With the Giro d’Italia already underway and the Grand Tours of France and Spain soon to come, you may be feeling inspired to get on your road bike and put some kilometers in your legs. However, living in the middle of the city you may feel like there is nowhere to go; we are hardly in the mountains of Nagano, after all.
But with that said, there are still some decent routes to hit, especially if you get a little bit out of Nagoya. Below is by no means an exhaustive selection of rides – far from it – but they may give you a few ideas. And who knows, when you get out on the road, you might find like-minded people who will let you know even better ones.
Built for the 2005 World Expo, Moricoro Park is easily accessed from Nagoya and has a wide number of attractions. For riders, the key attraction is undoubtedly the cycling course. A 5km circuit with tight turns and hairpin bends, it is an ideal place to ride to test your speed and handling away from the city traffic.
There are a few ways to get from Ena to Nagoya, and some have more climbing than others. But any way you go – as long as you keep off the main roads – you should be able to find rivers that wind through beautiful old towns, and at times fly through valleys and devastating scenery. Please bear in mind that if you are riding the train with your bike in Japan, as you will do to get to Ena, it is imperative that you use a bike bag.
This route takes you right along the rather beautiful coastline of the Mikawa Bay, to Aichi’s most southernly (landlocked) point and then back up along the Pacific ocean coast, meaning that it is as flat as it is beautiful. Though a decent distance, this sea-level ride is not only a good route for pictures by the beach, but also for relative newbies on their first long jaunt.
The worst part of this ride is the first 15km or so getting out of Nagoya, with all the traffic and the lights. But once you leave the main road near Nawa, it gets a little bit country, and then once you get to Shinmaiko it’s shoreline all the way to Utsumi. Being on the coast, the first half is pretty flat, but if you return via Obu, it’ll take you over the relatively simple mountains of the Chita Peninsula. Unfortunately, the ride from Obu to Nagoya isn’t the prettiest, but there’s not much we can do about that. To level up, plan your route over some of the bigger climbs.
As previously mentioned, the worst part of rides from Nagoya is the city itself. However, if you can get yourself out to Seto, you can access some lovely rides from there. This route has a lovely combination of countryside, river runs, and the occasional main road. With more than 2,000m elevation there are some pretty decent climbs in there, but sitting by Mikawa Lake with your lunch makes it all worthwhile.
Finally one for the Grand Fondo guys. Again there is beautiful countryside, rivers, rice paddies, hairpins, busy thoroughfares and spots where you can really get the speedometer working. But you won’t be thinking about any of those things at all. Because, with over 3,600m of climbing, all you will be able to hear is your legs screaming at you to stop, and your willpower hollering back “shut up legs, shut up legs, SHUT UP LEGS!”
If you want to know more about cycling in Nagoya, check out the Nagoya Cycling Club on Facebook. Many of the guys there are really helpful and welcoming to newcomers. If you’re looking for someone to ride with, here is the place. A big thanks to Tim Kendall from Nagoya Cycling Club for his help in putting this article together.
If you are in the market for a new bike or accessories, check out our article on bike shops here.
You can find me on Strava here, should you so wish.
Images: Mark Guthrie Own Work