If you talk about twisty roads, Japan is the place to be. Serious, it reminds me of that movie ‘From Dusk till dawn’ that famous scene with Chet but with the word hairpin, “wet hairpin, dry hairpin, covered in leafs hairpin, red dye hairpin, asphalt hairpin, gravel hairpin, small hairpin, filthy hairpin, tiny hairpin,…”
Today was a day a serious biker would call -a riding day of our lives. Mark with his 900 Monster and Patrick with a Superduke are leading the way across Gunma onto the Fukushima prefecture. We met Patrick this morning at the parking of a seven eleven when having a short break. Funny detail, Patrick actually helped the owners of the Iwashita collection translate the letter they got from Italy about the Globetrotter 90 project, so he was pretty surprised seeing one of us show up at a parking lot about a 1500km away from the museum! It’s a small world our biking community.
This is the first Sunday since a long time that it isn’t raining and this is noticeable, the streets are packed with motorcycles and speed limits seem to be more considered as ‘guide lines’ than actual rules. We take the mountain roads up to the north because in two days I have an appointment at the Sugo racetrack, my second stop of the Japanese leg. There is one particular road you need to look up at Google maps : it is called the romantic road and Iroha Zaka just after Lake Chuzengi. Now isn’t that biker heaven? Now imagine this (yes it does get better) it’s a one way loop… One road up, one road down, no oncoming vehicles. Let that sink in for a moment.
After this piece of racetrack open and free for all, Patrick amazes us with his knowledge of the hidden gems in this part of Japan. If there is a curved road, he knows where it is. The manoeuvrability of this Multistrada Enduro is simply impeccable, even with the luggage tied up in the back, this thing is a toy and switches from purring like a kitten to the roar of a tiger with a flick of the right hand. Once going over 6000 rpm the engine screams and shouts for more. I want to hear one with a full open exhaust!
At our last stop Patrick shows me a place where I can camp at a campsite for the night and Mark goes to get a hotel. It’s pretty late when I arrive at the lake, a small gravel road leads up to chains, the campsite is closed. I decide to get a look, maybe I can just pitch the tent over there and leave the bike at the entrance. When I get back the bikes side stand had probably seen something very interesting up in the air because the Multi tipped over it and even lay in a negative position. Great. Now I know there are people saying ‘well ain’t that cute, she’s riding a big bike and also in off-road, but what if it falls over, she’s going to ask daddy to pick it up for her?’ Well here is the answer to that question, no she’ll pick it up. All by herself even alone in the pitch of night after a long day of riding. It’s all technique. It’s all in your mind. Never let someone else tell you what you can and can’t do.