Birota et cervisa
As the name implies, our philosophy here at Half-Fast Cycling (originally “Don’s Half-Fast Flash-Mob Weekend Urban Bicycle Rides”) is “We not too fast; we not too slow. We jus’… half-fast.” (from Louis Armstrong). We’re athletes, sure, but if you’re looking to join the club to train for a race or some such, you’d probably be happier with a more serious group. No fanatics, then, but dawdlers are discouraged. We’re the bike club for the rest of us.
What we do
Our energies are directed toward two concepts: exercise and beer. Rides are mostly urban, and entail distances of at least 30 km (beginner), up to a flat 100 (intermediate) and even a few 150-km hill climbs (lunatic). We usually begin and end at the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi Hills, but all-day or overnight rides can involve trains, ferries and even planes. Most rides usually take from two to six hours, depending on the amount of socializing we do (and the number of beer stops we make).
When we do it
Rides happen every Saturday and Sunday, or at least one of the two, all year round. Start time is usually a very civilized 11:00 a.m. When the weather and social engagements permit, you will be notified on Thursday or Friday about weekend rides. BTW, all members are encouraged to become ride leaders and share their favorite routes with the club. Often rides of different skill levels are offered on the same day.
New to cycling? Our beginners’ rides are slow and easy confidence-builders, where we go only as fast as the slowest rider and no one is allowed to complain about the pace. One of these is to Jonan Jima, a little beach park off Haneda Airport, with beer at a nearby convenience store. The other is to Odaiba, where the destination is a little only-in-Tokyo beachside hangout that plays Hawaiian reggae music (and serves beer). Both are 30 km .
Too easy? Intermediate rides extend these to a Tama River loop (55 km) and an Arakawa River loop (70 km).
Lunatic-level rides start early, and generally involve going uphill for great distances.
Our rides connect bike paths, rivers, parks and back roads, and are designed to maximize fun and minimize contact with vehicular traffic. For city rides, you might be surprised at how green these are. Those that will best enjoy the rides will be capable of maintaining a reasonable speed for a reasonable period. These are not chat outings (unless you can chat at 25kph) and you are expected to keep up. But there are always beverages (possibly beer) at our chosen destinations, and there will be plenty of time for socializing. Speaking of which, we also organize seasonal parties, and hold monthly meetings at The Pink Cow, at which guest presenters show photos and give talks (step up if you’ve something to share), or maybe we’ll just show a movie.
What you need to know/have/do to be a member
We have very few rules. You should know how to fix a flat (we’ll teach you if you don’t) and carry along tools, a spare tube that fits your bike (or maybe two), and an air pump. You must like beer (though this can be waived if you’re ridiculously good-looking). There are no dues or officers, and you needn’t RSVP for rides; just show up. Simple, no? Wear a helmet. Leave the iPod at home.
Did we mention beer?
Don Morton & Mike Sims-Williams
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