A brief visit to Japan last week afforded the opportunity to share a glimpse of bicycling culture in this technologically progressive country. My visit was limited to Tsukuba, Kameoka, and Kyoto, with travel to each squeezed into a very busy four-day schedule.
(Kameoka is immediately west of Kyoto)
Something new - at least to me - was the presence of fee-based bike parking. At first I thought these ‘stations’ were for a bike share program, but upon further inspection I realized otherwise. Commuters seem forced into using these stations, as locking bikes to signs, fences, trees, etc. is prohibited. The locking mechanism affixes to the front wheel... ...hardly a fail safe approach for securing a bike.
(Uncovered bike parking near Tsukuba Station)
Bicyclists were abundant in Tsukuba and Kyoto (both university towns). Bikes were unsurprisingly utilitarian, with most bearing lights, fenders, and racks.