I’m now down to the last 25 days before starting the Shikoku 88 temples pilgrimage on my bicycle, and the question that I keep hearing is, “Are you ready?”
Physically, I’m as ready as I can be considering that I work everyday, and I’m in the process of packing up my apartment for the return to the States. I have been training on and off since May, but a few minor injuries prevented me from keeping a steady schedule. I ride at least 20 kilometers each day, usually a bit more, and in the pannier bags I have an extra ten kilograms (22 pounds) to simulate all the things that I might carry. I’m thinking of having less than that, it should be doable. I’ve also been training with riding up hills and mountains, and that’s really the main concern. Distance-wise I know I can do it, but adding the stress of the mountains is what will exhaust me.
Mentally, I’m as ready as I can be. I am very possitive about this whole thing, I know I can do it. Furthermore, as I have already said that I will do it, I will do it just so I don’t have to swallow my words and back down from this promise.
Materials-wise, I almost got everything I need. The Board of Education I work at was kind enough to get me most of the henro stuff I will need, like the henro vest [hakui], the prayer book and beads, the stampbook [noukyouchou], the stole [wagesa], the nameslips [osame-fuda], and the travel bag for all that [zudabukuro]. All that added up to more than 1man (about 100 dollars). Now I just need the sedge hat [sugegasa] and the staff [kongouzue] and I’ll be set! I can buy those at the first temple.
My bike is mostly ready. I just need a new front wheel, and new front breaks. Oh and a helmet would be nice. Going downhill at 50 kilometers per hour without protection is kind of scary, I’m just waiting for some car to pull out in front of me and send me flying!
I have also arranged for places to stay throughout the pilgrimage, there were many kind people (mostly other ALT’s throughout Shikoku island) that have offered to help me in this journey. Thank you all very much, it means a lot to me.
In short, I am ready! And the closer the start date gets, the more excited I am. Start date is August 7th, by the way.
Let’s Shikoku 88!!