I’d been itching to go for a nice long skate for a while. But the problem was where to do it. So many of the inner city cycle paths (such as the Shiroishi Cycle Road) are not only very busy with pedestrians and bicycles, but the surface on the Sapporo City side is quite rough. After a bit of perusing on Google Earth, I settled on a trip to Ishikari Bay and back via the Toyohira and Ishikari River river-side paths. The initial plan had been to skate there and back on the same route, but half way though the day we decided to make it a loop, coming back via another cycle path along the Shinkawa River.
Joining me on another longboard was Max from the UK. He’d not done any distance skating before, but he was keen to give it a try. By the end of the day he would have skated his first 70km in one go. I was also on a longboard, with the rest of the troupe on bicycles. The weather couldn’t have been better for it, and we had a tailwind the whole way to the beach.
The cycleway along the Toyohira River is a empty dream once past the more central city parts of it. For the most part, we had it to ourselves. After joining with the Ishikari River, the cycleway carries on for a few kilometers before merging with a nicely paved stop-bank road. On occasion Max couldn’t help but catch a ride.
Rather than head straight for the beach, we carried on north up to the end of the road near the Ishikari River river mouth. There’s a wild hamanasu Japanese rose area here, along with a lighthouse. I’ve not yet been there in the hamanasu blooming season, but from what I hear it is quite the sight. After a quick walk along the board walks, we headed to the beach. It was a hot day, so we passed on the hotsprings, and opted for a dip in the sea instead. We weren’t the only ones doing so. It seemed like most of Sapporo’s outdoor loving population was at the beach.
It was around here that we decided to push on along the Ishikari Bay waterfront to make it a loop back to Sapporo City. That would add about 20km to the total distance for the day, but we’d had such an easy ride to the beach due to the tailwind that we were feeling confident. Despite being off a skateboard for at least a few years, I still felt strong.
By the end of the trip, as we were rolling through the cool and green Hokkaido University campus in the middle of town, we were feeling the distance. We’d returned to central Sapporo via the Shinkawa River cycle path, a dead-straight river running from just north of Hokkaido University to Ishikari Bay. While the stopbanks on the river gave some respite from the headwind, we were still feeling it.
Still, it was a stellar effort by Max who completed his first ever ‘proper’ distance skateboarding trip. And for me, this was the longest I’d skated in a day since finishing my big trip back in 2008 (details here).