• 自転車男爵 Bicycle Baron

New bicycle vs. previous bicycle

Salsa Fargo is the bicycle I just recently bought for my next adventure. It’s a gravel bike, touring bike and yet also mountain bike(That’s how they promote). I’ve never owned any kind of mountain bikes before. All I had was Japanese MAMACHARI(city bike) from Bridgestone. I rode this Bridgestone bicycle for over 8 years. I bought it in Sapporo, Japan at the beginning of my first bicycle tour in Japan. I rode it for 351 days from Hokkaido to Okinawa in 2013 July to 2014 July, then I rode it for 162 days from Boston, MA to Santa Monica, CA.

Let me talk about how was my first bicycle tour.

I flew back to Japan from NYC on 2013 July 19th. All I had with me was a tent, a sleeping bag, an air mat, 2 water proof bags, CDs, few clothes and my guitar. I flew directly to Sapporo(NYC — Shanghai — Sapporo) and I bought my bicycle in Sapporo. The bicycle I got then was called “Villetta” from the Brirgestone which they no longer making it anymore. I loved it so much.

(Picture from the day I bought the bicycle back in 2013 July)

(The saddle bag is actually for service dogs but I got this from my first host in Sapporo to use on my bicycle tour)

(The way I traveled in Japan was busk on the street and sell my CDs for $10[1000 yen] each)

One of the first person I met in Sapporo, he was an accordion player and he taught me how to busk and do NAGASHI in the town.

(“NAGASHI” is Japanese traditional way of busking. You go inside the restaurant/tapas/cafe and ask if it’s alright to play just few songs for getting tips)

On this night in Sapporo, he took me to 5 different bars and introduced me to the bar owners, customers and many of the people he know in Sapporo. Next day we went on Japanese subway with our instrument and played inside the train just like I was doing it in NYC before I came to Japan. We got good tips and good response from the people in Sapporo however it didn’t last long time the security came and we were asked to stop. Playing in the subway in Japan is a No No thing.

(There were fireworks festival in Sapporo and I played on the street at the end of the festival. That worked!)

(You won’t believe this but this was actually not home but one of the bars in Sapporo! After playing on the street I went to do NAGASHI and one of the people there joined me. It turned out to be a jam session night at a bar! What a memory)

(It was on the rainy day I left Sapporo on July 29th, 2013 with this kind of setup. I had my guitar on my back and put it on top of the white bag behind my seat)

When I traveled in Japan, my plan was to visit radio stations as many as I can and ask if I can get on the radio to talk about what I’m doing, maybe sing a song, if not ask if they can play my CDs on the radio. I left Sapporo with $300(30000 yen) on me and I really had to sell my CDs, get tips by busking in order for me to keep traveling. Also I could only carry CDs up to 50–70 on my bicycle at one time so I decided to send my CDs to every prefectures I know where I have my friends are living. In order for me to pick up all those CDs, I had to sell my CDs before I get to my next friend’s house because I can only carry certain amount with me. I made 1000 CDs before hand and that was my method of making my funds through out Japan.

(The CD I made with my great friends Atsumi and Masashi from the “Robin’s Egg Blue”. We don’t play together anymore however they are great musicians and I am looking forward to meet them, play together again)

This CD is still available to download on iTunes(also you can listen to them on youtube). “Brewgreen and the Babylons” is the name of the band at the time. I know, my marketing wasn’t good at all. I wish I had Bicycle Baron from back then however this CD really helped me going through. I sold 760 CDs on the way and I made it to Okinawa because of this CD. Thanks for that!

(This was one of my sign promoting about what I’m doing, availability of my CDs for $10 and my blogs)

(This is how I traveled in Japan — part 1)

(This is how I traveled in Japan — part2 and then Okinawa)

This experience really changed my life. Now I’m here in Alaska wanting to go around the world. It’s all because of this first trip. I’ll talk about my second trip another time. This is actually a good time to look back how did I make this happen with only $300 cash on me. Also a lots of great memories I would love to share with you.

Anyway, the bicycle I used to ride and the bicycle I just got in Alaska is so different not only by looking but materials, repairing tools, everything. I am looking forward to learn more about this Salsa Fargo.

(My new bicycle I got in Alaska)

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog today. I will keep posting about what kind of trip I’ve done and interesting stories I’ve encountered in my life.

I really appreciate you taking your time to read this.

I’ll see you tomorrow!

All the best, Bicycle Baron

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