Around noon Saturday I got a message from my buddy Kusshi inviting me to join his friends for a Naitsū along Tokyo Bay. Naitsū is a combination of the English words “night” and “touring”. I like these night runs because they allow me to spend the whole day being a good Daddy, put the kids to bed, and then head out on the highway. And for a white white white boy like me, it’s also nice to be able to ride without slopping on sunscreen every few minutes. We met up in a park and headed out through the muggy Yokoyama night air towards Tokyo Bay.
Yokohama has a lot of nice roads that are wide and well-designed compared to Tokyo, and we had few problems with traffic on our way to Yamashita Park on the waterfront in downtown Yokohama. After a quick break, we headed out over the Yokohama Bay Bridge into the archipelago of artificial islands that fill Tokyo Bay. We didn’t return to real natural land until hours later.
I’ve been over this area many times on the expressway that passes over several stories above it, but this was the first time I’d actually been through these industrial islands at sea level, so these roads were all new to me. We filled those empty islands with the thunder of V-twins as we passed over, around, and under the waters of Tokyo Bay.
We had several shovelheads and some older sportsters with us, and we had minor trouble with stalling and had to make some repeated running starts, but it never really affected our pace or the fun of the run.
We passed through an undersea tunnel past Haneda airport, and then passed through the imaginary line in the water that separates Kanagawa prefecture from Tokyo. We took another break in Odaiba, then crossed Rainbow Bridge, passed through Tokyo and out Route 246 through Kawasaki back to Yokohama.
We then wound through quiet residential streets up to the top of a tall hill in northern Yokohama to a hidden Southwestern style bar. After a quick beer to celebrate, we headed home.
In all, it turned out to be 116km of riding, without leaving the confines of Yokohama, Kawasaki, and Tokyo. In many ways, this run was the polar opposite of last week’s run. Day vs. night, remote mountains against clear blue sky vs. glimmering cityscape reflected in polluted water, leading a pack of longtime companions vs. following a group of new friends, cool mountain air vs. heavy city humidity, perfect photographic conditions vs. horrible lighting, and the natural beauty of the Alps vs. the artificial geometric beauty of the bridges, islands, and tunnels of the Tokyo metropolis. It’s amazing to be able to have two great but wholly different riding experiences like this in the space of a week. Life is good.