The answer is here: http://bikepackersmagazine.com/why-bikepack/#prettyPhoto
Took these photos on the way home from school yesterday. Seems a bit early for the pampas grass (スズキ), don't recall it making an appearance before late September in years past; fall is well and truly on its way.
The inaugural edition of the Castle to Castle Brevet is just weeks away- two, to be precise. If you are interested in joining Don and me for Japan's first ever off-road brevet, meet us at Tsuruoka Station, Yamagata, for an 8:00 departure on Wednesday, September 24. Alternatively, you can ride the rails with us from Niigata City to Tsuruoka- the train leaves at 4:56 am on the 24th.
The original itinerary had us arriving in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima, on the 26th. According to the new plan, we will reach that city one day earlier, on the 25th, returning to Niigata the same day.
For more details see the "Brevet" page on this site.
Recently Brian & I have been exploring the vast array of mountain roads located in the Mikawa region upriver from Niigata City. It is possible to cycle there but it's a long boring ride on a busy road next to the Agano river so it's far easier to put your bicycle in a rinko bag and board the train at Niigata station and depart at Mikawa station were you are right in the middle of the mountains . This time we took 5 of my customers from my bicycle shop as Brian had found a great 30km route up and over a low mountain range with a good 5km of off road. This short ride offered everything from 8 % sealed climbs , fast winding downhills, fantastic views and a great rough section of 4WD tracks through the shade of the forest which was very welcome as it was about 30 deg that day. The hills tested everyone's climbing skills and gave the single speeders a good workout as well. The end of the ride was at a large roadside rest area with all sorts of food available, I enjoyed a nice cold beer and some ramen and even though it was only 30km and finished before lunch time it was a great day out. Check out all the photos in the link below