shimanami kaidō, the japan cycleway

this winter, we’re getting out of here to find summer days in japan.

we’ve got our eyes set on the shimanami kaidō (しまなみ海道), a 70k road that connects mainland japan with honshu, the island, shikoku. the foot/bike highway links all 6 islands in between floating on the seto inland sea. open since 1999 (i’m older than this cycleway). 
cycle  map

you can cycle both ways, we’ve decided to go onomichi > imabari (because the general consensus is this way we’re going ‘downhill’, also shikoku is super hard to get to from kyoto). shame!  shikoku is home to the 88 temple pilgrimage if you’re more of a hiker than rider. 

bike highway

though doable in one day, we’ve decided over 2 so we can check out the small island towns and temples. we’re planning to kip half way on setoda, where the locals say is the best place to see the setting sun in the country of the rising sun.

sky to island

we’re going to lock up our luggage at onomichi train station (station will keep for max. 3 days), do day packs and rent a bike. any riders have done the same?

getting back from imabari to onomichi is said to be a 2 bus/2.5 hour journey. this is what we’ve planned though any smoother alternatives are welcome.

the bus back

bridges over the ocean

any tips/recommendations for 2 cruisers, from those that have done the shimanami kaidō is very much appreciated. things from food, accom, to jap translations for ‘please be my friend’ and ‘i’m lost’. 

this is item 1 on the world checklist.

psyched, x red bike


boom boom bike. speakers attempt 3


so apparently, this is rolling around on the streets of sydney and sadly, my bum is not on it.

intel ran an innovation comp and another girl won. it’s true, i didn’t enter this but i still feel quite rejected as this incredible boom box bike is a better attempt than my homemade bike sound system.

though happy with the tunes quality of my turtleshell, the bike speaker market has changed since my first self made experiment. commercial players like dr. dre and a new update from outdoor tech makes cruisers much more likeable to drivers with their loud street beats.

outdoor tech buckshot 

similar bluetooth hook up to turtleshell. as all products on the site are described, this is ‘rugged’.



79 dollars. boom.

dr. dre the pill

Beats1 this is emily ratajkowski selling the pill. so many metaphors, don’t confuse it with a poem. 


pills, pills, pills. rhymes with bills, bills, bills. how many bills? 50 bucks.

both are strapped on with silicone bands. let me know if you’ve popped any of these two similar looking devices, very different sounds on the move?

x red bike

gear up girl prizes on prizes.

theredbike gang are the winners of the most referrals in the gear up girl ride second year in a row! all we do is win.
gear up girl prize loot. interesting loot this year: the major prize is lyrca again, a limited edition designed helmet by crafty school kids, a bicycle nsw membership and free entry to next years 2015 ride.

fancy helmet. woe is me, my head is too big for these stars!

the size of this crown is s/xs. there is an adjuster wheel on the back. if anyone with a littler head is keen on this fun gear, shout out to me on the blog and bam! it’s yours. actually, i’ll trade you for this lazer creation:

lazer light

lyrca for grabs too. size m.

x red bike

gear up girl 2014 olympic park > cronulla > kurnell

5:30 am on sunday. did you know this time existed? this is the hardest and most explorative part of the ride, making your way to the starting line.

the redbike gang are the spartans of the cycleword. fear us and feed us. we don’t have the 300 abs yet but there are 6 abs between us so nearly.

bicycle nsw is expecting over 1000 ladies for their second gear up girl challenge. the $40 entry fee and your 60km cycle goes towards tad disability services.

a lot of lyrca bikes this year, where are all the cruiser folk? it was slow moving crowds in the beginning but better pace starting from cooks river.


the course needs to put in a rest stop at brighton, even though it’s a piece of cake, the sun drinks your sweat.

at 30k, we took an oscar’s selfie and awarded ourselves with the incredible view.

brighton-le-sands is again the best part of this course, right by the coastline, it’s tempting to ride straight into the sea and park your bike onto this paddle board.


after the very narrow taren point bridge comes the crossroads of cornulla (40k) or kurnell (60k).

kurnell is on road and a moderately flat peddle to the coastline. you ride up balboa st and can see the sydney cityscape in between to trees like curtains to a foreign film. though it’s an open area, it’s secluded and you could easily take off your pants and take a dip.

on the last laps, we met our new team mascot, jimmy, the shetland pony. this is how they walk him,  never seen anything like it.

once we got to the finish line, there were manicures and chiropractors. they won’t massage your bum, where the true pains lies but they will put your backbone in place.

also to help our bums, we glided around on elliptigo, an elliptical bike. it hit australian shores only 3 years ago. a hefty price tag over $3000. rubysparks and bikebikebaby rate it.

what is this kooper?

we all got on the train, sleep.

big virtual precious metal medallions to our team: rubysparks flies up hills, crouching tiger hidden dragon, speedy otway minus a knee, bikebikebaby zero sweat and rubab the fruit, an oldschool surprise.


company: ruby sparks, crouching tiger, rubab the fruit, otway and bikebikebaby.

challenge ride course distance: 60kms (3 x last year).

x redbike

redbike at gear up girl 2014

a call out to all the ladies in the sydney that would like to join our hardcore non-lyrca girls bike gang. we’re fiercely into riding our pushbikes slowly up little hills.

join the redbike at gear up girl 2014 on march 9th. this year they’ve got a completely new track from sydney olympic park to cronulla plus and optional 20k to kurnell = 40/60k.

we’d done this track before and it’s a gorgeous mostly off-road ride along cooks river to the coastline. perfect way to bookend summer.

it’s relatively flat and doable on a no gears cruiser, dragster, mountain bike or the k-mart two wheeler your folks bought you when you were 12 – anyone can do it.

it’s 40 dollars for the challenge ride. enter here! and just leave us a message on this post if you’re keen to ride with us.

the red bike gang

we had a fun time last year, putthefunbetweenyourlegs rode with us too! you’ll need a bikie name as a part of the initiation.

by the way, byobike.

x redbike

sydney park > engadine > stuart park, wollongong

when you’re sitting on a train and everyone is starring at you because you know, i know, this whole carriage knows, this bike has no gears. this is the lyrca carraige. the next carriage is the lyrca carriage too.

we get to sydney park and i’ve never seen so many bikes in congregation. in the mirage, i possibly see a fixie amongst all the lyrca.

7 am – it’s a good vibe, everyone is here for a good cause. there is a man wearing a watermelon helmet. he had spent 100 dollars to find the fitted watermelon for his noggin and used the wedges as breast plates. questionable ohs requirements but great fruit art.

cultural capital to you, watermelon guy with watermelon 6 pack.

watermelon guy

quite nervous about riding in a pack because red bike is road hazard. i really should have my ‘l’ plates on. however, there is comfortable distance on the road between you and other riders when you’re first moving in tight lanes. once you hit taren point bridge, the bikes are spread with a butter knife.

sans souci is flat and the hills only start popping up after taren point.

this is black bike going ‘yeah! we totally got it’.


this was the last piece of visual evidence of black bike before the leg lock up. this trooper was being fuelled by 3 kit kats and once we passed san souci, black bike’s thighs locked up.

we did another 10k and decided not to push it because we had a 6 day hike the weekend following. some risk aversion here.

feeling good at the halfway mark, slightly disappointed we didn’t delve into the national park and make the finish line, i’ll be back next year with a vengeance.

giant thanks to all our supporters! we’ll bring home 90k next year.


company: black bike

goal distance: 90 km, real distance: 40.8 km

estimated time:  2 h 14 mins, real time: 2 h 30 mins ( 2 break stops with mechanics on hand for injured bikes )

x red bike

90 k, single gear but not single-handedly. sydney park > stuart park, wollongong

black bike and i are going to attempt 90k from sydney park all the way down to stuart park, wollongong.

we’re doing it to find a cure and support folks with MS.

some facts:

it is estimated that more than 23,000 Australians are living with multiple sclerosis and an additional 1,000 are diagnosed every year. people are typically diagnosed at between 20 and 40 years of age, although symptoms may begin much earlier. 3/4 of people living with MS are women.

we’re hopeful to raise $500 between us:

put some money towards a wonderful cause and keep all your fingers crossed we reach that finish line. ( if not, there is a first aid bus that will follow us)

we’ll be putting up a little ‘hall of thank you’s’. don’t let the thought of seeing your photo on our cool bike blog deter you from sponsoring this go-lucky team.

our cruisers will be easy to spot amongst all the lyrca.


x red bike

our hall of thank you’s