While the three of us would admit to having gone on some foolish adventures, we will be putting health and safety first on this trip in light of the earthquake and tsunami. Last Friday evening Andy, Dylan, and I video-conferenced from our 3 countries via Skype to discuss this very issue -Is the trip still on? The short answer is “yes,” but we did have a lot to consider and will continue to revise our trip plan as events unfold in Japan.
First, although the trip was never intended to be a fundraiser, all three of us easily agreed that we should try our best to raise money for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Please consider donating to help us reach our $1 per kilometer goal of $10,000 (collectively we’ll be riding about 10,000 km). Visit our “Help Us Help Japan” page to learn how to help.
Second, we did our best to evaluate the relevant safety concerns of biking through the Tohoku region in northern Japan. The most obvious danger is the Fukushima Power Plant where workers are still courageously working to repair the damaged units. As of now, the radiation levels do not appear threatening but we’ll of course look to the latest news as we approach the region. Here’s an interesting chart that gives some information on radiation exposure. Another concern is the conditions of the roads, but we’ve learned that the highway on the west coast is perfectly fine for travel. A less obvious difficulty is where we’ll be able to get food and water in that leg of the trip. Our best bet is to carry enough with us for the couple days it will take to cycle through. As for sanitation concerns, I have purchased a Katadyn water purifying system with a replacement cartridge as well as iodine tablets to make sure that we all have clean water. We will plan to purify all municipal water we drink and cook with in areas that may be affected.
We have formed some back-up plans as well (see map below):
- taking a ferry to up to Hokkaido to avoid the Tohoku region all together
- cycling a loop covering only southern Japan until Nagano.
- skipping Japan altogether and riding the length of South Korea.
We are hoping that we will be able to do our original trip, but most importantly we hope the situation improves for the Japanese people who have suffered from this disaster. Thanks for your support and please feel free to leave comments on this article with other things we should be aware of and consider!
While not prepping for Japan by Bicycle Scott works as a scientist at a civil engineering firm on the East coast, USA. Learn more about the Japan by Bicycle team here.