Izu Touring 2010

Another great ride, even though we faced a few more obstacles than usual.

I got an email from Go the night before, saying that the security system on his Harley had drained his battery. He then charged it overnight and was able to join us for most of the ride, but that set the general theme.

On the morning of the ride, I was just about to head out when I got a call from Ami-chan, saying that she had made it partway to my neighborhood and stopped at a convenience store to find that her bike wouldn’t start. I grabbed my jumper cables and rode to the rescue, and at first it looked like a jump was all she needed, but then the bike died again, and it was clear that it wasn’t charging even at high rpms. We managed to juice it up enough to make it to my house, when all of a sudden gasoline started gushing out of my carburetor. It turns out I had damaged the fuel hose when I adjusted the carb float the week before.

So for a while there it looked like Ami’s bike had no electricity and needed a new regulator, and mine needed a new fuel hose, which you can’t buy at 7AM. We were beginning to resign ourselves to the idea we wouldn’t be able to make it, when I noticed that the regulator plug was hanging free on Ami’s bike. Some idiot mechanic had disconnected it to change the oil filter, so she was running without generation. I then found ways to jury-rig a fix for the fuel hose while we charged Ami’s battery, and we left a little less than two hours late. Knowing how slowly large groups move, we figured we might even be able to catch up, and we were right.

We met up with everyone at the entrance to the Izu Skyline, one of my favorite roads anywhere, and I set up my new secret weapon, the gorillapod flexible camera tripod.

For the rest of the trip, I experimented with various ways to mount the camera, and got the low-quality video I’ve embedded above. I think it shows some of the flavor of spring riding in Izu, though.

We stopped for a late lunch at Spice Dog in Shimoda for the best curry on the Izu peninsula.

It started to get cloudy, so rather than taking the usual route around the coast past Irozaki, we took a chance with a road none of us had tried before that turned out to be a fun ride over Jaishi (Snakerock) Pass. Unfortunately, none of the video I took there was usable, but the memory is plenty.

Then up to the campground for barbecue, booze, and brotherhood. (Of course, this being Izu, the campsite also has an onsen bath to relax and wash off the road dust.)

That’s some good shiitake.

And I can never resist taking a few shots of my bike with cherry blossoms, especially with the color of Noji’s Z2 in the background to set it off.

The next day, we got in more great riding, only to have Yos’s front tire go completely flat at a gas station. Luckily, I was able to locate a tire shop willing to help us out—iPhones come in handy in unexpected ways—and we were able patch the tube and get back on the road without too much delay.

Just to cap it off, my rear turn signal cover flew off on a mountain curve, and while Ami was able to find the lens, the mount escaped somewhere, and I had to make do with electrical tape.

But in all, the problems we had on this trip all came with pretty good timing: Ami’s battery died in range of my house, where we could charge it. My carb leaked in front of my garage, where I had the tools to fix it. Yos’s tire went flat sitting still at a gas station in one of the few towns we passed through big enough to have a tire shop, rather than at high speed on one of the mountain roads where we spent most of the trip. And who cares if I’ve got tape on my turn signal?

All these little complications just added to the adventure, and couldn’t keep us from having an amazing ride with good friends in great weather under the cherry blossoms.