MAMA CHARI: Lost and found in Tokyo.


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34,247 bicycles left abandoned at Tokyo train stations in 2016

Getting Around The Tokyo subway is operated by two companies — Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway — which means there are two network maps you need to wrap your head around. Take a photo of each map so you always have it with you and remember the station name, number and line colour you want to ride. Cardholders also get a small discount on some journeys. Remember to take a photo I. The officer at reception was in a foul mood and instead of taking us seriously started accusing us of committing a crime by not registering her bike when she bought it. We explained that she bought it from a foreigner who left town, but he said she has no proof and could have stolen it.

What's with all the Mamachari hate?

He then asked me about my bike. I also bought my bike from a foreigner, a British guy who went back home, and he started to fill out different forms, telling me I was also in violation of the law. Fortunately there was another J-cop listening in in the background and who came forward, and asked if I was the "so-and-so" who knows his son. I said yes, then he started laughing and introduced himself, shook my hand, etc. He patted the other guy on the shoulder, who then left, and we started again, this time focussing on my friend's bicycle theft.

He kindly explained at the end that we should indeed register our bikes. The second time I almost got nailed on it, when four police cornered me in a parking lot to ask if my bike was stolen while bosozoku rode around unchecked behind them , I had already registered it, so they just asked me other meaningless questions for a while and left. In addition to the theft angle, I think this is an obvious result to the difficult process that goes along with getting rid of large pieces of trash the need to make an appointment, the cost of disposal, etc.

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We used to have a huge problem with bikes parked willynilly outside stations and could no longer walk on pavements. Rode the same expensive bicycle for 15 years, never registered it. Never asked for my Alien Card except at the airport and that was only a quick glance and so far never asked with the new residents card.

Guess I must look like an Old Father Christmas or something, except when I buy beer in a convenience store then I'm asked to touch the pay till to show I'm over As far as I know, shops require to register the bike when buying it. For used bikes it is better to register to change the ownership just in the uncommon case the police becomes zealous and decides for some controls.


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It never happens anyway. Registered my used bike 15 years ago just for that. Used bikes used to be shipped to North Korea that was recycling them to use the metal. I think this has stopped due to the international sanctions. In my case, when I bought the bicycle - over 15 years ago, there was no mention of needing to have it registered - so I'm thinking that this registration thing, must be a recent innovation.

After a fair bit of discussion with the Policemen who had stopped me, started with just one, then 3 others soon joined I agreed to get it registered - they said I could go to any bicycle shop Which if no longer exists Bike registration is not new, had to do it 20yrs ago, my J-Wifes bike left behind for yrs was also registered. You are advised to do it at purchase time at the bike shop, they got all the needed papers and stickers. When cops stop people to check for ownership they use the sticker number to pull the record.

Often had cops stop beside and glance at the sticker. I live in the country and since the police have nothing better to do, they pull over everyone to check their bikes. Thats young people right up to little old ladies. A saw a policeman rip into a lady about 80 for not having a basket and using her handlebars to hang a bag of bread. This was happening while people are speeding in cars, running red lights etc etc and they are not caught at all. I think that the Police here have their priorities mixed up. The J cops really need to spend time on other things like cars running red lights which I have the misfortune to see everyday Japan can just ship these abandoned bicycles along with the regular dumping of old automobiles to the poorer countries next time.

I don't understand why this is an issue now when it was never an issue in case of used automobiles till date. I had one bike stolen so I bought a new one.

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Two months later cops called me up and said we have your bike. A thief stole it, I had to fork out more money for a new one, and now the cops wanted me to pay for it. Bicycles left at stations are usually on public property and so may be removed rather easily if found to be in violation of parking regulations.

You are free to not wear a helmet and crack your head open on the way to supermarket lol I want one but I am not confident enough , scared to lose balance, lack of sidewalks and steep steeeep roads all around myhouse and future Tokyo's house. But I am still looking around for THE bike that would be perfect for me I love the idea of the taga but it is huge for Japan.. I have to confess I'm a little negative on the Mamachari.

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Its cheapness encourages reckless behavior. Yes, you can leave it outside, but it begins to rust almost instantly. Japanese kids really don't respect their Mamacharis and can't wait to abandon them for a real car. I think this attitude also explains their anti-social behavior, like texting while riding, salmoning or running into pedestrians on sidewalks. Okay, I admit the riders of those expensive fixies also display dangerous riding styles, but I know where they learned it first. Many Mamachari riders ride with the seats all the way down which reminds me of a monkey riding on a circus bike.

Another strange riding behavior that is probably brought about by learning to ride on a Mamachari is the inability to use a derailleur gear. I swear I have never seen a teenager downshift his or her new Mamachari with six speeds for the hill by my house.

Instead, they stand on their pedals in the highest gear.

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My weird experience: Onigiri and Mom’s Bicycle

A real annoying side effect of the Mamachari industry is that most bicycle stores where I live okay, I'm not in Tokyo. I live in the "sticks" only sell Mamacharis, haven't ever seen a decent bicycle, and refuse to repair it if it needs anything more than a flat tire. I took my German bicycle to the neighborhood bike shop because it needed a new bottom bracket for chrissake, it's fifteen years old! The Bridgestone dealer looked at my bike and said, "I can't repair those," and walked away.

I guess I can't blame his lack of confidence, since most Mamacharis are thrown away when they get a flat tire. Selling a new Mamachari is more fun than fixing an old one. Okay, I confess I had a Mamachari that I rescued from the trash go ahead, report me to the police. I lovingly cleaned it, replaced the tires, front brake cable and pads all Yen store stuff and even found a guy who welded two seatposts together a small one inside a big one so that I didn't look like a monkey on a circus bike.

34,247 bicycles left abandoned at Tokyo train stations in 2016

I yearned for my German bicycle that was in storage back in Europe, and had my friend send it to me by mail 35 Euros, I think. Then, with a tear or two in my eye, I gave my Mamachari with the old monkey seatpost to my teenage stepdaughter who proceeded to abuse it. She stood on the pedals instead downshifting, she road around in the dark without the light on, and she never locked it with the result one day she with a smile announced it had been stolen. For many months I scoured the bicycle racks at schools, dormitories and stores, hoping to find my old Mamachari, but to no avail.

I am convinced it is now doing hard labor in some North Korean gulag I want my Mamachari back!!!!! Byron Kidd is the founder of the Tokyo By Bike website, writer, experienced urban cyclist, and recognized authority on cycling in the staggering metropolis of Tokyo. The establishment of Mamachari Bicycles London had me excited as I've been promoting "Japanese city cycling style" overseas for years.

I've been trying to convince people that mamachari bicycles are perfect for short trips around town, doing the shopping and running the children to kindergarten etc. I believe that manufactures overseas haven't been catering to this market, preferring instead to target sport or hobby cyclists, and when they do release a bicycle for the city cyclist it is almost always terribly overpriced for a piece of technology that has essentially remained the same for the last years.


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MAMA CHARI: Lost and found in Tokyo. MAMA CHARI: Lost and found in Tokyo.
MAMA CHARI: Lost and found in Tokyo. MAMA CHARI: Lost and found in Tokyo.
MAMA CHARI: Lost and found in Tokyo. MAMA CHARI: Lost and found in Tokyo.
MAMA CHARI: Lost and found in Tokyo. MAMA CHARI: Lost and found in Tokyo.
MAMA CHARI: Lost and found in Tokyo. MAMA CHARI: Lost and found in Tokyo.
MAMA CHARI: Lost and found in Tokyo. MAMA CHARI: Lost and found in Tokyo.

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