- Day 65 – Pippu to Biei
- Distance: 46.1km
- Ascent / descent: 296m / 211m
- Weather: warm
- Accommodation: Riders House Oka, ¥800
The sun wasn’t shining when I woke, but at least it wasn’t raining either! As I was leaving, Nanami came over and handed me a slice of chocolate cake that she’d also made. Her lemon cake was out of this world, so I could only imagine how good the chocolate cake would be! We said goodbye and I rode out of Pippu, a small town and just a dot on the map of Hokkaido, but it had made a big impact on me with the generosity of strangers.
Not long after leaving Pippu, I passed a group of photographers on the side of the road. I stopped and asked them what they were looking at, so one of them showed me an album of photos of a falcon. They invited me to look through their enormous zoom lens and I could see the falcon clearly. I snapped the below shot, keeping in my mind I only have my 18-55mm lens here, it’s in the middle of the photo.
I then joined a cycle path to Asahikawa and passed other people out cycling, walking their dogs, or playing park golf.
Asahikawa was one of the larger cities that I’ve been in for a while, so I stopped at the Aeon Mall to visit the supermarket and buy some fruit and breakfast. Where else in the world could you leave your bike laden with panniers in a shopping mall carpark and expect it to still be there on your return?
After leaving Asahikawa, I entered the farmland area of Biei.
The town of Biei was quaint and old-looking and had a great tourist information centre next to the station. I went in to see if they could help me with the phone number of the nearby Rider’s House, which they had. I called the Rider’s House, spoke to an old lady, was told it would be ¥800 to stay the night and that I could come straight away.
I followed the signs to Rider’s House Oka and turned up to a farmhouse building on the outskirts of Biei. I knocked and entered the garage and interrupted a man weighing asparagus. He was surprised to see me, obviously the message hadn’t been passed on. He asked me to follow him and took me to a small portable building behind farm machinery where he said they let the women stay. There were two beds inside, a few cobwebs, and a light that didn’t work… I followed him back to the garage and he pointed out where the men usually stayed inside the garage on a small raised area with a table. I asked if I could stay there instead… the portable building would give me nightmares even without having spent the night inside, and he agreed that because no-one else had arrived, that I could sleep where the men usually did. It was in the garage, but it was a roof over my head and there was electricity. During the tour of the outside pit toilet I couldn’t help but notice many large spiders and their even larger spiderwebs. I decided straight away I wouldn’t be drinking anything else for the rest of the day and hoped I wouldn’t have to come out here again!
Word of warning, don’t use a pit toilet in the middle of the night with a headlamp on if you don’t want to see the contents of the pit toilet.