Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Friggin Christmas!

To all my fellow cycling miscreants and degenerates, Señor Crankee wishes you all a very merry Christmas and a happy Festivus (you know...for the rest of us). And don't forget to order a Love Wheels Nagoya Calendar to help keep track of all the days you promised to go out cycling but stayed home instead to watch reruns of The Bachelor.....looser.

Merry Friggin Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Love Wheels Calendars Have arrived!

Finally, what many of my male readers (all 4 of them) have been waiting for has arrived! I've just received shipment of the Love Wheels Nagoya 2010 Cycling Calendar. You may recall that I wrote about my friend Rie who was working on a picture calendar featuring many of the cutest girls in our cycling group posing in fun and sexy outfits. The Love Wheels Nagoya Calendar won't disappoint anyone who enjoys the perfect combination of Asian beauties and bicycles. You can order your copy of the calendar from the Crankee Store. Supplies are limited and given the number of horny, lonely cyclist, we don't expect inventory to last long. Order today!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nagoya Chari Fes - Bicycle Festival

Wild Man Tsuyoshi (aka Dirty) is organizing a bicycle festival (Nagoya Chari Fes) this Saturday & Sunday at the Yabacho underpass in downtown Nagoya. Some of the activities planned include bike polo and basic bike maintenance (sponsored by our friends at Circles bike shop). More info (in Japanese) can be found here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Circle continues...

Higashi Betsuiin Circles Bike Shop

I first met Shin Tanaka at his tiny bike shop in Nagoya City when I was shopping around for a new bike for my planned trip through the French countryside. Shin exudes "Bike Cool". He had spent some time in America, so his English was peppered with urban slang and decidedly non-Japanese gestures. I liked him immediately. Shin has a very simple approach to how he sells bicycles: He doesn't sell them. He's no pusher. He will usually steer his customers to spending the least in money and the more in riding. When I finally decided to purchase a Surly Traveler's Check for my trip to France, he suggested I pick up the frame during one of my visits to the States thus saving $500.

I took his advice and let him handle the final build. This is why, over the last three years, Circles has become the premiere bike shop for people who are serious about cycling. And with the growing popularity, came the need to move to a more spacious location. Last week Circles opened their new shop in Higashi Betsuiin section of Nagoya.

Nice collection of Japanese and International cycling wear

The first floor features a gear, bike and clothing store, as well as a back section used for bike building & repair and a separate area for customers to work on their own bikes. This last thing is the coolest part of the new Circles. Customers can now rent a work area complete with all the tools and pro advice you will need to work on your own bike. A one day fee of ¥1000 is all you pay. If you wish to have unlimited access to the work area, the yearly membership fee is only ¥12,000. I think this is a great way to learn about bike repair; hands-on, all the tools you need and Makoto or Sal within arms reach if you need a little help.

Makato san showing us the universal hand sign for carbon forks

The second floor is the "build room". Arranged like a tony boutique, here customers can get advice on customizing their Vicious frame set with a Brooks saddle, Lino drop bars or whatever their heart desires.

Second floor customizing room

Shin has gone out of his way to make the new Circles more than just a bike shop, but a place cyclists can grow a better appreciation for their bicycles through education and assistance. The staff at Circles are all top rate and if you need English language help, Shin or Sal can handle that too. At any rate, stop by the new shop and say hi to the guys.

Member's work Space

Circles Bike Shop

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Monday, November 30, 2009

New Circles Bike shop location and kick off party

Nagoya's favorite bicycle shop Circles quietly closed the doors to its Fukiage shop last night and began preparations for the re-opening of the shop at a larger and better location in the Higashi Betsuuin section of Nagoya. Come join us to celebrate Circles' 3rd year in business as well as the opening of the new shop on December 3rd. The party will be held Thursday the 3rd at cafe a che pa'ti in Higashi Betsuuin (Do a google search for directions to the cafe) Party starts at 7pm, Fee:¥1500(with 2 drinks & food). We plan to have performances by SOUL ORGAN BOGALOO & びちょぬれアイドル as well as DJ Hirotaka Katoh. Hope to see you all there!

New Circles location as of December 3rd

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nagoya Chicks on bikes! 2010 Cycling Calendar

The ever active and pretty Riebo is busy putting the finishing touches to the Love Wheels Nagoya - 2010 Bicycle Calendar. The calendar will feature pictures of some of our local girls posing suggestively with their bicycles. These calendars are sure to sell fast (I've reserved a few copies for myself). Riebo included a section on the back of the calendar for sponsor ads. One spot is only 5000 YEN (about $50) and you get two free copies of the calendar. There are still a few spots left, so if you have a business or website you'd like to promote in Japan (or abroad...we think this baby is going to be popular all over the map), email Riebo at and reserve your spot. Deadline for ads is November 30.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Vandal Cargo backpack: Keg to go

As if I didn't have enough bags (back packs, messenger bags, tote bags, leather bags, sports bags, bags bags bags). I once tried counting the number of bags in my storage room, it made me depressed. Just one week after my latest bag purchase Vandal comes out with this new Cargo Backpack. It's ridiculous really. I mean, who the hell needs to lug around a small beer keg? Besides me. My palms are starting to sweat now, but I am NOT going to buy this friggin bag. Enough already. What am I turning into? Some aging hipster bag hoarder?

Say it ain't so

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wipe Out!

Riding back home alone yesterday afternoon after the BBQ I hit a concrete excrescence on route 19 and faster than you can say "Fuck" I was on the ground tasting some of Nagoya City's finest Asphalt. I can't explain how it happened, I can't even remember much after it happened. All I know is that I got up quickly and staggered over to the sidewalk to check for damages, on the bike, not me. The leather handle bar strap was ripped, I noticed a deep scratch on my wrist and felt pain on my right knee. But I knew that I wouldn't become fully aware of my physical damage until the next day, so I got back on the saddle and rode over to Circle's bike shop to have Makoto san fix my handle bar strap. This morning I took inventory and counted 8 bruises and cuts on my leg, hip, arm and shoulder. This is only my second spill on a bike in the last 5 years. I'm still getting used to riding my new track bike and the awkward riding position places the center of gravity further forward than my road bike. In addition, my Surly Steamroller is much lighter than a road bike and this makes it easy to fly forward through the air like a crazed gymnast whenever you hit a pothole. Did I mention how many people approached me to offer assistance? Zero. That's cool. I probably wouldn't approach me either.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

BBQ Ride to Tokai City

Just a quick note that Riebo is organizing a ride out to Tokai City tomorrow (Sunday). Meeting time is 9:30 AM at Circles bike shop. Here's a map of the route. Planned events include a BBQ and welding workshop. Fee is ¥600. See you there.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Yellow man and the iron donkey

Living in Japan, or just about anywhere in the far east, you get used to bicycles. Whether it's the sandy streets of Phuket, the crowded alleys of Shanghai or the glossy avenues of Nagoya City; Asians and bicycles go together like dim and sum. Yet lately, I've noticed a change in the attitude my Asian brothers display toward the iron donkey. No longer a utilitarian device, the bicycle is now an accepted fashion statement, a luminescent neon sign that screams "I have a lifestyle". And as with any lifestyle, you get the cliques, logos, rules and memos. I'm actually enjoying watching the evolution of cycling culture in Japan, and you's a good thing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My new ride

Yesterday I picked up my new Surly Steamroller at Circles Bike shop. As you can see from the photos, the custom camouflage paint job and classic Lino drop green handlebars make this one very PUURRTY bicycle! This marks my introduction to track bikes and fixed gears. Since I'm a 44 year old chicken and not some 20 something hipster, I've set my flip flop gears to freewheel and installed front and back brakes for added safety. When I feel confident enough I'll switch to fixed gear and practice falling on my ass. The ride this morning was all together different (which I expected). Track bikes position the body for optimal speed and not necessarily comfort. It will take some getting used to. The smaller drop down handlebars leave little space to move the hand, and I went back to using strap clips instead of SPD clips. After a few minutes, I started to get into the groove and noticed how much faster the bike responds to my body movement. And this baby is fast! This will be my city bike for rides downtown and occasional day trips to the countryside. My Surly Travelers Check will remain my choice for long trips, hilly rides and for BBQs. Enough yapping. Time for a ride.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This name is making me Cranky!

For almost a year I've been blogging under the pen name PedalPapa. I got this name form my much younger Japanese cycling friends. But lately I'm starting to feel my age, so I've decided it's time for a new name. One that better reflect my personality and love for things cycling. The name....Crankee, a nod to that most important piece of metal found on all bicycles, and a slight reference to how I feel most of the time. There you have it...I Am Crankee!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Trick O' NUTs

The Halloween themed NUTs alley cat race went off well last night. Many of the riders came dressed in their Halloween best. Dirty organized the race this time and as usual he was off the chart with his antics and comedic presentation. Here are a few picts I managed to take before and after the race.

Riebo as a little ducky

Sie Chan as the wicked witch

Neko & Dirty doing what they do best

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Halloween Alley Cat

This Saturday we will have our monthly NUTs alley cat race. Meeting place as usual will be at Shirakawa park. If you can, wear something spooky. See you there!

Monday, September 28, 2009

NUTS! Fes 2009

The 2008 NUTS! Fes cycling event-rave-performance art-whack fest was a blast. It seems we may have had a little too much fun the last time, causing the local Inuyama residents to deny us permission for using their camp site for this year's repeat performance. No worries, the pedal monkeys at NUTS found a better place for the 2009 NUTS! Fes, and the party will go on! Grease your bikes and get ready to pedal on October 24th, 25th to the town of Yaotsu in lower Gifu prefecture (map here). You can find more detail about this year's event here. On the menu we'll have the usual mix of cycling, races, battles and silliness. In addition, we'll performances by 5 bands and a slew of DJs. The event will be held at a restaurant/Inn, so no need to bring a tent. Indoor sleeping area will be provided for about 100 people on a first come first serve basis. Just bring a sleeping bag and warm clothing. Tickets for the NUTS! Fes are available here or you can buy them at Circles bike shop in Nagoya City. There will likely be an arranged group ride from Nagoya City to the event location. I'll post again when I have the details. Hope to see you all there!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Alley Cat Surprise

Last Monday night the NUTs group held the monthly alley cat race in downtown Nagoya City. I expected to see the usual bike nuts eager to ride and drink afterward. Little did I know that we would be joined by about 100 fellow cyclist from around the world! To make a long story short, Izuru san organized a group ride of about 100 visiting cyclist in Japan for the CMWC event in Tokyo (Cycle Messenger World Championships). The group met in Kyoto and rode up to Nagoya Monday night in time for our Alley Cat race. I had never seen such a large group of smelly, tired and jet lagged cyclist in my life. I was immediately conscripted as an interpreter/organizer. Many of the guest cyclists joined in the evening's race and met at Cafe Palwr. We helped organize sleeping arrangements for those who needed it. I really enjoyed meeting so many fellow cyclist from just about every continent I can name. The next morning the group was off on their journey to Tokyo for the big event. I hope they made it all there safely. I won't be in Tokyo for the CMWC event, but we have a couple local guys racing and I'll be rooting for them.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cycling BBQ at Shonai Park

Just in case any of my cycling friends are in the area, today I will be in Shonai Park by the lake with my Surly BBQ Cycle. Stop by, say hi and taste my ride.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September Alley Cat Race

Quick reminder that this month the NUTs Alley Cat bike race will be on Monday the 14th instead of Saturday. Meeting time is 8:30 PM at Shirakawa Park with after race party at Cafe Parlwr in Shin Sakae. Happy cycling!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bang King 2009 - A banging success

Just back last weekend from the Bang King Track bike race in Kanazawa City. It was great seeing a lot of my Nagoya cycling friends and even managed to make a few new friends. Though the race is rather laid back and friendly, we had two people there who proved to be serious contenders and good sports. On the Dude side was an Aussie named Rob who just only started racing less than a year ago. He was quite impressive and left everyone behind in the sprint races. Rob eventually won the whole shebang and took home a track bike and messenger bag for his effort. On the femenina side was a Japanese lady who turned out to be a semi pro track cyclist. I missed her race but I heard she took home top prizes too. Over all the event was fun and we all got to enjoy a nice BBQ at a local beach campsite. I'm really impressed by how the local cyclists go out of their way to cultivate a friendly and fun cycling culture that lacks the usual pretentiousness of hipster cycle chic. It seems like Tokyo and Nagoya are the two cities helping to define what cycling is in Japan and leading the way in showing people how to have fun on two wheels. I look forward to partaking in more cycling events with my Japanese pedal freaks in the near future.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

2009 Bang King Track Race

Saturday I'm off to the Keirin Velodrome in Ishikawa prefecture for the annual Bang King Track race. Many of the Nagoya Nuts will be in attendance as well as cyclists from around Japan (here are some picts from last year's race. We expect a weekend of racing, riding and BBQ, but most of all a great excuse for cyclist to get together and have fun. This event tends to be casual and light-hearted even though many race to win. I'm not racing since I don't have a fixed gear this time around. Maybe next year I'll muster up the guts to ride fixed. I'll post pictures of the event next week.

Monday, August 24, 2009

August Alley Cats

We had a good turnout Saturday night for the monthly alley cat race. This time the race resemble more of a Critical Mass ride through downtown Nagoya than a race. It was fun nonetheless and the night was just right. Afterward we met at Cafe Palwwr for a Kakigori (shaved ice) eating content. Did I mention they you had to eat all of the ice topped with chili sauce? Major ice headache.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Girls

Here 's a picture of some of the female members of my cycling group (Nagoya NUTs). I love these girls. All of them are sweet, fun and love cycling. And they all look sexy on a bike. We all have lot's of fun on our regular cycling trips and races. Love live the NUTs girls!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Let's Biking

Local Cycle Nut, Justin Miller is organizing a little cycling fun event Sunday July 12th at Tsurumai park. Everyone is invited. Meeting place will be by the park fountain at 1PM. The Let's Biking event will feature a short group ride, some food and beer and maybe even a little performance art. If you've got a bike ad want to hang with some cool people, cycle on down to Tsurumai this Sunday.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Flashy shirt

My sound activated shirt was a hit the other night at the NUTs alleycat race party. Here's a shot of me and Riebo yelling at my shirt.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Alley Cats and After party

Saturday nights monthly NUTs alley Cat race was by far the Fun-est we've had. After the race we all met at Cafe Dufi for an after party sponsored by Circles bicycle shop. Live DJ, cold beer and good food made for a night of cycling heaven. The NUTs events are awalys a treat and the most important thing is that everyone is in it for the fun. In the end, that's what cycling is all about right?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dai Nagoya University Ride

Some of the NUTs cyclists were asked to demonstrate cycling safety to students of the open university (read: no campus) Dai Nagoya University. We all met at the TV tower in Central Park and broke up into groups. I lead my group on a short ride to Shonai Park then back to Meijo park for a small picnic. The ride was good and the people all seemed enthusiastic. Nagoya City is starting to develop a nice cycling culture.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tony's Theme Song

Here's a song by the Pixies about a cycling Super hero named Tony? It must be me!

Monday, June 8, 2009

BBQ Bike: The Video

Here's a video of the BBQ Bike in action.

Biking & BBQing

Here it is! At last, my strangest creation...the BBQ Bike! I installed a small propane gas BBQ grill onto my Surly bike rack. Took it out to the park for a test run. The results were: Delicious!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Planes & Penis

Just a quick video I put together of our cycling trip to the Tagata Shrine festival in March. Enjoy!

Friday, April 24, 2009

She gives good helmet

Cool video to remind us to wear helmets when riding.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Alleycat race this Saturday night

The monthly NUTs alleycat race will be held on April 18th. This time we'll be meeting at 8:30 PM by the water fountain entrance of Meijo Koen (Park). If you've ever attended a Walkathon event, you'll know the spot. Entry fee for the race is 300 YEN. Bring yer wheels and a set of groovy legs. Check out the calendar link to the right for more details.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cycle Cross Race at Shonai Park

A Sunday full of sweat and pain. The usual suspects gathered last weekend for a day of racing at Shonai Park. Needless to say, I finished next to last. I was trying to be last. Better luck next time. Here's a video I made of the event.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Some more picts from the Himakajima trip. Gotta make plans for another ride down there soon.