to Tsuchiura.

・If you want to make your first bike trip and first overnight ride the best experience, start with Tsuchiura’s “Ring Ring Road”.

Ring Ring Road starting from Tsuchiura is perfect for a first bicycle trip! Train rides and transportation to the hotel couldn’t be simpler. You can arrive in less than an hour from the center of Tokyo, giving you plenty of time to spend in the area.

Although there are some scenes where the course runs parallel to the road, both the Lake Kasumigaura course and the old Tsukuba Railway course are simple enough that there is little concern about getting lost.

・As the seasons change, so does the fun.

We were able to enjoy many flowers on this ride, but the most popular time of year for Ring Ring Road is during the cherry blossom season. In particular, the old Tsukuba Railway course leading to Mt. Tsukuba has created a cherry blossom trail, and some riders have become repeat visitors.

In addition to the cherry blossoms, the lotus flowers in the lotus field as far as the eye can see bloom all at once, the large wisteria trellis at the Mushikage Resting Area when the time comes, and so on… These were unexpected and pleasant discoveries that made me want to return in different seasons.

・Early departure is recommended.

Rides that take place over the course of a day are affected by the direction of the wind at different times of the day, which affects the ease of riding.Especially on the north side of Lake Kasumigaura, the headwind from Tsuchiura Station tends to become stronger in the evening. In summer, it is safe to plan to start early in the morning & finish during the afternoon light hours to avoid evening showers.

・If you’re going to go on a ride, make it more flavorful with “Nodate coffee”.

The drip coffee I drank during the course was the best decision I made by carrying it on the ride this time. The time and effort of assembling the dripper and pouring the hot water, and the luxury of finding a beautiful view and drinking leisurely spiced up the ride.

Drip coffee is a staple in camping. We gathered a collection of compact items that are excellent for carrying and ran in saddlebags.

Long rides after the stay-home period is lifted are an exceptional joy.
Infection precautions must be taken, but when you have an environment where you can run spontaneously with minimal travel, there’s no reason not to have some fun!
If you’ve never ridden before, or even if you’re a novice wheel rider, I highly recommend a Ring Ring Road Ride weekend in Tsuchiura!


45 minutes from Ueno! 2-day/1-night bicycle trip! Ring Ring Road Ride Report


Ring Ring Road ride report (1)

Ring Ring Road ride report (2)
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