Chapter 30 - Let's Ride on the Arakawa Bike Trail

Well everyone, here we go.
Hey Mai, where are we anyway?
We're close to the Akabane-Iwabuchi subway station. And just a little further away is the JR Akabane Station, so if you're taking your bike on public transporation, I'd recommend either one of those.
It also happens that the bridge we're currently on is the Shin-Arakawa Ohashi Bridge. It spans both the Arakawa River as well as the adjacent Shingashigawa River.
Miya comes fully prepared, as always...
Hehehe, but of course.
Mai-sama, how far are we planning to ride today?
Today we'll be riding from here, the Shin-Arakawa Ohashi Bridge in Kita ward, to the Kasai Rinkai Park in Edogawa ward. About twenty-six kilometers, all told.
Tw- Twenty-six?! ...Wait, how far is that?
In terms of railway stations, it's approximately the same as the distance between Shinbashi and Yokohama stations, Reo-sama♡
A- Are you out of your mind?!
It'll actually be pretty easy to get there. As long as you've got a cross bike!
...Really?
Yeah, the road on this bike trail is pretty flat, and there aren't any traffic signals, so even with rest breaks... it shouldn't be more than about an hour and a half.
Hnnnh... I guess I'll try, then.
A- As shall I!
Well, first we need to get our bikes over this car barricade and onto the bike trail.
Humph... Hrmph... Ahh, this is too hard! Why's this stupid thing even here?!
Without this, cars and motorcycles would be able to ride on the trail.
Hmph... Well, it's still a pain.
This embankment offers a splendid view. Is this the path we shall be riding on?
Actually, it's not. See that wide path further down the embankment? That's the Arakawa Bike Trail.
But why don't we go ahead and ride on this path for a while?
Okay.
It's so much fun riding above everything like this~♪ I wouldn't mind staying on this path the whole time.
I know, right? But this path is crossed by roads and railroads, so we should stay on the river basin as much as possible.
Oh, there's a floodgate! And there's two of them?!
The blue one is the current, functional Iwabuchi Floodgate. The closer, red one is the Old Iwabuchi Floodgate.
The red gate is no longer used as an active floodgate, but it remains as a site of historic significance.
Miya's really done her homework... It's like she's our own, personal Arakawa tour guide.
She really is. And you know, the view from the deck of that old floodgate is pretty impressive too.
Really? We should check it out together next time then, Sayuki-san.
Why certainly♡
.........
Yes, yes, by all means, enjoy yourselves.
Geeze... That wasn't necessary!
Anyway, Risa, the active Iwabuchi Floodgate signifies the start of the Sumida River.
The flood-prone former Arakawa River is now the Sumida River, and the new river that was created for releasing the floodwaters is the current Arakawa River, right?
Why... That's correct. Quite impressive coming from you, Risa...
What do you mean, "coming from me"?!
Hehehe, you're so cute when you're angry♡
Rrrnn... Hmph.
And that's why the Arakawa River doesn't actually run through Arakawa ward. Because it's the Sumida River now.
Cool, I just learned something new...
The official name for the Arakawa River is the "Arakawa Drainage Canal." There's a nearby heliport, so we can return here at any time, Risa♡
What?!
We certainly can if there's a heliport, Miya-sama.
Wh-What?! Miya-sama, Sayuki-san, what are you guys talking about?!
Rikka, the world these two live in is nothing like ours. Their way of seeing things is totally different from commoners like us... Haah~
.........
All right, let's wrap up the comedy act. We're about to head down to the floodplain and get on the bike path.
Me first! Woo-hooo~ This feels great~♪
Hey, Reo! Don't ride off on your own, wait for the rest of us!
*shaaaaaa...*
Well, how's everybody doing? Are you keeping up?
Yep, I'm fine.
Hah, hah... I'm all right, Mai-sama.
The path is so wide, it's really easy to ride on. And a ton of fun, too.
...Haah... Haah, hooh...
I think we're short an answer.
Maaaiii, I can't keep going like this~
Good grief... You're exhausted because you just had to fly ahead of the rest of us, instead of pacing yourself, Reo.
But... Haah, haah...
Sorry, but I'm going to have to hang back with Reo, but you four can keep going at this same pace.
You got it.
.........
Reo-sama, if you push through to the end, there will be cold, refreshing ice cream waiting for you.
I know that!! Haah, haah... Pota Pota... Pota Pota Yaki!!
Pfft, was that supposed to be some sort of chant, Reo?
We're "pottering" right? So "Pota Pota" gets me fired up!
Hehe, you're so weird... But you've made it pretty far. We're already in Adachi ward.
That bridge we just crossed under is the Shikahama Bridge, and the one up ahead is the Goshiki Zakura (five-colored cherry blossom) Big Bridge. It's unusual for a highway bridge, because it has two levels.
Someone has an unsophisticated taste in names. That seems like the sort of name Risa would like.
Why do you say that?!
Five-colored cherry blossoms... If such a thing truly exists, I certainly would like to see it.
That one in the back is the Kohoku-bashi Bridge. If you take the street across that one toward the right, it'll take you straight to the JR Oji Station.
Why's it nothing but bridges...? Haah, haah... Aren't there any places that sell food?
There are plenty, Reo-sama. First is a place famous for its French toast...
Haah, haah... Stop teasing me like that, Miya!!
Well, it's just that bridges are about the only landmarks you can see from the Arakawa bike trail...
So you just naturally learn all the bridge names.
*shaaaaaa...*
Oh! Isn't that the Sky Tree up ahead?!
That's right, and it's going to be getting closer♪
Wow♪ Hehe, that's so cool.
Ahh... It takes so little to impress Risa... It is cute, though♪
Everything else has just been the river and apartment buildings, but I'm still enjoying the scenery.
Apartments... Ah, now there's a soothing word...
Stop that, Risa. The love nest for my beloved Risa and me will be the top-floor penthouse of a high-rise apartment... Hehe♡
We're not having this discussion now, geeze... Mai-sama, which train is that running across the bridge over there?
Oh, that's the Nippori...
The Nippori-Toneri Liner. Running beneath it is a road for general traffic, the Yakuhashi Dori. The bridge is named the Ogi Ohashi Bridge.
Hehe, Miya's back in guide mode.
Please, ask me anything you wish, Risa♡
Right, right...
The road running alongside the opposite bank of the Arakawa River is the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway Central Circular Route. The Kawaguchi Route is also on that side.
I didn't even ask about that...
There are lots of athletic fields around here. Everyone's playing baseball or soccer. They look like they're having fun...
Haah, haah, haah... Sp- Sports aren't... anywhere near that fun, Shinozaki Rikka!!
Hang in there, Reo.
Hooh, haah, pota pota... Hnnh...
Uh oh, I think she's just about had it.
If we can make it to the other side of the Nishiarai Bridge up ahead, there's a good place for us to rest.
Oh, that bridge?
We're going to rest there?
That's right, just for a little bit.
Oh... A drinking fountain and a restroom. I see, so this is actually a park.
Although I would consider this area more of a quasi-park myself, Risa.
You don't always have to show off how smart you are, Miya... Honestly...
Forgive me. Sometimes my vast reserves of knowledge just uncontrollably spill from my head.
Well, put a cork in it for a little while.
Ohh... You're so mean to me♡
*shaaaaaa...*
You know, I've seen the word "SLOW" written all over the place around here...
I'm glad you asked, Risa!
Take a break, Miya!
*sniff*...
Generally speaking, the speed limit around here is twenty kilometers per hour. The path is used by everyone, including pedestrians.
I see... Since it was called "The Arakawa Bike Trail," I just assumed it was for bicycles only.
Ahem! It is indeed called a "bike trail," but its original purpose was as an emergency road for use during disasters. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that we cyclists are merely borrowing it from the government.
Miya, I told you... But well, I guess I learned something.
Ehe~♡
I'm really impressed, Miya-chan. Anyway, even though it says "SLOW" here, we should have no trouble keeping it under twenty.
Pota... Pota pota, potage soup... Pota pota...
If you can keep up that dumb chant, I think you can make it a little further... Sayuki-chan, are you doing all right?
Haah, haah, haah... Yes! Rikka-san is keeping me motivated... Haah, haah...
Sayuki-chan has way more spirit than you, Reo... Come on, you can do this!
I- I won't be beaten by Shirakawa Sayuki... I can do this!!
*shaaaaaa...*
There, we just passed the Senju Shinbashi Bridge! Hang in there, everyone!
Oh! Look at all the flowers blooming in the flower bed♪ I kind of want to go see them.
Your fairy tale interests are showing themselves again~
*shaaaaaa...*
Okay, once we pass the Horikiri Bridge, we'll climb back up the bank.
Climb... the bank?
There's a floodgate just past that, so there's a gap in the floodplain. So we'll have to cross over it.
Our first hill of the day... All right...
What?! A hill?!
That's right, it's nothing major though, so just keep pedaling.
Hnnh... Pota pota...
.........
Haah, haah... There's Horikiri Station. And behind it is some sort of academic structure...
That's...
Hold it, Miya-chan! Let me take this one! That university was originally a middle school.
And get this! It was the school they used as the set of "Kinpatsu-sensei"!!
.........
I know! Can you believe it? It's kind of like a pilgrimage.
.........
U- Um... What's "Kinpatsu-sensei," Mai-sama?
Wh-?!
I'm afraid I'm not familiar with it either...
N- No way!! Everyone's heard of that! Right, Risa-chan? Miya-chan?
...Umm...
Why?! Why doesn't anybody know this?! We're only two years apart!
Haah, haah... If it was Great Teacher Onigawara, then I'd know... Pota... Pota pota...

Notes:
Kinpatsu-sensei is a reference to Kinpachi-sensei. Tokyo Future University was once the site of a middle school, which was used as the set to film the television series.
Great Teacher Onigawara is a reference to Great Teacher Onizuka (or GTO for short).


To be continued... Next time♪

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