We started preparing for this trip knowing very little about bicycle touring, only a little about traveling in Japan.  Fortunately, there are some wonderful resources out there for people interested in learning about either of these topics.  Listed below are some of the web sites and documents that we found especially useful.  If you have any others that you would like to share, please let us know by sending us an email or adding a comment on our guest book page.

Since we finished this trip in July of 2010, we have had a regular stream of questions from people planning their own bike tours in Japan. We have collected the most common questions on our FAQ page which you can find here.

We also wanted to thank a few local San Diego groups and bike stores for supplying us with gear, advice and laughs. Links to these great organizations are below.

Japan Cycling.org

  • Planning this trip would have been much, much harder without JapanCycling.org. It’s a truly incredible site, with everything from detailed route suggestions, message boards, articles about everything from expenses to language and culture tips, and even a hospitality list that includes contact information for bike enthusiasts who are willing to take international cyclists in and show them around.

Random Length of Japan cycling blog

  • We don’t even know the author’s name, and it looks like he stopped keeping up his blog on Day 11 of his trip. But we love his pictures, humor, and laid back attitude about the whole thing. He makes it sound fun and doable. We loved that he named his bike “Shirley”, and decided to steal the name for Vicky’s bike – we hope he doesn’t mind (it rhymes with Surly  and is just a cute name for a bike, so we had to do it).

The Pongo Hogo Hogo Challenge – Walking the length of Japan on STILTS!

  • Any time we start to wonder if riding 2,500 miles on our bikes through Japan will be too tough, all we have to do is think about this couple and realize what we’re doing is easy compared to walking an even greater distance through Japan on stilts!

Bicycle Touring Pro

  • A very professional site by a full time touring cyclist! There are lots of great resources on this site for all levels, but it’s especially great for beginners.

Crazy Guy on a Bike

  • The site title says it all – “A Place for Bicycle Tourists and their Journals”. There is so much inspiration and useful information on this site.


  • Pacific Coast Cycles in Oceanside
    If you live in the San Diego area and like bike touring, fixed gear bikes, or that hard-to-find “classic” bike shop feel, you must stop by this place – it’s worth the drive up to Oceanside. Surly’s everywhere, vintage bikes and parts hanging from the ceiling, tools all over the place, no sales people – just the owner, Chuck and his wife, Gretchen. Chuck is a very interesting guy who is definitely a local celebrity when it comes to bike shop owners – everyone seems to know him, and he is famous for his craftsmanship and especially his work on wheels.  We bought Kelly’s Surly Long Haul Trucker and Vicky’s wheels from Pacific Coast Cycles.
  • El Camino Bike Shop in Encinitas
    The people here are extremely friendly, and the atmosphere is great – on any given day you will find both a mom buying her little’s daughter’s first bike to a serious looking cyclist in spandex trying out a new bike.  The shop is relatively small but very well stocked with bikes and gear for road riding, mountain biking, touring and even cyclocross. We got a few parts and accessories here (shoes, lights, computer, nuts and bolts, cages, etc.). Most importantly, we were able to barter a six pack of pale ale for some bike boxes to pack our bikes in for the flight over to Japan, thanks to Michaelangelo from El Camino Bike Shop.


  • This was our 2nd year riding with the San Diego Trek Bicycle Superstore training group on Saturday mornings. It’s a friendly, fun, large group of people, and all abilities are welcome and have a group to ride with (and someone to help with a flat tire if you run out of tubes). Rides start at around 25 miles at the beginning of the “season” and go all the way up to a century by the end. And the best part is – it’s free! Huge thanks to Trek for organizing, and all the ride leaders for keeping people together.
  • Working a 9-5 job during the week makes weekday riding difficult during the shorter days of the winter. So we attended spinning classes at the Encinitas YMCA to stay in shape between our weekend rides. It’s a great Y with a nice local community feel and multiple spinning (and countless other types of) classes each day.