The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Knees 2

Today, following a 30 minute run, the knees on both sides are a little sore. Not the limp-inducing, aching, clicking things they once were, but just a bit tender. Recovered? No. Better? I guess - better than they were.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I went for a run tonight. The knees aren't perfect, but I made it 30 minutes without needing to stop and I have no pain now. The ITB on both sides are still bad, but not as bad as they were at their worst.

My left knee started bad and got better - in fact, at one point it seemed to suddenly loosen up, like someone letting go of their grip on my knee.

It was great to just run again. I wish I could go for a long run.

Afterwards I "stripped" the muscles in my upper leg by rolling them over a ball. The outside of my legs were pretty good, very few pain points, but the inner legs - wow - really bad.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Fixie bike race - Shiba Koen - Saturday 12.30

This flyer in a shop caught my eye today - a race for fixies is going to be held this Saturday in Shiba Park from 12.30, not far from Tokyo Tower. Sprints and a long 2 hour race. Oh, there's also a skid competition (but I haven't learnt how to skid yet :(....

Which shop? Well, I'm glad you asked. None other than the aforementioned Carnival in concretey Shibuya...

I went there today and spoke to Okada-san. Nice guy, good English. I bought some Nitto riser bars and had a chat about frames. He's also going to have a look around for a left crank for me.

Here's a video the guys in the shop made/and have on sale:

The back of their business cards have a bicycle gear ratio chart - a metric one...

Carnival has some nice stuff, but most of it is a bit overpriced. Kashimax toestraps are ¥8,000; a pair of old Gipiemme hubs are going for ¥21,000 and some beautiful old Campagnolo cranks that have been reworked, drilled and shaved are selling for ¥31,000 - although they won't last long on the street.

Now, in my last post I mentioned the bicycle jumble sale.

It's called the Sekidobashi Flea Market and it's on the third Saturday in April and October, starting at 9am (when all the best stuff gets snapped up - the early bird gets the Gan Well Pro). It's all cash only of course.

To get there, go to Nakagawara Station on the Keio Line, you can ride or walk from there.

On matters running, I went to Itaden, the massage center run by running champion Toshihiko Seko today. The massage was punishing, and I'm still sore now. I'll go for a run tomorrow. The woman who massaged me did little about the pain affecting my right knee. She gave the ITB/TFL muscles a really good going over though.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Fixie shops in Tokyo

I recently found out Tokyo has two track bike shops. I've never seen a shop that specializes in track bikes before, so this excites me.

The older of the two is Punch. Punch is a funny place. It tends to be closed, apparently opening only in the evening around 7.30 and some odd days - but inside you'll find a treasure trove of old Japanese frames from San Ren Sho to Nagasawa.

Punch is in Asakasa. To get there, head from the train station, past Sensoji (on the right) and turn left down the side street before you hit the next major road. Head down the side street until you're one block away from the next major road (which has a blue pedestrian bridge over it). Punch is on the corner of two small streets. The owner leaves track frames and wheels outside the shop (Japan has no crime).

Punch Cycle
Kaminarimon 1-5-10
Taito-Ku Tokyo 111-0034

The new kid on the block is skateboard firm T19's shop Carnival in Harajuku/Shibuya. It stocks mainly European brands but also has some cool old Japanese parts - including pink anodised Suntour Suberbe cranks and Nitto stems.

Carnival is just as hard to find. Basically it's towards the train line from Cat Street in Harajuku. Walk along Cat Street until you get to Burberry Black Label. Head down that side street, across the major road, and down a street on the other side. The opening hours, however, are more normal. Here's the website of the BMX shop below Carnival

Not a shop, but just as exciting is the semiannual bike jumble held in Tachikawa. More info in the next blog


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cycling and massage

Well done to all the Tokyo Marathon runners - a really hard day to set PBs, yet many of you still did.

While my knee has put me out of operation for awhile I've been building up a track bike - for use on a velodrome. It's a real "bitzer" made of parts up to 25 years old, some found parts and some new parts. To be honest, it looks a bit ugly. But it'll do the job.
There's a race on this Sunday. I might go - and see how I get on. If the knee hurts I'll come home. Although I need to work out how to get the bike to Yokohama.
On Monday, I'm off to a new masseur - Itaden in Yotsuya. I don't know if I should be seeing new masseurs or sticking with one, but I feel like I've given K's quite a good go. That said, Sato-san at K's has just started oil massage, which seemed to be better for the right knee.

I miss running!


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Good luck to all the Tokyo Marathon runners!

Good luck to everyone running the Tokyo Marathon tomorrow. Wrap up warm for the start (a bin bag works wonders) and bring lots of warm clothes for the finish.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Maybe a 5% improvement

My masseur asked me to go for a run because he wants feedback on whether the massage he did worked. I felt so good at the start and convinced myself the pain had gone away. The left knee felt good all the way, but at the point where it went the last two times the right knee went again. I stretched it in lots of different directions and managed to run home. Now I feel OK. It's a bit painful but I'm not limping like I used to (maybe I will tomorrow).

I found that if I do a forward lunge type stretch I feel an awful pain in my groin muscle on the right leg. It's as if I have the reverse of ITB pain - an overtight VMO/quadriceps femoris/groin. I also felt pain on the outside of the right knee, so I have ITB pain too.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Blue Stratos

Ahh, if only this rider knew how uncool it is to ride a blue Stratos. I took a few pics because 1. I've never seen this brand of keirin frame before and 2. he's mounted the cranks on the lefthand side - both odd and dangerous (because he's totally reliant on the lockring to keep his cog on).


Faintest glimmer of hope?

Had a massage today - and found out Sato-san at K's can do deep-tissue massage. Why didn't he tell me before!? Anyway, he did a good job and found what could be the source of the pain in my right knee. As soon as he hit it the same pain started searing across my patella. So I grimaced while he got stuck into the muscle. He said I should test it tomorrow - he seemed fairly sure he's nailed it. We'll see. I'm not fussed about the marathon anymore, but a return to some short slow runs would be welcome.

I'm getting an old track frame sent over from Australia. The frame is a Euro - made by Bryan Hayes, for a long time the builder of the Australian national team frames (from about 1980 to 1996) and still a technical adviser/mechanic with the Australian Institute of Sport. The frame never got much use as I developed glandular fever 3 years after getting it and never really competed on the track reglarly after that. So the frame is 20 years old, but looks quite new.

For those of you into bikes, the build list (with year part bought in brackets) will be:

Frame: Euro (1986)
Forks: Euro (1986)
Headset: Campagnolo Record (1986)
Headstem: ?
Handlebars: ITM Pista (2001)
Seat: SLR XP (2005)
Seatpost: Outland Carbon (2001)
Bottom bracket: TA Titanium (2005)
Cranks: Suntour Superbe (1984)
Pedals: Campagnolo Record (1985)
Clips: Campagnolo Record (1986)
Front hub: Shimano Dura-Ace (1999)
Rear hub: Campagnolo Record (1987)
Front rim: Campagnolo Strada (1999)
Rear rim: Steiger (1987)
Chain: DID

I'm going to use it for everything from picking up the shopping, to riding to work, to racing on a velodrome.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Can't even ride my bike

I decided to go for a leisurely ride today (I wore jeans - that's how leisurely it was), but even the short ride out to Kokyo inflamed the knee, which still hurts some 6 hours later.

I'd better find a good book to read or take up knitting.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Oh joy, the knee pain is back

Ran 25 minutes today before the pain in the right knee returned. Before that I'd felt OK. The ITB pain in the left knee is better than usual, although I had a new ITB pain in the right knee - normal ITB pain. Not sure what this nasty pain in the right knee is. There's a muscle that seems to flick as I run, the pain gets worse if I twist the knee - say, running around a corner.

In a strange way I didn't want my knees to suddenly get better because I've missed my long runs for the marathon. It would be so frustrating to be pain free but unfit for the marathon.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Stitched up!

My hopes for today's massage were dashed. I turned up but my massuer didn't. I had a feeling this would happen. I had been seeing another massuer, and of course, etiquette among massuers dictates they can't steal customers off each other. So my old massuer offered to massage me instead - which wasn't what I wanted, but what could I do or say?

Halfway through the massage I was told that my knees could respond well to acupuncture - and would I like to give it a go. I said yes (I'll try anything at this stage). Of course, this meant having less time for massage, but I'd booked in for 90 minutes, so giving up a bit of time for acupuncture seemed worthwhile.

But when it came to paying I was presented with a bill for ¥10,500 - 90 minutes solid massage and an acupuncture visit. Pretty cheeky considering I got about 60 minutes of massage and I hadn't been told beforehand that they'd even charge me extra for the acupuncture - AND the massuer I'd booked with didn't show up.

Maybe it's the frustration of not being able to run - but the whole thing's got me down. I like to be able to trust a massuer. I feel like I'm being treated as someone who'll spend money on anything.

Massage today

Today is another big day for me - a 90 minute massage with a new massuer. Tomorrow I will have a painful foot massage, Then Saturday it will be time to check the knee one more time.

If the knee pain is still there both sides I won't run again until the night before the marathon. If the knees turn out to be good the night before the marathon I'll still line up for it. Why not? I'll run until I feel pain, then stop. If I'm lucky I'll get through. My time will be bad, but I might still beat my 3.31 I ran in London.