We haven’t got too much to add here, apart from that the route that Arimori-san took us on for this monitor tour ticked all the boxes in terms of attractions. Nakajima Park, Hokkaido University campus, Gokoku Shrine, Seikatei historical house, and the Toyohira River. No doubt he will refine and hone the trip more as he gets his first clients on the bikes on the route. He announced the launch of the tours in early January 2019, and as of the end of January, he has a number of English-speaking groups lined up for February. As a cycle-technician cum cycle-law expert cum Sapporo historian, he’s a mine of nuggets of Japan and Sapporo cycling trivia.
It was quite interesting to chat to Arimori-san about his motivations for setting up the tours. He explained that traditionally, due to a sharp drop-off in demand for bikes in winter in Sapporo, most bike shop owners in Sapporo more or less shut up shop during the winter, and offered other services, such as snow clearing. Arimori-san, however, feels that there needs to be somewhat of a renaissance in winter cycling in Sapporo, with bike shops leading the charge. “We need to change residents’ attitudes towards cycling in winter,” he argued. “If we can get more people out on fatbikes, enjoying cycling in winter, then we can show that winter doesn’t need to be a time when you have to give up one’s healthy cycling lifestyle. It would, of course, also be beneficial for bike shops’ bottom line – everyone wins.”
Arimori-san is not the only one trying to change the winter cycling culture in Hokkaido. Sam’s Bike, another favourite bike store of ours, with their new in-store cafe, is helping nurture people out onto their bikes, even in winter.
Back to the route on this page…many readers of the Hokkaido Wilds may be locals with their own bikes, so we’d recommend perhaps dropping by Ajito for lunch (a great local vegan place that Haidee loves, here), and having a post-ride soak at the central Sapporo Gokuraku Sento (here). Either way, this route gives a solid lay-of-the-land overview of the city, and is well worth the time in order to get a feel for winter cycling in Sapporo.