Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Buying a mountain bike in Japan

Mountain biking is one of the best ways to get around Japan after trains. If you are thinking about buying a mountain bike in Japan - my advice is DONT because there are better options:
1. Existing bike users: Probably every foreigner (gaijin) guy who lives in Japan buys a MTB - find out from classifieds who is leaving the country. If they are desperate to leave you might pick up a cheap one . They probably used it for less than a year. Try sites like www.metropolis.co.jp and www.gaijinpot.com forums. JapanTimes.com also has a classifieds section
2. Local councils: Every local government has a recycling depot where they process trash. There must be 100 million bicycles in Japan. These bikes get dumped at local depots every time the police do a sweep of illegally parked bikes, or residents dump them somewhere because they are moving and cant afford to take them with them. Many families don't even bother to collect them, and more still leave them there so the police will take them. Some are just left in the park.

I got a great mountain bike for free by going to the local depot. Sure there was a lot of rusty rubbish there, but there was also a shiny orange one that I was able to get. The local government advised me to file the previous owners name off the bike, but I didn't want to do this because I would have no recourse if the police questioned me. I had no title to it, no receipt. So check if you can get a recipe. But you can't knock a free bike.
The Japanese don't think to ask at these places, and are too snooty to even consider using a second hand bike, or anything used for that matter. Usually these 2nd hand things end up being exported to Asian countries like the Philippines or Vietnam.
I used a girls bike (with a basket) for about a month before I came across this free bicycle supply. You don't even need Japanese. Just go there and grab the bike, and when they query you, ask 'Daijobe' - Is this OK? If they 'Daijobe' - no prob, if its anything else, get an interpreter. Personally I find having a Japanese person with you makes you smell like roses. You have the credibility of being Japanese if your are with a Japanese person.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...