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Old 05-15-2014, 05:25 AM   #1
haildamage OP
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Japan - Annual Kansai Riders Golden Week Shikoku Rindo Tour Report

Every year the Kansai based Kansai Riders group do an offroad trip to Shikoku, one of the 4 main islands of Japan during the spring national holiday period known as Golden Week.

Rindos are small, narrow mostly gravel forest roads of varying conditions. The conditions vary based on the amount of recent rainfall and the last time they were maintained.

The goal of the trip for the dirtbike riders is to tour as many rindos in 4 days as possible leaving from and returning to the Kansai area. This year two of us were able to do 5 days though.

We had a great tour this year with a lot of riders attending at least part of the event including a couple of street riders for the evening BBQ.


Day 1: Kansai (Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto) to the Okumonobe Riders Inn in Kochi prefecture Shikoku

This was loaded destination goal oriented touring.

Bikes - 2006 250 EXC 2 stroke, 2007 250 EXC, beast of a Franken EXC-F with a 450cc currently mounted, 2014 Six Days 350, Hijet Ktruck (tiny 660cc pickup) to Tokushima

I was planning to meet Gdog and go to Tokushima in his Ktruck the Friday before the main group headed down. However, I was running late so we decided to meet at Awaji SA. Soon after arriving toomanycooks rolled in and we convoyed on down to Tokushima.

We found a nice little ramen shop next to a conveni (convenience store) and had a wonderful lunch before supplying up at the conveni for a trail lunch and breakfast the next day. While we were eating lunch, word had begun to trickle in that the TSR (Tsurugi san Super Rindo) was in fact mostly open. The TSR is the longest rindo in Japan at about 90 kms although every damn year they pave more and more. Last we heard it was all closed, so this information came in just in time. I called timR to confirm that it was the section that I imagined to be open.

We dropped the ktruck at a scenic overlook city park just up the hill from the city in Tokushima and headed out for the TSR. The TSR was in fact open from route 193 to 195. It was freshly maintained and in the best condition I have ever seen it. A novice could ride a GSA fully loaded down with ice and beer on it no problem when it is like this! Its not the most exciting rindo, but it is a much more interesting way to get from Tokushima city to Okumonobe Riders Inn than tarmacking it the whole way for sure!

We had a simple Kansai Riders traditional dinner of pasta and sausages. Just as we were tucking in, dirtriderdiego rolled in from Nagoya!




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Old 05-15-2014, 05:28 AM   #2
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Day 2: Explore area rindos and return to base camp at the Okumonobe Riders Inn

Bikes - 2006 250 EXC 2 stroke, 2007 250 EXC, beast of a Franken EXC-F with a 450cc currently mounted, 2014 Six Days 350.


We set out to explore out the Hinomiko area as recommended by a local rider.

I wanted to scout the route for the larger group coming the next day. We ended up hitting a landslide and some dead ends after going down a chained logging road. We headed back to the RI after a fantastic day of riding.

The other riders trickled in and we had a big group of about 12 for the evening BBQ including 3 street riders.









OOOOPS









MMM, BEER is good after a hard day exploring rindos!





Shikoku Mom gets a Kansai Riders tshirt



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Old 05-15-2014, 05:46 AM   #3
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oh, yeah.... I'm in!......
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Old 05-15-2014, 02:49 PM   #4
Edmond Dantès
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Great stuff haildamage!

A lot of KTM orange out there on the trails.
I don't know that much about the off-roading scene in Japan, does KTM have a big share of the market?

I am thinking of giving Shikoku a good look around next Spring.

I'm looking to ride some of the famous rindo on the island, but worry about how gnarly and isolated it gets. I'll be riding alone on a heavy Varadero, so very interested in your RR. Keep it coming.
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Old 05-15-2014, 02:59 PM   #5
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KTM does not have a big presence in japan in offroad bikes but i would say it is growing. they are kicking ass in their street bike sales recently, IMO.

we have a bad influence in our group, indonesian former enduro pro rider dirtriderdiego. because of him there has been an absolute epidemic of orange purchases in our group in the last year!

i would not recommend riding most rindos on a big bike especially alone. i have a bit of a reputation for preaching against bringing big bikes on rindos, btw...

usually the most famous shikoku rindo, the Tsurugi-san Super Rindo (TSR), is fine for any type of bike or car as it is very wide, well maintained and has big guard rails everywhere. there is a good FB group with the most current information on the state of the TSR. this is the only rindo that i would advise you to try to ride a big bike on alone.
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Old 05-15-2014, 03:00 PM   #6
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Day 3: Big Group Tour - Explore area rindos and return to base camp

bikes - 2006 250 EXC 2 stroke, a2007 250 EXC, Frankenbeast EXC-F 450cc, 2014 Six Days 350, XR, Djebel, DRZ, Super Sherpa


We set out to do an improved version of the previous days ride in the Hinomiko area. As usual timR was pfaffing around with something so we left him at the RI hoping he could catch up. We hit the rindos with 8 riders. The XLR rider, Kansai Riders President Bikecrazy, was feeling sick (not a hangover) and stayed in the cabin for the day.

We found a nice spot along a river for lunch. I accidentally dumped my water out so I got a chance try try my Steripen UV water purifier.



After lunch we made our way back to the main road route 32. Gas was a worry at this point and we were holding our breath on finding an open gas station on Sunday. Luckily the 3rd one was open with regular gas only. The guy said he was usually closed Sundays but opened special for the holiday weekend.

We headed for what I like to call the gnarly big rock wash out hill rindo. We tried to go in a different way than usual but were turned back by a local who said the road didnt go through. As a result we just headed down the paved road to the usual way in. I had heard from timR that he was closing in on us so we took a long break at the entrance to the gnarly big rock wash out hill rindo. timR caught up to us so were were a group of 9 for this one.



Last year it was really difficult because of the big rocks and washed out road. We also rescued a kjeep guy that had been stuck on it overnight last year. Riders were excited about the challenge, but were disappointed as the road had been freshly maintained and was smooth and easy this year. Pics of gnarly big rock wash out hill rindo from last year:













They seem to do major maintenance every couple of years or so and this road is usually in bad condition. This road is an example of why I don’t like to ride with weak link bikes. Even if you have explored an area before, the conditions vary depending on recent rains and road maintenance. Next year and the year after it will probably be gnarly again based on past experience. If you had only been up it this year and didnt know better, you might try to take a big bike or SM up it next year and run into trouble.

After reaching the pass we decided to try a cute little single track heading further up the hill.













We were pretty tired so some of us headed on back to the RI, while the more enthusiastic riders hooliganed around a bit before heading back. We had a more relaxed BBQ that night by getting the BBQ sets split into 3 sets of 3 and BBQing is groups of three. That worked much better than the every man for himself, grab some raw meat off the grill before somebody else eat like wolves style BBQ of the previous night!
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Old 05-16-2014, 01:07 AM   #7
Edmond Dantès
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[QUOTE]usually the most famous shikoku rindo, the Tsurugi-san Super Rindo (TSR), is fine for any type of bike or car as it is very wide, well maintained and has big guard rails everywhere. there is a good FB group with the most current information on the state of the TSR. this is the only rindo that i would advise you to try to ride a big bike on alone./QUOTE]

Great info and advice haildamage, much appreciated.

Enjoying the RR.

Best wishes,
Paul
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Old 05-18-2014, 03:28 AM   #8
haildamage OP
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Day 4: Okumonobe RI to Muroto RI

bikes - 2006 250 EXC 2 stroke, 2014 Six Days 350, XLR, Djebel, Super Sherpa

Sorry not many pics due to rain.

The previous two days had been rindo exploring and returning to base camp at Okumonobe RI. On this day it was rindo destination goal loaded touring and the weather sucked as it was raining heavily when we left.
Happily XLR rider, bikecrazy, recovered and was ready to make up for lost time!

It was nasty with rain and several riders also had work and family issues that took them home early. Shockingly, nobody was persuaded by my pitch that they could get their imaginary 4 days Shikoku Rindo Patch if they continued and did the standard most rindos in 4 days full tour! Maybe I need to get some real patches or Tshirts printed up for next years tour!

We set out to rindo tour our way from Okumonobe RI to Muroto RI as were riding the Haruki's Leap Rindo (the one where the guy went off a cliff in 2011) it was just plain nasty with rain. Our helmets were fogging up, people were getting wet bums and feet, etc, etc. We were all considering cutting it short. I proposed that we embrace the suck and slowly we did settle in to the crap conditions and get used to it. We stopped for Gdog to secure his load and got a chance to discuss things with the two guys with no Sena intercoms. Everybody agreed to stick to the plan until after lunch and then maybe cut out the 3rd shorter rindo after lunch.

After lunch the weather improved and it stopped raining. 3 riders did the last rindo plus some side road exploration to dead ends and 2 riders headed straight for Muroto RI.











As we were riding we received word that Gdog had a major problem with his bike. We found them at the gas station and after draining the tank. He got the bike running after filling the immediate area with 2 smoke much to the annoyment of the cagers who were trying to get gas there!



We had a gorgeous dinner at the onsen. I had a very quick soak and headed to meet the legend, JamesK, as he swung by to say hello. We had a pretty mellow evening being pretty partied out.



We marveled at the Legends bike and enjoyed the light show he could put on with it! JamesK is a legend because he tours the most, longest and hardest of anybody we know. He has like 320,000 kms on this 2007 FJR if I am not mistaken!




We really cant complain about one nasty rainy morning out of 5 days or gorgeous weather that was like God custom made them for motorcyclists!
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:51 PM   #9
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Day 5: Muroto RI to Tokushima to Kansai - loaded destination touring

bikes - 2006 250 EXC 2 stroke, 2014 Six Days 350, XLR, Super Sherpa

Mochigeorge was chomping at the bit to leave at the crack of dawn, but I didn’t want to commit to that as I was having trouble with my improvised luggage system and wanted to takyubin (ship) my bag home. My ALTRIDER hemisphere bag didn’t arrive in time for the trip. It arrived about 10 days after the trip ended :(

So Gdog and I were planning to trail a bit behind the XLR and Sherpa. However, we managed to get ready early enough and rode together. Mayopaso decided to do a relaxed street ride back north.

It was a gorgeous day for riding and the long rindo going north from Muroto is a favorite of the trip!



It was really nice riding unloaded and a bit of hooligan came out.







As we were heading back down the other side of the mountain an elderly couple flagged us over and asked us to check on a bike that had gone off the road and was in the river to make sure there was nobody in need of rescue. We found the bike and his helmet, jacket and backpack but no rider, so hopefully he wasnt too badly injured and had been evacuated already.





These rindos going north from Muroto towards Tokushima are very nice and it made for a great last day. We stopped for a typical trail lunch of sandwiches, etc.





We managed to ride all of the planned rindos of day 5 and all got home safely. The ktruck was still there in one piece after being left parked in Tokushima city for 5 days as well.

This year Mochigeorge earned his imaginary Shikoku Rindo 4 day patch . Gdog and I earned imaginary Shikoku Rindo 5 day patch after both earning our imaginary Shikoku Rindo 4 day patches last year. It is really tiring doing rindo touring 5 days in a row and I was glad to have done it on a lighter bike than last year.

I got back home after fighting some Golden Week traffic on the expressway. My body was exhausted and sore but my mental state could not have been more refreshed.

It was nice to see that somebody had missed me while I was gone!

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Old 05-18-2014, 04:33 PM   #10
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Now I have heard those XRs described as bulletproof many a time, but never as waterproof.
Don't tell me you guys left that poor bike in the river without even attempting to get it out? Four strapping lads like yourselves could have at least got the bike upright and lent against the bank.
Maybe the rider crashed it into the river and thought to hell with this, I'm gonna take a dump in the woods and deal with it when I get back. Imagine his surprise if he had gotten back to see the bike mysteriously standing on the river bank?
It would have made his day, Golden Week, month of May!
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Old 05-18-2014, 04:50 PM   #11
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yep, we left it there. it would take a crane truck to get it out of there. in addition, we had a mission to get home and a long ride. i was on the road for 12 hours that day and probably in the saddle at least 10 of those 12 hours. hopefully, the rider is responsible enough to make sure it gets recovered soon as it would suck to leave it in that beautiful river to foul the water and ecosystem.

when we had a rider go off a cliff in shikoku back in 2011, we made the effort to get down there with a crane truck and remove the bike as environmentally responsible riders. it was no small effort as that was on a different island a good 7 hours ride from home, but we did it.

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Old 06-17-2014, 06:44 AM   #12
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Thanks for a nice RR.

It sure is nice now that there are bridges that you can take to Shikoku. When I grew up, there were no bridge between Honshu and Shikoku. The only choice we had was to take a ferry boat - even to the Awaji Island.

I hope you guys got to enjoy some Katsuo no tataki in Kochi.
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Old 06-17-2014, 07:13 AM   #13
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Looks like a blast, I love Japan!
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