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ride and park

September 18, 2010

Yesterday I had to make the tough decision whether to ride with sore legs, or take the train and have to heft my books etc to the station. In the end, I made the most expensive and luxurious decision. I rode to the station.

(panda shot, Smoking lily dress with pink bike shorts showing)

In order to do this, I had to ride to the train station slightly further away because it has underground parking. At 100 yen a day, it’s a pretty good deal I think.

First you roll your bike down three floors to the subterranean bike parking lot.

The ramp on the right is for going down.

Once inside there are rows upon rows of bikes, nicely out of any possible rain, and monitored by an attendant and a security camera. Monthly parkers get to park a bit closer to the station entrance.

For day parking you buy a ticket from the vending machine. It has three buttons, but they all sell the same ticket.

Then you staple the ticket to your rear rack and park your bike.

The blue thing is the ticket. It is good for the whole day, until 130am, including in and out privileges.

There is Mabel, all snug and safe.

I have to admit, this is the first time I have ever used the underground bike parking. I’ve been curious about it for a long time. So I finally got up the nerve (and the requisite laziness to not cycle across town but want to take the train) to ask the attendant how it all works. He was amazing.

But one of the reasons I have always wanted to try it was the bike-escalator-belt you use to get out. Actually, my first attempt at it was an epic fail. You are supposed to role your bike onto the belt and then just walk along side it holding on to the handle bars as it goes up. But I wasn’t too sharp, and I didn’t realize you need to hold the breaks engaged. Otherwise, as happened to me, your front wheel just spins and you don’t go anywhere. Eventually I got the hang of it and off I went.

It’s a bit hard to see, but this is us going up the belt.

It’s a pretty great system, except…. I think I probably did as much pushing, carrying and general exertion walking my bike in and around and then walking the rest of the way to the station as had I just walked to the station in the first place. It’s definitely nice to know you don’t have to walk home, but I don’t know that this was much lazier in the end. And by the time you add the parking fee, I paid more to commute than I normally would have.

I’ll definitely try it again now that I know how it works. But maybe for other reasons, like to get to train lines that aren’t easy to walk to from here but the bike/train combo would make sense.

I love Mabel, but her weight is really getting to me for long rides. My calves still haven’t recovered from Thursday.

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