Untitled : 06/17/2005

Japan Trip Report - Day 3


Oda-san met us in the morning to take us to Farm, but first a stop at his new shop location which he will move to soon. The new space is very nice. Big windows and a prime main street Kurashiki location, plus a five car parking lot which is very valuable real estate in Japan.

Rie has told us that Farm is a high-end enthusiast bike shop, and when we get there we see that she isn’t kidding. Three mint condition Mantis frames including a Pro-Floater, a Mountain Goat Whiskeytown Racer, and an original WTB Phoenix are just some of the exotic historic masterpieces waiting for sale. Jason and my eyes are bugging out at the goodies in this shop. Peter says that it will only get better as we continue to visit shops.

We unpack our bikes and hit the road. Oda-san takes us into the countryside along a river to a Buddhist temple.

After looking around we ride on. The breeze feels good on the hot summer day. We stop at a large bronze statue of a samurai crossing a river on horseback. I think they were some very tough men.

Heading back into town we hit some Kurashiki riverside singletrack from time to time. It is a very nice luxury getting to spend tis time on a bike in a small town in a distant land.

Back at the shop we pack our bikes in the hot sun and then get a lunch of sushi before heading to the train. We have two trains tonight to take us to Nagoya.


Arriving in Nagoya there is no rest for the wicked. We immediately set out for two shop visits with our driver Fukaya-san. He is a top level elite racer in Japan. We hope he will be a Salsa sponsored rider soon. He gives us open and honest feedback which is fantastic. Our first stop is Kato Cycles, a historic third generation shop that is a veritable cycling museum. The inventory in this shop is mind boggling. Jason and I have never seen anything like it. It is all here…old and new. I could spend hours here just looking. It is incredible. As we leave I ask the owner if I can take a picture with him and he graciously obliges, and then goes back to fixing a flat on an electric bike. I believe he is probably as passionate a cyclist as I will ever meet.

Fukay-san drives like a racer so I’m pretty sure he is fast on a bike! He speeds, bobs, and weaves us to our next shop, Quest. There we walk in on a Salsa Moto Rapido purchase! They swear it was not set up in advance and it makes us feel really good to meet the new owner.

Yokoi-san is the shop owner. He is a friendly and charismatic man who keeps a messy shop but is very successful with his small two person operation. Rie tells us that he sets aside his Sunday mornings to take his new bike customers on a one on one ride as a way of saying thanks and introducing them to riding routes. I think it is a very smart simple strategy.

Following our time at Quest we go to meet the staff of our Japanese distributor at a resteraunt downtown. The speciality of this place is chicken wings. I was skeptical but once I dig in and taste that chicken wing goodness I can’t stop eating. Mmmm, mmmmm, good! The staff are waiting for us and we walk in to an evening full of eating, drinking, and conversation. They are all very nice and also cycling enthusiasts. It is a priviledge to meet them and renew our relationship. I think Rie has developed a very good staff.

The night goes very late and after too many drinks we finally go to bed.


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