Road cycling 4:00:00  79.0 km (3:02 / km)
shoes: Hired/borrowed clunker
Shimanami Kaido ride across the inland sea, just as great a ride as I thought it would be. We were on Giant TCR Advanced carbon bikes with 105 gears, about the best rental available, although we saw lots of Japanese riders with much more expensive gear. The ride is very popular and I'd estimate that several hundred were there today, but mostly on old clunkers. It's possible to stay on several of the islands so likely that not all were going the whole way. The ride crosses six islands between Honshu (the main island) and Shikuku, the smallest of the four main islands of Japan. There is a short ferry crossing from Onomichi to the first island, and six bridges ranging from 400m to 4km long. Each bridge is of a completely different design and construction, and were built to carry a freeway, but they all have a cycle path. On the islands the ride is along quiet roads, all with a path alongside for the more timid riders. The route is well-marked and no navigation is needed. Views from most points along the ride are magnificent, especially from the bridges and their approaches. There are many cafes and shops from which to buy sustenance, although sadly no sign of an espresso machine that we could find.
We did have a couple of concerns about how to get the bikes returned from the other side, and how to get a pack with a change of clothes across to the other side, our caseshaving been sent on to Hiroshima. We were scheduled to be on a train going on to Matsuyama (the main city of Shikoku) at 4.45pm, so we knew we had plenty of time to ride the 70-odd kms, but would our pack be there, and did we have a booking for the bike return? We should have known that the usual Japanese efficiency would work in our favour, and it did, with two different companies handling these needs expertly, and for a reasonable price.
The weather was great, sunny all day with a max. of 21 and gentle winds, even on the bridges, all of which were more than 100m asl. Photos and some words about the ride are on PP's fb.
Matsuyama is a typical Japanese city, though a bit smaller, and it is the home of an interesting castle and the oldest public baths (onsen) in Japan. Our hotel is near the public onsen but has it's own baths, including an open air bath on the rooftop, which of course was our first destination after checking in. Our room is very large, and the hotel has two restaurants, one designated 'cuisine Japonaise', a fusion of French and Japanese. This is the life!