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Cycling Magazines


There are quite a few Japanese magazines that give information on cycling routes. Here are a few of the ones I’ve been able to find over the years. Many of these are recent; there has been something of an explosion in new magazines over the past year, many apparently targeting women and emphasizing the health and slimness benefits of cycling.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that the R&B Sports bookstore in Tokyo’s amazing Kanda-Jimbocho used bookstore district is a good source for back issues of some of these magazines, particularly Cycle Sports and Fun Ride. (2008 update: the original R&B location is no more; instead, they’re now on the 5th floor of the Kanda Book Center near the station. Thee name also seems to have changed to “Book Power RB.”)



Cycle Sports

monthly

700 yen


Subtitled "For Bikers Only" and means the non-motorized kind; arguably Japan's top cycling magazine, but often with SO many product ads that it's difficult to find the real information. Still, there's a lot of it here, each month. Up until this year I recommended the April issue, since it included a booklet supplement that gave the complete schedule of cycling events for the entire year (April to March): races, events and even guided cycling tours. However, this year’s supplement was something different. Meanwhile, the March issue of the magazine Fun Ride included the same kind of year-long cycling event supplement! Next year who knows. Watch this space or your local bookstore.





Bicycle Club

monthly

700 yen


Currently seems to be giving Cycle Sports a run for its money. This is a big, well-rounded magazine with something for everybody: a bit of racing info, a few routes, personality profiles and of course lots and lots of product ads (sometimes in the form of special supplements). Well worth checking every month.







Sampo Jitensha, Tabi Jitensha

irregular

980 yen


This was a rather odd series of occasional magazines, all very glossy (and pricey), issued under several different titles by topic. The most route information was contained in this part of the series, whose title could be translated “Strolling Bicycles, Traveling Bicycles.” The aforementioned R&B shop would be a good place to look for back issues.







Bicycle Navi

quarterly

1,143 yen


Again, WAY too many product ads/articles, but a few routes... and any magazine that features an article on cycling Hokkaido's Rebun and Risshiri islands in the dead of winter (in issue #11) is worth a look.








Fun Ride

monthly

780 yen


Lost track of this one (my local bookstore no longer seemed to carry it) and thought it had gone under, but it’s still in print!  Seems to have a little bit of something for everyone, though seems tilted a bit in the race direction; lots of race photos, race results and team info, with the routes relegated to the "rider's voices" section at the end. Still well worth perusing.
Note: their May 2008 issue included a special supplement with a 23 course "cycling course guide" for Kanto, Kansai, Tokai and Kyushu!







Long Ride

1143 yen

This was the first issue of a true rarity: a magazine devoted to road bikes and long-distance cycling (and this may be the first and only issue). The first part is lots of interviews with various long riders, followed by photos and courses for organized long-ride events in Japan and abroad, and then the inevitable sections on bikes, parts and goods. Includes a detailed calendar of long rides for the year and bike shops that specialize in road bikes. Also a detailed section on preparatory stretching exercises and how to ride long distances without getting tired. A great idea; hope it succeeds. [Update: apparently it did. Up to 4 issues now, and #3 has wonderful photos of long-distance cycling routes throughout Japan.]




Jitensha Seikatsu

Irregular

933 yen


Unexpectedly long-lived magazine series. No. 11 won my heart with glorious photos of a beautiful woman (model 絹代) cycling through beautiful parts of Beppu, Mt. Aso, Kurokawa Onsen and the Yamanami Highway on Kyushu...









Jitenshajin

quarterly

1000 yen


"Magazine for Bicycle People" it says. A potpourri of things: everything from routes to how to take turns on an MTB. Very nicely done; I hope this one stays around. Last time I checked, the aforementioned R&B store had quite a few back issues.










Field Bikers

monthly?

590 yen


May no longer be in print. The issue I have focused on cycling in Taiwan, but with plenty of pieces later in the issue on routes within Japan. A surprising amount of information considering its relatively slim size.








New Cycling

monthly

600 yen


May no longer be in print. Thinner and seems to be more low-key in presentation, with pieces on cycling both overseas and within Japan.






 
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