Two years ago my friend Norman invited me to a ride on Boso peninsula, Chiba that he was doing for his triathlon training.
His proposed course was about 180 km long with plenty of elevation gain, but since it included several loops there were bailout options if we ran out of time. We ended up getting separated when I took a wrong turn while trying to catch up with him, then had problems reconnecting due to a lack of mobile phone coverage.
After we did meet up at the coast I skipped one of the loops, visited Kiyosumidera temple near the course and we reconnected later and rode back to Honda station, the start and finish.
I decided to redo this course on Saturday, if possible do the complete course, but at least I'd try to explore more of the area.
It's a long train ride from Setagaya to Honda station, so despite getting up at 05:00 I only arrived there at 08:33. I bought some food at a nearby 7-11, chatted a bit to a middle-aged couple on nice road bikes who were doing a koyo ride (autumn leaves viewing) before heading off a little after 09:00.
As on my previous ride there was very little traffic. Maybe 20 minutes down the road I was passed by the same couple I'd met at the station.
The weather was sunny. According to my GPS it got as warm as 25 C at midday.
I didn't see a lot of colourful leaves on the way to the coast as the forests were mostly coniferous trees or bamboo.
There were hardly any long flat stretches of road, it was a constant up and down.
This makes Boso a good place for winter training: You get your exercise from climbing, but the maximum elevation isn't very high (less than 300 m), so you never get too cold on a descent and the next climb will warm you again soon.
I headed down route 82 to hit the coast at Kominato.
At a grocery store I bought a bag of mikan, then started looking for a conbini for some coffee. At a traffic light I spotted another cyclist on a small wheeled bike (20" like my Bike Friday). He was wearing a reflective vest like a randonneur and his bike was a Tern, a Taiwanese brand founded as an offshoot / competitor of Dahon. I greeted him and he complimented me on my Bike Friday. As the light turned green he waved me on. Soon I found a 7-11 where I took a coffee break and some pictures of the ocean view.
I passed this pedestrian tunnel, whose walls were painted with ocean scenes.
Next to a ramen shop I spotted a bicycle that looked familiar: It was the same Tern that I had seen before, which must have passed me during my coffee break. It left one mikan from my grocery shopping on top of its handlebar bag as a gift to its owner and cycled on.
Instead of following route 81 inland as I had done on the first ride I headed further west along the coast. I liked the views along the coastal road, but then route 24 north turned out to be busy and not very attractive, better suited for a fast descent towards the coast (counterclockwise on the original route) than the clockwise climb away from it that I did. The landscape became scenic again near the lakes around Rt 465, but by then the sun had set already. Where there were streetlights I could still see momiji (Japanese maple) showing off their autumn colours.
I put on more layers as it got colder (down to 12 C) and followed the course all the way back to Honda station, where I arrived around 21:30 with 154 km on the GPS. I rolled up to the station only five minutes before a train was about to leave, but managed to get my bike packed and walked up the platform just in time. To get home to Kyodo station I would have to change trains at Chiba, then Ochanomizu and again in Shinjuku. I decided to skip the last two train segments and instead cycled home 16 km from Ochanomizu, which took about 20 minutes longer but brought my daily total to 170 km.
There are still many parts of Boso peninsula I haven't visited. The ferry between Kurihama and Kanaya is another option I'd like to explore some time, to cycle home from Kurihama in Miura peninsula instead of cycling back up to Honda for a train ride through Tokyo.