Last Saturday, thanks to ride leader Brian of Half-Fast Cycling, I did a 209 km ride that I've been meaning to do for a long time. With that, February is my 54th consecutive month of "one Century (160+ km ride) a Month".
A roll on/roll off car ferry connects Kurihama on Miura peninsula to Kanaya on Boso peninsula at roughly one hour intervals. The return trip by bicycle is 2180 yen. It's about 40 minutes / 15 km each way. I love ferry rides. The idea was to ride down from Tokyo to Kurihama, take the ferry, cycle in the hills of Boso and then return the same way I came.
Here is the view of Kurihama port as the ferry was departing for Boso, with Mt Fuji in the background:
The southern part of Boso peninsula is very rural, with some extremely quiet roads. Brian of Half-Fast organized a ride from Kurihama to Kurihama, with two ferry crossings and a 55+ km loop in the mountains of Boso on the other side.
I knew it was at least 65 km down to Keikyū Kurihama Station station near the ferry port, so if I rode down and back up again instead of taking my bike on the train, that would make for a century overall. So that's what I did.
I got up at 04:00, left the house in Tokyo a little after 04:30 and rode towards Kawasaki. Traffic already picked up around 05:00, but at around 6 C it wasn't too cold. I never had to put on a wind breaker on top of my cycling winter jacket as I had to on a couple of rides in December and January. The sun rose around when I got to Yokohama:
The road all the way down to the Yokosuka naval base is one big urban sprawl and so basically this is what 2/3 of this century were about: Cars, trucks and traffic lights. But then again, many brevets I ride have urban stretches at the beginning and at the end, so it's something I have to be used to.
As I got closer to Yokosuka and Kurihama, I could tell that my timing had been conservative enough. I could afford to take it a bit easier and also to stop for coffee and some food 4 km before the meeting point. I arrived in front of the station some 5 minutes before the train came in and then everyone else unpacked and set up their bikes. At the ferry port another participant joined us who had arrived by car. We bought tickets and cycled up the loading ramp to the upper vehicle deck. The staff tied up our bikes to a railing for safety while we went up to one of the passenger lounges.
I spent most of the crossing on the deck, taking pictures of huge LNG tankers, oil tankers, container ships and bulk carriers crossing our path. One of them was a Kawasaki-bound 200,000 DWT bulk carrier sailing from an Australian coal port, as I later found out when I googled the ship's name, probably supplying steel mills or power stations.
As soon as the ferry landed, we could roll down the ramp and out on the road. The first 8 km or so were flat. We stopped at one convenience store to pick up food for lunch, as there wouldn't be much in the way of shops up in the hills. It was very mild on the Boso side. I could take off my jacket and cycle in my long sleeve jersey.
We cycled up a ridge line, with the highest point about 360 m above sea level. There was almost zero traffic. We could easily ride side by side and chat. Near the highest point we had our lunch break and I shared some of the dried mango strips I had brought along.
Brian extended the course a bit from the planned 55 km figure of eight, which brought it to 69 km altogether. We passed a shop in the countryside and asked to borrow their toilet. I bought some mikan (tangerines) which I shared with everyone and topped up my water, as I had used up both my bottles.
It was a good group ride. Everybody survived the hills, nobody crashed or punctured or got permanently dropped or lost. We made it back to the ferry port just in time for the 15:20 ferry back to Kurihama. I treated myself to some hot coffee and ice cream in the lounge.
After seeing off everyone else at the station, I rode home by myself for the final 71 km back to Tokyo in mostly busy weekend evening traffic on the main coastal road.
I passed this plum tree in full bloom outside a drinking place in Kawasaki. It will still be a few more weeks before spring, but I am already looking forward to my March rides and later on, the cherry blossom season.