Our exploratory bike ride started off really wonderful. We had scouted out our ride to the park the day before and knew the back roads were mellow and flat. It took a turn for the worst when we decided to keep going past Ueno Park to try and get to Chiyoda Park. We were using Google Maps, which usually has biking directions, but this time there weren’t (red flag?) so we were navigating with walking directions. I failed to remember that when you walk, you can take stairs and shortcuts, but that’s not really the case with bikes. We soon found ourselves lifting our bikes up stairs and in the middle of traffic of an extremely busy and un-bike-able road. We pushed closer and closer to our goal, but I eventually had to call it. Not only were were constantly riding down one way streets the opposite way, but we kept forgetting the backwards roads. We didn’t make it to our goal park of Chiyoda, but we end up back in Ueno Park dehydrated from the humidity and hills, and decided to stop and get a refreshing juice drink. These drinks ended up costing us $18.00 (I mean, they were delicious coconut drinks, but $18?!?!?) In total we biked around 5 miles. Our morning Frogger biking experience prepared us for our next traffic activity that day, go-karting throughout the streets of Shibuya.
MariCAR in Tokyo is a very touristy thing you can do Tokyo, mostly foreigners participate, and I was somewhat dreading it. To be honest, I was really nervous about driving a go-kart through road traffic dressed as Pikachu.. (I mean honestly who wouldn’t be?? Oh, Chad). It only took me around 5 minutes to get into it, and soon the adrenaline ignited my need for speed and soon enough I was flying around corners trying to keep up with our guide. It was such an insane, terrifying experience. We sped through Shibuya crossing twice, speeding at 50mph (or what felt like 50mph). When we got back to the garage and parked our go-karts, our guide said happily, “No one died!”
The interesting thing about the traffic here is that the back roads are mostly small roads that you can walk freely on. There are no sidewalks but suggested painted lines in the asphalt. The back streets built for pedestrians and small cars, which is a really nice feeling compared to cities in the US where the card dominates all of the time. There is less noise pollution once off main roads, it’s safe for bicycles and there is an overall calm to the back roads of Tokyo. But yesterday Chad and I decided to jump into oncoming traffic.