Perfect weather, perfect cycling trails, perfect camping grounds, perfect friendships – and most importantly – perfect soft cream.
Happy Trails Bike Club
The “Dam-Good” Dōminomori Overbike
Words, Photos, and Video by Theo Brennan
On October 8th, 2022, the Happy Trails Bike Club embarked on the Dōminomori Overbike–the finale for the club this year! The weather was perfect; a warm sunny day with a nice breeze flowing through the air.
We Huskies began our journey to Dōminomori from the HIS campus at 7:30. We cruised down the Toyohira River Cycling Road for 15 km, past the Sapporo Vista, to our first replenishment stop. The Toyohira Cycle Road runs along the Toyohira River, which is a beautiful and clear river that has fish such as salmon swimming in it!
We ate some snacks, drank water, and rested our legs for a bit. After the quick break, we cycled for another 10 km and finally reached the end of the Toyohira Cycle Road. From there, we traveled four more kilometers to reach the Roycé Chocolate Factory, where we made our second replenishment stop. We enjoyed some Roycé sweets, bought some omiyage, and got rehydrated! After around 20 minutes, we gathered all of our things and hopped back on our bikes. We biked for 13 km on a road that passes by the Tōbetsu Dam to our third replenishment stop: No Soft No Life.
No Soft No Life was a cool and unique soft cream store; their shop was a shipping container! We talked to the owner, and she said she’d ridden motorcycles to many places worldwide! She also had a vast collection of souvenir magnets from all sorts of places! After we finished eating soft cream, we got right back on the trail to Dōminomori.
We followed the same road for another 7 km and reached the Tōbetsu Dam, our fourth and last replenishment stop until Dōminomori! Those 7 km were tough on our legs as most of it was uphill, but we pushed through and made it! We rested for 15 minutes, and we were back on the road for our final stretch to the Dōminomori Tsukigata Campground, with only 12 km left! We left Tōbetsu Dam and rode our bicycles along the Tōbetsu River and through the Bokyonohashi Bridge to cross the river.
After crossing the bridge, we finally reached the entrance to Dōminomori! We waited for everyone to get caught up and entered the entrance to Dōminomori. After we thought we had finally reached the end, a mighty uphill road was unexpectedly waiting for us, and all of us students were shocked! We were so close to the finish line, so we pushed through with all of our remaining power, reached the top of the gigantic hill, and began our downhill journey to the campsite! We rode down some dirt trails (with one flat tire repaired by Mr. Aseltine) and roads next to small farms, and our Huskies finally made it to the Tsukigata Campsite!
We ended up arriving later than we had expected, but everything was okay! We checked in, parked our bikes, and unloaded tents and sleeping bags from the school van. Many of us struggled to put up our tents, but we helped each other out, and everyone managed to set up their tents. We ate lunch, took naps, and chilled for a few hours until dinner time. For dinner, we split up into groups and made different foods. One group made beef burritos, another made curry, and the other made shrimp fried rice. After making dinner and eating, we all slept to get enough energy for the ride back.
The next morning everyone got up, made breakfast, ate, and got ready for the trip back to HIS. The ride back to HIS was more straightforward than the ride to Dōminomori, and a lot of it was downhill, but we were exhausted from the bike to Dōminomori, so many of us felt weak. However, we tried our best and finally returned to our home, HIS, around noon. It was a tough trip, but it was all worth it as we created stronger bonds with each other and returned home stronger.
While this final overnight ride concludes the first chapter of our club, we hope more will be written in the future, leading to a story of growth, determination, and many more happy trails.
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