Yamabiko 2007 (English)


Last weekend was Club SPLENDOR’s 20th anniversary Izu Yamabiko-so touring.
(日本語版はこちら。)


Since the weekend before, the weather report had been calling for rain, but I never let it worry me. Just as I had expected, I woke up in the morning to find that the weather gods had smiled on me once again, with clear blue skies and the roads just a little bit wet from the heavy rains the night before.

We got to the meeting point at Ebina Service Area on the Tomei expressway to find that YOS’s shovelhead’s starter wasn’t working, but since the kickstarter works fine, this was nothing to worry about. It turns out a different bike was preparing to give us trouble this time.


Heading down the Odawara-Atsugi toll road, we had a great view of Mt. Fuji.


Ami-chan is known to make clouds go away, so in addition to my rainstopping powers, we had no need to even bring our raingear.


We started heading up the Hakone Turnpike…


…but first Hasshi needed to tighten the bolts on his panhead’s muffler.


The kicking begins…


Stinger takes his turn. The bike finally started, and we headed up the beautiful winding roads to the pass.


Near the top of Hakone Pass, we got hit with some fierce winds.
Hasshi decided to take the time to clamp his loose muffler down really tight, and the wind was cold enough that the muffler cooled down enough to handle pretty quickly.


We left the Hakone Turnpike, which has recently changed its name to the “Toyo Tires”™ Turnpike (ugh.) and headed toward Atami pass.


Wild biker women.


The Izu Skyline toll road, which runs along the spine of the mountain range which forms the Izu peninsula, is one of my favorite roads, a roller coaster highway with well-designed winding turns, and views of the ocean on both sides of the peninsula. With a sky this clear, and just a few petals left on the cherry trees, it was breathtaking.

Hasshi’s panhead stopped a few times, with old paint clogging up his gas line, but each time he was able to get it going again without too much trouble.


We left the Skyline at Hiekawa and filled up our tanks.


Pro cameraman Yuka takes some art shots.


We headed up route 59 through terraced fields with ancient stone walls,
into the narrow road over the pass, though sun-dappled evergreen forests.


In recent years, I’ve tended to pick the same route for this trip, since I think it’s the most fun with the least traffic, and this year was no different. As always, lunch at the Katatsumuri curry shop, where we can sit on the homemade log furniture at look at the cherry-pink-tinged mountains.


I really like the atmosphere in this place.


One for the road.


Ara decides to work some sunbathing into his schedule.

Eating curry and nan bread in a mountain meadow and chatting with fellow bikers isn’t a bad way to spend lunchtime.

I’m not sure this is meant to take my weight.


Mizuki plays it cool.


The deep blue sky in this picture is no Photoshop effect, nature did that for us all by herself.

We took the back roads back onto route 59 and headed over Nishina Pass. There was an asshole Mercedes who wouldn’t let me us on the narrow mountain roads, but I guess the dealerships take away your Benz priveleges if you ever show a hint of human kindness, so I suppose he couldn’t help it. I would have blown by him if I were alone, but leading 10 bikes I couldn’t take that kind of risk, so I just came him a friendly biker salute (with one less finger than I usually use for the peace sign) when we finally got a chance to pass. It was too good a day to let one pathetic prick ruin my mood.


The Deadhead biker group had decided to stay in a rental cabin at the
Nishi-Izu Campground. After another kampai, we rode the last few
hundred meters to Yamabiko-so.


Yamabiko-so is an old schoolhouse that has been converted into a town-run inn, with onsen hot spring baths and an onsen heated swimming pool. SPLENDOR has been coming here every year since 1987, and we Gaijin Bikers joined them from 1997 onward.


Lisa sold her old Zephyr and is now riding a state-of-the-art BMW. The onboard toolkit consists of a single Torx driver!


Time for jackassery at the pool.
First, the pool vault.


The high jump, which if done properly, results in a bright red back.


Modified hurdles.


They say that onsen water is good for you.


Combination high jump and flip. (I can confirm that this one really hurts.)


And after the exercize, it’s dinnertime, with fresh sashimi and lots of beer.


Then back to the rooms for more drinking and biker banter.


And once the liquor starts flowing, a return to the pool for more silliness is inevitable.


Synchronized drowning.


Moon vaulting.



The next morning was beautiful, even with a mild hangover.


Cherry blossoms and bikes.


We said goodbye to the rest of SPLENDOR, and headed off into the
mountains again.


We met up with the deadheads, and took to the coastal roads.


Irozaki cape at the tip of the peninsula.


Why can’t eveybody park their bikes pretty like me and Ara did?


Let’s ride!


Lunch, of course, is at Spice Dog, a restaurant run by a Deadhead surfer dude we know. Unfortunately, we were making great time that morning, and got there at 11am, before they open.


We hung around outside while they got the store ready, listening to the music from their awesome sound system.

After some delicious curry, we headed out again.

We filled up our tanks in Shimoda, but then Hasshi’s panhead refused to start again, no matter how many times we kicked at it.


And we’re off to a running start!
A few kilometers on, it stopped again. Most of us don’t mind this sort of thing, but Hasshi didn’t want us to wait for him any longer, so we left Ara with him and went ahead. I hate leaving people behind, but he insisted.


We got to the Amagi-goe rest area, and were talking about how they were probably sitll working on the bike, when we heard the thunder of V-twins coming toward us. Turns out one powerful blow from Ara’s monster lungs was enough to dislodge the gunk in the gas line, and they got going immediately.


Back to the Skyline, and the mountain was out again. Unfortunately, as is often the case with Fuji, what looked spectacular to the naked eye barely shows up at all in pictures.


Ichi and his Green Machine with (invisible) Fuji)


Group picture with (invisible) Fuji in the background


But change the angle a bit, and the port city of Numazu below us was a great view too.


Down the Hakone toll road to the Odawara-Atsugi again, and another running start. Hasshi’s bike provided the comic relief on this trip.


Back to Ebina SA , and then we all went our separate ways…after one more running start.


And we got back to Kawasaki just as the sky began to darken. Another
perfect day.

Overnight, the temperature dropped, and the rains started again, but we
had our perfect weekend, and the bad forecast probably helped keep the
roads reasonably cage-free. Altogether, it was a brilliant ride.

Google map of this ride.

4 thoughts on “Yamabiko 2007 (English)”

  1. As usual, an awesome blog post with amazing pictures. Thanks for providing the “armchair travel” for a Chicago girl stuck at home!

  2. Nice pics. It looks like last weekend was weekend for good, long rides. I had quite the enjoyable ride that weekend as well. Although the sky wasn’t quite as blue, it wasn’t a bad ride. I didn’t get nearly as many pictures as you did.

    Enjoy the Spring!

  3. Looks like a great ride. Unfortunately for us we don’t take a lot of pics while riding (need to work on that). We need to work on the jackassery too, not a lot of that going on here since there is really nothing to do but sit outside of a family mart drinking until our livers fall out. I love riding here in Korea but not a lot happening in the places we go.

Comments are closed.