Miyazaki City is great for commuting or exploring by bicycle: The city and outlying areas are fairly flat and you can reach most places easily. But how do you deal with Miyazaki’s four seasons and the extreme weather that goes along with it?
For a whole year I pedalled my mamachari to work, every day, to find out how you can beat the weather and get the most out of your daily commute.
If you’d rather be enjoying cherry blossom lined river banks than staring at number plates in traffic jams, cycling to work in spring is what you’ve been looking for. Spring is one of the easiest seasons to cycle in Miyazaki.
With the flexibility a bicycle provides in quickly exploring areas off the main routes, I was able to suss out some stunning cherry trees and even discover some small hanami festivals in places I didn’t expect.
Explore and adjust your route to take you past the best possible vistas. Early spring might still be a bit chilly. But when the sun decides to show itself, make sure you’re wearing removable layers.
Here’s where things can get tricky. Although you might be inclined to fall back into your old commuting ways, you can easily adapt and overcome the humidity and heat of summer.
Take full advantage of coolbiz season and dress in light and airy clothes. Carry or leave a spare shirt at the office in case of emergencies.
Always have some ice water, a towel and a foldable fan handy. These items will save your life and doesn’t add any burden to your cycle.
The most important advice that I could give is to leave early and to take it slow- really slow. To avoid getting exhausted, my summer commute is a full 15 minutes longer than usual.
I’ve also found that the pedalling is not the problem. It’s when you’re waiting at a traffic light that the heat gets you.
Avoid baking in the sun by timing your traffic light approaches. If however, you have to stop, make sure to stop in the shade. My summer route also changes to take me along the opposite side of my usual route since it has more shaded areas to stop in.
You’ve made it through the heat of summer but now the rainy season lies ahead. Rest assured with a good quality raincoat and some waterproof shoes you’ll be able to comfortably get to work even in fairly heavy rain. I bought some silicone shoe covers which fold up nicely and my raincoat rolls to about the size of a pair of socks. I always keep these two items in my bag because the last thing you want is to be caught in an unexpected downpour.
On rainy days, you’ll have some condensation forming on the inside of your raincoat. Make sure your raincoat is made from a breathable material and don’t zip it up all the way to your chin, leave some space for air to easily flow through.
Winter is my favorite season for commuting in Miyazaki. It’s cold but it doesn’t have to be.
Wearing a wicking shirt as your base layer will wick sweat away from your body – keeping you warm and dry.
Make sure to wrap yourself up in a thick scarf and get something to cover all your exposed extremities. Some windproof gloves make a big difference when temperatures get low.
I find that a long winter coat is also helpful since it can cover your thighs while cycling and it keeps them nice and warm.
Pay attention to other cyclists heading in the same direction as you are. At first, I travelled the same route as when I drove to work. After taking note of some other cyclists I discovered that certain routes, although further in distance, takes less time to reach my office.
There you have it! Cycling to work is a great opportunity to experience Miyazaki in a more visceral way – not just through the usual television-like windows of your car. You can smell the fresh air or stop to appreciate a view, in a way that driving to work doesn’t allow you to.
So, dust off your bicycle, roll-up that raincoat and some rain or shine, start burning fat – not fuel on your daily commute!