Thursday, August 03, 2006

two wheels good

Anne and I rented bicycles for a day of sightseeing in Kyoto. I'm a huge fan of two-wheeled things, doing most of my commuting by motorcycle. Riding a bike in a city in Japan is great. I suspect it's a good time out in the country and the mountains too, but I have yet to find out.

EVERYONE here rides. Men in business suits going to the subway, 80-year old women going to the market, kids riding to school. This, combined with the trains and subways is a transportation system that works. Outside of any train station or apartment building is an area for parking bicycles, mopeds and motorcycles. At large stations, there may be thousands of bikes parked neatly in an area less than a half-block in size. It seems like most people can bike or walk to the train station, and from there get to wherever they need to go. Oh yes, and the trains always run on time. Always.

Since everyone rides, you feel much safer interacting with cars. I don't know how many of you have been on a bicycle on the streets of LA recently, but the general gist is that you are intruding on the cars' territory, so you'd better watch out. Just assume drivers either don't see you or are actively trying to run you off the road and you have the right attitude. In Japan, drivers see and give you the right of way. Since many people ride on the sidewalks, pedestrians move to their left (they drive on the left here) when they hear the little ding ding of your bell. Very fun, very easy.


Post a Comment

<< Home