All of our stuff is gone. Well, not quite all of it, but in preparation for the big move to Germany, our household goods have been wrapped, boxed, and crated, soon to be loaded onto a boat and sent across the ocean. Scratch that, two oceans. We are left with only the essentials to get us by until we ourselves embark on the journey from Asia to Europe. We’re sleeping on a loaner bed, sitting on a loaner sofa, turning on loaner lamps. The only items that are ours are a couple appliances, some bottles of liquor the movers couldn’t pack, and our two folding bikes.
The Mrs. acquired this Japanese folder from another person on base that was selling it, having upgraded to a mamachari themselves. (We have the option to ship a small amount of items ahead of us in addition to our main slow-boat shipment, so we thought it a good idea to include a couple bikes to get around when we arrive.) This bike has 20” wheels and folds in the center like my Dahon, but is dissimilar in other ways. It is a single-speed, the steer tube telescopes down instead of folding, and there is an isosceles trapezoid off of the bottom bracket that the bike rests upon when folded. (It’s okay if you had to Google isosceles trapezoid, I had to also.) It is a typical design of a lot of the folding bikes here in Japan, having function over form. It’s also considerably lighter than my Dahon, which is attributed to being single-speed and made of aluminum, whereas the Dahon has 7 speeds and is Cr-Mo steel.
Speaking of mamacharis, I had to say goodbye to ours today. I’ll admit, it was the first time I’ve ever sold a bicycle and not felt just a little sad to see it go. Not that I don’t like them—they’re great for rambling on along to the grocery store and built like a tank, but in my case, they just didn’t offer anything that one of my other bicycles couldn’t accomplish, oftentimes better. Carrying large boxes on the rear rack? The Soma’s got that in the
bag basket. Commuting short distances? The Dahon or the Panasonic are both quicker and lighter. And besides, they were kind of neglected for a couple years, sitting out in the bike rack in front of our housing complex through all four seasons and I didn’t want to put in the effort to restore them to their original rust-less condition when we got to Germany. So I sold both of ours, rusty and dusty (not their names, just their attributes), for the bargain price of $10.
Now we wait. We’re both still trying to get rid of our Japanese cars, and selling a few items here and there that won’t be of use to us in Germany. In less than a month, we’ll be departing Japan for good with a dog and two cats in tow. I can’t say we’re looking forward to the actual day of traveling, but we’re very excited to get there, find an awesome house, and get settled in. The next best thing will be getting on our bikes again, and exploring the local towns the best way I know how—on two wheels.
- Bicyclist Abroad