Tour de Kyoto

Bicycle culture is on the increase around the world; the number of related events, projects and collaborations seems to be growing every day. It’s good to see that the Paper Sky Bicycle Club is continuing to expand on their series of talks and events with their annual Tour de Kyoto in the old capital, Japan’s most bike-friendly city.

The event took place over ten days during the Golden Week holiday with the simple idea of bringing Japanese local culture and people together through cycling. The first stage began with a ride around the city, taking in beautiful temples and parks and a climb up the steepest hill in Kyoto. The day ended at one of the last remaining running water wells in the city where the group made fresh coffee from the water they collected.

All of the design for the tour was by Groovisions who created a character and limited edition T-shirt as well as taking part in the ride themselves. Many of the events were directly connected to cycling, like making small bike messenger bags with Chie, an ex-messenger who now runs Cosset Bags. Others focused more on introducing people to traditional crafts found locally, like Japanese sweet making—Wagashi—at the famous Kameya-Yoshinaga, or how to dress in a Kimono, which many young people don’t know how to do.

One of the most impressive events was the specialised fabric dying workshop at Tabata Shibori where participants were encouraged to bring a garment of their own to work with these traditional craftsmen who are bringing the hand-dying techniques of Shibori to a more modern audience through companies like SOU SOU who also played an important role in the event and have been dedicated to working with traditional Japanese craftsmen and artisans for the past eight years, helping to preserve their skills and creating jobs by making them more relevant today for a modern audience.

The cycle club are planning the next ride in Aomori, Northern Japan later in the year, traveling through the forests and mountains of the region where there will be workshops and experiences with the Aomori locals. There will be more information on the PaperSky website once the plans have all been set if you’re interested in joining them.

, 29 July 2011