Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Riding with Maki san of Cycle tokyo

On 5th Nov(Friday), I arranged to meet Maki san of Cycle tokyo for a personal riding tour around Tokyo. I asked him to skip the touristy stuff and bring me to see places that he goes frequently and feels for most. We met at Sakura Ryokan at Akakusa area with his wife 7 speed brompton equiped with a front basket and a big smile.  This is the super cool group that Maki is part of.. http://cycle-tokyo.cycling.jp/
After a brief rest, he pulled up a map and pointed to me 2 spots which we will be going. One is Level bikes- by S Matsuda san and the other is Wada bicycle shop (a shop that specialises in small wheel and foldies). Riding along the streets, feeling the cool breeze, we went on a steady pace for a bout 30 mins and reached Level bike shop. It was hidden in a maze of small roads. I know that if Maki san did not bring me there.. I would not have found the place. We went in the shop and saw a few people going about their work quietly. Matsuda san was deep in concentration brazing a customer bike.
It was amazing as I saw real time how he controlled the flame temperature and made the brazing material flow nicely around the lugs. Talking to him via Maki san,  Matsuda san have been building handcrafted bikes for at least 40 years and continues to make bikes, one at a time.  I really respect the passion and single mindedness of his endeavour.  Here are some photos of the ride and of course the super cool Level bike shop....
More images can be found at my flickr site.

Lastly I want thank Cycle Tokyo and Maki san for making this ride so memorable! Riding in Japan is definitely fun and doable!
have a drink first
Are u ready to go?
door handle in front of Level bike shop. You can tell they love bikes.
Matsuda san workshop
look at the intergrated brake inside the fork! 
The Man at work... 

Matsuda san
Forks by Level bikes
all eyeball and precison
Pity Wada bikeshop was closed that day..still enjoyable ride though


  1. Coool! I want that head mount mirror and the invisible break!

  2. The intergrated brake is beautiful! Fixie simplistic!

    Any idea how much the bicycles there cost? > than Sg?

  3. Hello taiwoon,
    Here is the URL of the LEVEL bike factory web site.

    The integrated breaks are custom made parts for the bike which he made 30 years ago.

  4. Hello Maki san,
    Thanks for the link and it was really a memorable experience for me!

  5. Starringme,
    The price for these hand made bikes are start from around 150,000 yen for easy order frame, and it will cost more than 300,000 yen for custom fit frames, varied on specific requirements, tubes and small parts.

  6. This is really a great Experience. Taiwoon

    Maki San > Is there a website or portal that list all these bicycle shops in Tokyo?

  7. Matt, this is for u.. Maki san did have a list...

  8. wow. @ 200-500 yen per day rental. This is more than affordable! Let me check with my CEO and see if can plan for a trip next year!

  9. hahha.. I think u will like to ride ur own bike... it is not as difficult as it seems... u will like it alot

  10. Hi Taiwoon, not just the bike and luggage. Includes my 2 years old child seat too! LOL. Maybe easier to rent the bikes for a few days.