So, the second day that I took the bike out (I allowed a rest day in the middle), I decided to go the opposite direction, up the Tamagawa towards Tachikawa. On the south-west side of the river, the bike path ends pretty quickly, but picks up again a mile later, only to end again after another mile or so. Fortunately, it ends right at the base of a bridge, so I crossed over to the north-east side and kept riding out.
There are a couple of short stretches of degraded path on the north-east side, but nothing really bad. Eventually, I got to Y's Road. Y's Road is about 8 miles from Noborito, is part of a large chain of bike shops in Tokyo, and was the first place I went to back in September when I started looking for a bike. I was tempted to go in and ask if they had the 2009 models yet, but I was having too much fun just riding around. The trail continues past Y's Road for at least a couple more miles, but I don't know by exactly how much more. I only went another mile before turning around to go back home.
The path took me a little closer to Mount Fuji, and I could see it pretty clearly, looming behind some other hills. But, the weather was poor and I couldn't get a clean picture of it. Next time.
On this new stretch of the Tamagawa, I encountered a skateboard park, more baseball diamonds, tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer fields and running tracks, along with lots and lots of buildings. Parts of the riverbank are fairly secluded and make for good practice locations; one person had been practicing traditional Japanese flute, and another had brought out a drum set. There were also about 7-8 nature photographers hauling out cameras, tripods and really big lens sets for bird photography. There were also a couple people out flying model RC airplanes.
But, even though I had a longer stretch of good trail this time, I still couldn't really unwind like I wanted to (other than being horribly out of shape), because there was just too much other traffic on the trail. Lots of older people walking or slowly peddling along; several packs of school students supposedly out to help clean up the trash along the river (but mostly just taking up the entire path talking to each other) and a few high school sports teams out for an exercise run. There was even a paramilitary group out running in formation (no idea which group, though).
There was a bit of a headwind on the way out, slowing me down and making me think that I was just too old to be riding around any more (it was also fairly cold). But, when I turned around to go back, I just flew. I covered ground so fast that I didn't realize that I'd passed the bridge that I'd crossed over on earlier. So, when I did cross a bridge, it took me 5 minutes to realize that I was already back in Noborito, and that I'd covered over 3 miles more than I'd thought I had.
I like my new bike.