Never is easy start an article like this, we didn’t want to make the typical questions about the trip, the km’s of the travels and the more featured moments. It took far more than that.
Honestly, when we were talking to Mario Cranks and James Aukerman, we had the opportunity to know the most pure and genuine project of The Roosters side, something made by pure passion and whole-heartedly.
After more than one hour talking with them, the amount of information we had to process was huge and the stories about the trip endless, but if something is obvious, is the meaning of what make these guys. It is not how much distance they travel or accumulate much slope, these 5 riders do what they do by authentic enjoy, living each KM as a single group, as a family, enjoying together in moments of euphoria and suffering and managing in difficult times and tension which, in such adventure, we are sure that they had some.
We could also see how a project of this size is not limited only to ride through idyllic sites and live great experiences, there are months of work to organize the trip, prepare routes, training hours and hours, looking for sponsors like crazy, organizing the necessary equipment, and many other things that, surely, we didn’t know.
After talking with them we had a mixture of good vibes, admiration, and a huge good envy as a cyclist.
Why did you decide for Japan? It’s a basic question, but necessary.
“It was somewhat a revelation. At first this country didn’t interest us so much, there were several factors that made us decide to Japan, one of them, it was the Japanese Odissey that inspired us to discover more about this wonderful site and see the possibilities in terms of routes.
The ideas are sometimes born like this, and when we started investigating we fell in love with Japan, the people, landscapes, also have the possibility to travel to a country where the cycle culture is purely based on the Keirin and the urban cycling.
We came across with the possibility of going to Japan and, although we had other options, we though: we are organizing a trip, it should be something big.”
What we have seen so far is fucking great, we do not see the time of more…
“Our intention is to care the project The Roosters to the maximum. We try to do things well and that takes time. We want to present our adventure in several media of communication of quality, like yours. The next Cyclo Cultura we will present a first teaser, and also explain more about our Japanese adventure, and later this year we will publish the official documentary of the trip.”
The essence of The Roosters is to be thug and trips to adventure but there was a time in which this identity that you represented disappeared slightly… However, with this latest adventure gives us the feeling that you have recovered this House brand and you have returned to the origins. What do you think about?
“Often happens in groups there are ones that go to one side and others for another but simply it was something between us, we look at ourselves and we decided to take a step back and regain our true essence. We created a great project with sponsors that we really see reflected our values, consistent with our attitude and in the fixed gear world, as we always did.
Japan, in some respects, has been something much more organized than previous trips, but it was also much wilder, sleeping outdoors, on baseball fields, passing the days with a short budget and many miles to ride.”
Hard moments or episodes that you want to explain us?
“Live all the adventure with mountain tents has been something amazing, no doubt, from the physical and psychological point of view was very hard. One thing is to live one fucking day on the bike and get to a hostel where you can take a shower, eat and rest well. That feeling of not relax and know that you still have many days like that ahead it was really hard.”
“The weather was brutal, because everywhere we read that we would find a rather tropical weather and, indeed, most times we found an important cold and certainly rain and humidity. Having to wrap in newspaper sleeping and waking up completely wet, it has not been easy.
Our budget was very tight so rarely we stopped to eat in restaurants. We had to eat what we needed to get through the day by bike, often huge bowls of rice … ha,ha,ha.”
Highlighted places that you want to name?
Jaime: “For Nacho Tapia surely have been the supermarkets. With an average of one hour taking photos for each supermarket … ha ha ha. Joking aside, they are really from another planet.
Mario: “For me one of the highlight was the island of Shikoku. Roads of a meter and a half wide, no traffic, winding through the mountain, without reference, in the middle of nowhere, with an impressive silence. Amazing!
Surely all last week which was the most intense culminating the Aso Mount, where everyone warned us that it was very dangerous, and at some point you think you’re stuck out there with a bike and you wonder if you are in danger or not.”
Jaime: “With the Aso’s Mount, I already had an obsession. I had a picture of the Mount as wallpaper mobile from 8 months and every night, when I came back from training and after struggling to get sponsors, spending many hours to achieve a successful project, I looked at that picture thinking about that moment will come. When we were able to climb Mount Aso, in a situation in which 15 days before was an earthquake and had cuts on the road, and military sides of the road … it was something very epic.”
Throughout the trip you were meeting people who became part of memories of this adventure. Could you talk about them?
“Surely one of the numbers one is Junpei, who we renamed as Juan-pei. The contact was a goal by Nacho Tapia who contacted him via Instagram. It turns out that we found the right person. He usually receives cyclist people traveling to Japan, and basically helped us a lot on our arrival and our first time in Tokyo.
His house does not have keys and is a place where several cyclists of various nationalities are accommodated. The first day, a crew of 10 people came to greet us at the station, helped us to mount bikes and carry bags and then we went to a party. The truth is that all the people we have met in the environment of the bike has solved our life, the language barrier is very large and even the most basic things, can be complicated.”
“Another great one was definitely the owner of Fat Wrench Cycles, who has been in Spain for a long time, and felt he had a debt to all Spanish because he had been treated so well there, so that he turned to us and helped us a lot.”
“Aku was a messenger that took us through downtown Tokyo route. A pure beast! 20 minutes riding in the town at 24miles without stopping at any traffic lights …”
Not everyone can tell that they meet the guys of Macaframa and rode in a Velodrome with Keirin’s Stars in one trip.
“It really was the leitmotif of the whole trip, get somewhere, wanting to do something, be disappointed with something because you couldn’t do what you wanted to do, and suddenly everything changed and put the luck in your favor finally. Amazing!
KEIRIN: “At Keirin we went with the intention to see how it was and perhaps to enter in to the Velodrome to have a look. We arrived and went with all the enthusiasm; suddenly a responsible came and told us that we had to leave. All we were disappointed and we left, we were out of the velodrome, talking about what to do and then the coach approached us asking who we were, why we were visiting the velodrome and what we were doing in Japan.
He liked our adventure and told us to get back in, gave us a little Keirin’s doll to each and we went into the locker room, where all the bikes and athletes were … We were freaking out!
After a while of being inside and chatting a bit, we offered us the opportunity to ride with them. It was brutal to see how people recognize our respect and admiration for something that we really like; they accepted and helped us in everything.”
MACAFRAMA: “With Macaframa was also a good fluke. We were drinking cans in Osaka outside the Brotures Osaka talking to people and suddenly came Massan and he introduced easily himself to us… and he told us – come with me – we were in the store talking to them, caught a good binge. We told him our adventure and exchanged stories. Incredible!”
The group: coexistence in a trip like this is always a key factor. Tell us how it was during your stay in Japan.
“Moments of stress on a trip like this, there is always, by fatigue, exhaustion, hunger … and a very hard part is coexistence.
It has not come to be very difficult moments, but there are some tenses moments it is inevitable. But those moments end there, that we all have very clear. At the moment there is a discussion, it never transcends more than this. Even though you know that there is a discussion and someone falls behind, often it’s the person who has discussed who comes to seek your wheel. That’s the meaning of union, the truth that if we say we’re family is for something, and that’s one of the reason that we are the five together.”
“We would like to thank all the people met during our trip who helped us a lot, all the sponsors and especially thank to Miguel Gatoo, Aitor and Lino, for their patience and support during the trip, without them this would not have gone ahead!“
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Day 1: Niigata – Kashiwazaki (85,3 km / 281 m)
Day 2: Kashiwazaki – Itoigawa (84,6 km / 1.432 m)
Day 3: Itoigawa – Higashi (96,6 km / 1.098 m)
Day 4: Higashi – Shirakawa go (83,2 km / 2.087 m)
Day 5: Shirakawa go – Gujo (80,5 km / 1.855 m)
Day 6: Gujo – Ogaki (78,6 km / 1.185 m)
Day 7: Ogaki – Hikone (30 km + Policía / 315 m)
Day 8: Kyoto ride (42,8 km / 301 m)
Day 9: Kyoto – Nara (51,2 km / 560 m)
Day 10: Nara – Osaka (45,9 km / 484 m)
Day 11: Osaka Ride (26,3 km / 271 m)
Day 12: Takamatsu (50 km – ?? m)
Day 13: Nihama (120 km / 1.900 m)
Day 14: Nihama – Yawatahama (120,5 km / 1.700 m)
Day 15: Beppu- Ubuyama (72,3 km / 2.349 m)
Day 16: Ubuyama – Mnt. Aso (36,5 km / 763 m)