Japanese cyclist rolls into town
April 12, 2005
CARSON CITY – After three days on his Bridgestone Anchor bicycle, Japanese medical student Taichi Imamura crested Donner Summit and wheeled into Carson City.
“It was very hard,” he said Tuesday. “I climbed 7,000 feet in one day, from Stockton to Highway 88.”
He only has 2,650 miles to go. And that’ll just bring the 5-foot-2, 120- pound man to New York City, where he’ll catch a flight to Portugal, and from there continue his bicycle tour through Europe.
Imamura will then fly to Istanbul, spin into central Asia and then end his cycling in Shanghai before flying home.
The 23-year-old native of Hokkaido, where he attends the university there, was the most conspicuous patron at the Carson City Library on Tuesday morning.
While senior citizens browsed the shelves and students researched reports on the Internet, Imamura checked his e-mail at one of the public-use computers. He wore blue, white and black cyclist/cross country ski attire – which is Imamura’s other sport of choice. A pair of Nike shades were pushed up into his unruly black hair.
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100 miles a day
He called this a cheap eight-month trip, with a budget of $7,000 in traveler’s checks. He’ll need to make about 100 miles a day to keep pace.
This is his first time in America, but Imamura comprehends English well and flourishes his few words with gestures – such as using his hands for a pillow when he says, “I sleep under sky.”
This isn’t his first bicycle expedition. Forever flummoxing his traditional parents, Imamura spent a month touring his country, and another month in Europe. He speaks a smidgen of French and Italian – “Merci, grazie and ciao.”
His parents are opposed to this circumnavigation of the world because of the danger of traveling alone in foreign countries, but Imamura is optimistic. He sleeps under bridges, on park benches and occasionally hotels. No tent.
“I don’t feel any dangerous,” he said.
He’s carrying 80 pounds of gear in four panniers, which are bags slung over the sides of his bike. Combine that with his 40-pound bike, and Imamura is carrying his equivalent in weight.
Why do all of this? He smiled and laughed.
“It’s fun to ride bicycle,” Imamura said while sitting at a table in the library. His bike is out front, leaning up against the bike rack. “It’s a very interesting thing because I can meet others, good men and girls.”
Mountains, rivers and sea
He’ll be in Fallon today. Imamura has his atlas open to Nevada and strapped on the back of his bike.
He carries a mini disk player and 20 disks with hits from the Japanese group Biz, Bon Jovi, Sting, Stevie Wonder and the Beatles.
Imamura will spend a month at home and then start another trip to Southeast Asia.
“I like the beautiful mountains, the river and seas. And sunsets very beautiful. I can feel the wind on my face on a bike.”
On a bike he doesn’t have any barriers – nothing between him and the sunset.