Friday, August 15, 2014

Hokkaido trip with the ICU Cycling Club

For my final trip during this year abroad, I spent 24 incredible days cycling across the endless fields of green, on long roads that extend beyond the horizon, and along the coastline of Hokkaido with the ICU Cycling Team.

Hokkaido is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to, the weather is cool, the air is crystal clear, every single star in the night sky is visible, the food was delicious, and the culture is rich.  Further, the roads were wide and the drivers were very friendly to us as they always gave us plenty of room as they passed us up and sometimes even shouted "Ganbare" or "goodluck/you can do it!" in Japanese.  We never had to lock our bikes, not even once. Even by Japanese standards, the sense of peace and safety in Hokkaido was pure bliss.  

Hokkaido was a paradise for adventure, and to be able to go on such a journey with my closest friends that I have made this year was more that I could have ever asked for.  I had dreamed of making Japanese friends prior to this year abroad, and I am happy to report that I have found a group of friends so close, that they actually have begun to resemble a family to me.

Here is a photo narrative of some of the highlights from this trip!
A common sight in Hokkaido, endless fields of green and crystal clear skies.

A beautiful road that was above a forest in one of the national parks. Cycling on this road was perhaps the most beautiful sight I have ever seen while cycling.

Every single star was visible in the night sky.  This was an 8 minute exposure with a fish eye lens on my Cannon 50D.

We carried everything on our bikes, including tents, pots, stoves, lots of clothes, gear, other items.  I also had to carry 3 camera systems which pushed the weight of my bike to 77 pounds! 

We rode 70-100 kilometers per day on roads just like these,

The endless roads of Hokkaido that extended far beyond the horizon.

A fox that walked out of the woods to greet us!

I was at first unsure if it was a dog because it was so friendly and seemed to want to be petted.  Not wanting rabies, I kept my distance however.  

Many motorcyclists shared the roads with us and always waved at us as we passed each other.

The tall Australian in the back was with NHK news network and filmed us for an upcoming piece titled "Cycling in Hokkaido." 

The most Northern Point in Japan.

The seafood there was incredible!

A summer festival in Asahikawa City that we were lucky enough to be there for.

The Blue Pond.  

Sunset over one of the many lakes of Hokkaido.

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