Even beginners of cycling can enjoy BIWAICHI. What is the distance and time required for cycling? Where can I rent a bicycle? What services can I get? What is a recommended cycling plan?
Just running through is not enough to enjoy! Here are some tips to help you with your planning and how to solve problems such as "Hurt your hips" and "What to do if I get punctured." Right now, we'll send out information to those who are planning "BIWAICHI" trip! This article brought to you by J-Hoppers Lake Biwa Guesthouse.
"BIWAICHI" is an abbreviation of "One around Lake Biwa". It is a cycling route that goes around Lake Biwa by bicycle. It has been selected as one of the National Cycle Routes certified by the national government.
Lake Biwa is divided into North Lake (Hokko) and South Lake (Nanko), by Biwako Ohashi Bridge. The north lake is about 150 km (93 mi) and the south lake is about 50 km (31 mi), so the total is 200 km (124 mi) round trip.
If you are a long distance cyclist, you would go around the lakes in one day. However, if you are a beginner of long distance cycling or if you want to enjoy not only cycling but also sightseeing and eating delicious food other than cycling, we recommend for 2 days 1 night plan or 3 days 2 nights plan.
By the way, the cycling direction is basically counterclockwise. Bicycles are left-handed in Japan, so looking at Lake Biwa on your left can cycle closer to the lake shore, and there are fewer intersecting roads.
Almost all roads around the Lake Biwa are rather flat. However, there are ups and downs on the north side around Kinomoto. In addition, between Omi-takashima and Kita-komatsu in the west side, you have to pay attention to cars and trucks because the cycling area is narrow. It is important to note that there is no bicycle area between Katata and Otsu Port, and you will be traveling on a busy road. Some people cross the Biwako Ohashi Bridge and cycle only the north lake instead of the whole.
The best season for BIWAICHI is spring and autumn. In summer days, there are many days with temperatures exceeding 35℃ (95℉), and cycling for long time under the scorching sun increases the risk of heat stroke and significantly reduces physical strength. In winter, especially in the north side, there is a lot of snow and it is difficult to control your bicycle.
Let's make a plan for BIWAICHI. Assuming the average speed of a bicycle is 12 km/h (8 mi/h), including breaks. If you are a beginner, we recommend cycling only the North Lake in 3 days and 2 nights, not a complete of whole lakes.
Staying in Kinomoto is ideal if you start from Otsu. Otsu to Kinomoto is about 96 km (59 mi). Staying in Omi-maiko is ideal if you start from Maibara. Maibara to Omi-maiko is about 85 km (53 mi).
Staying in Hikone on the first night and in Omi-takashima on the second night is ideal if you start from Otsu. Staying in Omi-maiko on the first night and in Omi-hachiman on the second night is ideal if you start from Maibara.
Choose a road bike or cross bike which is designed for long-distance cycling. However, road bikes are not suitable for beginners because of drop hand operation and deep leaning posture. A cross bike is better to choose.
[Otsu] You can rent a bicycle at OTSURY in Otsu Station Tourist Information Center. Helmets can be borrowed free of charge for cross bikes.
[Maibara] At Maibara Station, BIWAICHI RENTAL CYCLE lends bikes specialized for BIWAICHI. Helmet, light, key, cycle computer is free of charge, puncture-resistant tires adopted.
If you wish to spend 2 days 1 night, you can have only the necessary luggage on the first day and send the rest of luggage to your accommodation in advance. Keep your luggage as light and compact as possible. Also, make sure that the bag is not a shoulder type but should be carried on the back.
In the past, maps were indispensable for BIWAICHI, but, recently BIWAICHI routes have been improved, and blue arrow feathers have been written on roads as landmarks. If you follow this, you can go around Lake Biwa.
It is convenient to install "BIWAICHI Cycling Navi", a smartphone application developed by Shiga Prefecture in cooperation with Navitime. Not only route search, but also tourist attractions and gourmet information are provided. ios version、 android version
The trick to cycling long distances like BIWAICHI is to keep pedaling at a constant speed with about 80% of the power and keeping that pace as long as possible. The gear feels a little light and should be adjusted according to slopes and headwinds. Do not overdo it and drive at a slightly slower pace.
Take a 5-10 minute break once an hour. Breaks that are too long have the opposite effect. And make sure you have enough hydration during your break. You are sweating while cycling than you think.
The flag on the right is a sign for the Biwaichi Cycle Station. It is a cyclist's hospitality base that lends toilets and air pumps, and is located in more than 200 locations throughout the prefecture, including convenience stores, roadside stations, restaurants and hotels. Each station provide various services for support BIWAICHI cyclists.
In the event of a puncture or breakdown, Lake Biwa Cycle Rescue is reliable. If you call this number (0748-26-0803), the staff will come to your site and repair your bike.
If you feel unwell or stop cycling, Omi taxi can take your bike with you. Biwaichi Rescue (PDF)
Ideally, leave as early as possible in the morning, finish early in the afternoon, and relax afterwards. Do not cycle after sunset. In addition to poor visibility, it is easy to make mistakes on unfamiliar lands. Please observe the traffic rules and make memories of a fun cycling.