The Village Velodrome Appreciation Society

A blog about jitensha and jogging

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ishikawa Cycle Sports

I checked out a bike shop today Ishikawa Cycle Sports in Ryogoku. It's like a museum of European bicycle parts. The guy who owns it has an amazing collection of parts - some for sale, some not.

I think I need to learn how to speak to older shitamachi men. All of my efforts to talk to the owner of the shop fell flat. "Sugoi gitensha ya! (great bike shop)" I said. "Hmph," came the reply. But a friendly hmph.

I bought something, which I thought might break the ice. Then I headed outside and he followed. My bike was parked outside. He noticed my rare back wheel. "Campagnolo ni-ju-hachi hole hub," I timidly said. "San-ju ni hub arimas," he said. We were talking! Exchanging ideas. "Kono rim mimasuka (have you seen this rim!?)" I excitedly countered. "No," he said. And walked off.

I sort of gave up trying to make small talk at that stage, asked if I could take some photos and reverted to polite foreigner mode. Pity really.

The shop is worth a visit, but I think the owner would rather be left alone with his bikes and parts.

Boxes and boxes of new old stock Campagnolo parts

A 1950s or early 60s Campagnolo front derailleur

1980s and 90s Campagnolo parts

Sugino 75 track cranks with rare 60 tooth carbon fibre chainring

A 1990s Z-Peugeot helmet, as worn by three-time Tour de France winner Greg Lemond

An Alan carbon fibre frame (my size too!) in front of lots of Merckx frames. The green one in front is a Ciocc.

Old Campagnolo rear derailleurs plus some other brands

A massive chainring for motorpace racing (also the type of thing you'd use for land speed records). The rear mechs include 1980s Japanese ones by Suntour and Shimano. The case also contained a Huret derailleur - an amazingly light rear mech for the 1980s, which weighed in at just 179 grams and remains one of the lightest rear derailleurs made.


90 minutes

I did a long run today, and for 1hr 20mins it was just like the old days. The knees felt good, and I felt comfortable. But with 10 minutes to go the right knee pain returned. It didn't get too bad - I didn't need to walk - but I was beginning to think the problem had resolved itself. The ITB was OK for most of the run. Just before the right knee flared up the ITB on the right got a bit sore. The left felt basically OK - just a bit weak.

I'll see how I feel tomorrow. When the knee pain occurs sometimes I wake up the next day and can't walk. I've got an anti-imflammatory pad on the knee. I'm not a big fan of them, but it would seem to be the best thing to do at the moment.

Update Two hours on...I pushed too much - the right knee is not good.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

43 minute run

Ran an old favourite route today - along the Sumidagawa to where it meets the sea. When I was fit and fast I'd do it in 17 minutes to get to the turn-around point, today it took 21 minutes, but that was fine. No need to push yet.

Right knee feels good. Left knee is a bit sore, a bit tight.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

32 minutes easy

After last night's effort I took it easy tonight. The knees are OK. So so, but OK. Mainly ITB tightness in the left knee. A slight hot feeling in the right knee.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Back to Oda Field

I finally got to run at Oda Field athletics track again. It was so good to run properly again. The knees felt OK - I'm not expecting miracles, they still feel weak and painful, but not too bad.

I didn't do much - 2 x 800 and 1 x 1,200, but that was enough, my condition is bad.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Some more bikes

I forgot to post this a couple of days ago. Yet another Kalavinka.

Nice head badge

And what's this! A 3 Rensho child's mountainbike. They must have fallen on hard times at one point.

Did a quick run today. Some soreness in the right knee, but nothing bad. ITB was OK.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Seen in Tokyo (Aoyama area)

Went to some great Tokyo shops today including Cibone and bag makers Isaburo.

Along the way I spotted what perhaps counts as the best fixed gear bikes I've ever seen...enjoy.

Top of the list is this bike. At first I thought it was the Nike concept bike, created by the Ben and Oscar Wilson for Nike's 25 year anniversary of its Air Force 1 shoe. A closer look revelead a small Nike sticker on the front. But I know nothing about this frame except it looks stunning.

Next most amazing bike - at first sight at least - was the Brooklyn Machine Works bike. An amazing looking machine, but my excitement was tempered a bit by two things - the bike is sold as seen, I prefer it that people pick and choose their parts, and second, it's not a fixie! A closer look reveals a back pedal brake - how wrong is that!

If you like clashing colours, this one's for you. There was a few too many hues for my liking, but I'm sure this floats someone's boat

I felt sorry for this KHS, so much competition in Tokyo...

One shop in Harajuku has a great bike rack that reads "Hang Yourself"

The trend for one colour bikes is taking hold in Tokyo...this green Kalavinka is quite nice...

Whereas this white Kalavinka is more old skool (note the gold lock)


Friday, April 13, 2007

Ran 30 minutes - quite fast

The heading says it all. I've developed a good stretch to do at the end, it gets right into my hip where the ITB starts. My knees are feeling better each run. The right knee still has noticeable ITB pain, the left just feels tight.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Ran an hour

Did an easy hour today. The knees are kind of OK. Got soaking wet and cold at the end.


Recovering from my ITB injury and the odd pain in my right knee has been frustrating, but it's teaching me a lot. And I recently learned two more lessons.

There is a great if somewhat erratic cyclist by the name of Oscar Freire. Freire has won the world championships twice, yet has also spent months doing very little. Up until a couple of months ago he had been forced to stop riding because of injury. Being a former world champion with millions invested in him, he was sent to every specialist his team could find. He underwent hours of painful intensive therapy, but all to no avail. He remained injured.

Then he decided to take responsibility for his own body. He told his team he would stop all treatment. He said he wanted to rest. Slowly his body recovered, he started going for short rides, he tested how far his body would let him cycle. Eventually he was able to do a proper training ride again. Soon he was racing again - but not searching for victories.

A few weeks ago he asked his manager to enter him in the 290-kilometer Milan to San Remo bike race, a gruelling event with a nasty climb right near the end, followed by a rapid descent and sprint that is considered a "classic" - one of the 10 races that really matter in the cycling calender.

The morning of the event he told his team he was ready. More than ready - he intended to win.

More than six hours later it was Freire's orange jersey that flashed across the finishline first. He was back.

My second lesson was less dramatic. I picked up a book and read a page at random. It said, "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras." It's an old medical adage, but it reminded me that injuries happen, bodies recover, there's no magic cure and no reason to think that I have something I can't recover from. I just have to take small steps, then longer steps, and slowly test my body until I feel it's time to say "I'm ready".


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Ran twice in three days

I did a quickish paced run Thursday, my ITB hurt all the way and at the end my old knee injury under my right kneecap seemed to be flaring up again.

Tonight I took it easy, the ITB was fine, although after 30 minutes both knees began to hurt. I'm glad I can at least do some running and stay in some sort of shape.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

My bike

I thought I'd post a few more photos of my bike. It feels great to ride - really quick and nimble.

I'm using flat handlebars. They take some getting used to, but they're set at just the right height (I've tilted them down a bit since taking this shot)...

Here's a close up of the Nitto bars and very short TNI stem.

Rear wheel has a 28-hole Campagnolo hub, three-cross spokes on the drive side, radial Hoshi spokes on the other, and 14 tooth Campagnolo cog

The headset is also Campagnolo - from the old Record pista groupset

Finally, here's my bike lurking on the streets outside a ramen shop at night...

The build list is:

Frame: EuroSport by Bryan Hayes (Columbus tubing, Cinelli bottom bracket shell, Gipiemme drop outs)
Forks: Kalavinka -
Headset: Campagnolo Record Pista -
Headstem: TNI 60mm
Handlebars: Nitto
Bar tape: Cateye -
Bar plugs: Cinelli -
Seat: San Marco SLR-XP -
Seapost: Interloc Racing Design Type 2 Quad -
Cranks: Suntour Superbe -
Chainring: Sugino 75 -
Chainring bolts: alloy (from Posh Bikes) -
Bottom bracket: TA Titanium -
Pedals: Tioga
Chain: DID -
Front rim: Campagnolo -
Front spokes: DT -
Front hub: Shimano Dura-Ace -
Front skewer: Control Tech Titanium -
Front tyre: Continental Giro -
Rear rim: Steiger Aerodynamic
Rear spokes: Hoshi (星)
Rear hub: Campagnolo Record -
Rear tyre: Vittoria -
Cog: Shimano Dura-Ace -
Front caliper: Campagnolo Mirage -
Brake cable: Campagnolo -


Monday, April 02, 2007

Eishin Clinic

I went to a doctor today to get my knee checked out. I wasn't at all impressed. The place is called Eishin Clinic. I didn't tell the doctor about my ITB because I wanted to give him a chance to diagnose me without me telling him what I thought was wrong with me.

In the end he totally misdiagnosed me, missed the ITB, told me the pain wouldn't last long, although he said he doesn't know what is causing the pain - and that I should stop running if I feel pain - which is every time I run - so what good is that advice? And the fact that the pain has lasted since mid-January makes me highly skeptical he can predict it will be gone in a few weeks. I pointed out that the clicking sound he heard when he moved my knee was ITB. He said "No, it's not ITT." In other words he had no idea what I was talking about, but couldn't be seen to have missed something. Calling it ITT was a sure sign he barely knew what I was on about.

He gave me anti-inflammatory pads, too, which is what all doctors who don't know what to do give out.

I hate the fact that in Japan no one ever questions doctors. Doctors act like they are better than the patient, and patients are not meant to take an active role in their own recovery. It's a bad system all round and produces bad doctors like the one I had today.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Some bikes I saw today (and a few days ago)

Nice 1980s Cherubim road bike

Great Makino

Not sure about the retro BMX seat though

This last one I saw today is a Bridgestone, it was in the shop where I bought the T-shirt. The shop is called Pedal, it's in Naka-Meguro.

Finally, sorry for the quality of this one, I took it on the fly, but an awesome Panasonic (a sticker on the frame turns Panasonic into Panic on the downtube).

Sorry the pictures haven't been loading. Here's one more pic...