April 29, at various times throughout the afternoon and evening and after an unusually warm day and near perfect weather, bikes and riders rolled up to the Japan Sea coast after riding 500+ km of great roads across the interior of Honshu. All their tyres were well rounded, the brake pads thinner, seats polished and the riders road weary but satisfied.

In all, there were 81 of us out there twisting, carving and seeking roads that day. A good number and a sign that the last few years are in the rear view mirrors.

Congratulations to the 23 new Twistybutts. Hope you had a blast and it’s lit a fire in you for more great twisty riding.

Thank you to all you Twistybutts for riding well and enjoying yourselves. You now know your bike, the roads and your own skills better for it. Keep up the ride time and challenging roads and let’s ride coast to coast again next year!

Sun’s up & the Twistybutts were ready to ride!
Terrier Awards go to The Magnificent Seven!
Rumble Pack award goes to this crew and its multi-generational Ducati symphony thrumming through the valleys. How many were there in your pack this year, 17? Well done riders!
Great to see some old stickers with the new from regular Twistybutts.

When you’ve been dreaming of blue skies and rounding rubber for several months and you see the weather news forecasting rain.

Remain calm, realise it’s currently at 60% chance of rain as it has been this far out on probably 60% of previous Coast to Coast Twistybutts and that there are several different weather zones of which we should hope to find ever better riding just over the ridge.

On Sunday, there were spits on the visor in Odawara and by the coast…

But over the ridge into Gotemba and the clouds were localised to the west…

By Nagano, it was picture perfect.

So, best not be taking the forecasts too seriously or jumping to tragedies just yet. It’s still early days.

Best save your focus and optimism for the omnipotent guardians and enablers of the Roadwarrior, the Weather Gods!

Let’s have copious offerings and boisterous praise and pleads. Fire, chant, break stuff, masks.. no freaky monstrosity style ones and song with sacrifice… Whatever gets it done for you!

Now’s the time to prep, be realistic, keep researching the route and making sure you are ready and the Weather Gods will be with us. 🤞

Sticking with maintaining a low stress rider to enjoy the road more on a long and challenging ride, let’s look at 20 basics a lot of Twistybutts utelise.

  • Earplugs – great fatigue fighter.
  • Cold, mid and warm gloves. Waterproof helps immensely.
  • Stick on hotpacks – if you haven’t got wired heat this is gold. Or if you get cold knees and toes.
  • Proven wet weather protection. How many mountain passes are we doing and what do we find on mountain tops? Fog, clouds and rain.
  • Eye drops – Ahhh…
  • Lip balm – pucker up. 😂
  • Good layering from base to mid to over and outer shell, without being constricted or having to walk like an Apollo astronaut.
  • Screen cleaning kit – group leaders catch the bugs and all the others catch the mud n dust.
  • Baby / Wet wipes…not all of us are perfect at pinching off a loaf. 😉
  • Extra socks and underwear – if you can dry out at lunch, why not. Besides, you may shit yourself at some point.
  • Dark & clear visors if you don’t have an internal sunshield. Quite dangerous doing those final twisties tired, in the dark and almost blinded by a dark visor.
  • A few microfibre cloths – so many uses!
  • A quality hydrating drink – OS-1 is a good one
  • Energy snacks,.. not peaky sugar.
  • A mild painkiller – just in case…
  • Bandaid power pads – stops the bleed, seals it and starts to heal while you ride!
  • Lozenges – Avoids a dry hoarse throat, especially if you are using intercoms all day. Gum & helmet cheekpads, ouch!
  • Sunscreen – no one likes a redneck
  • Music – pick your songs carefully. 😉
  • SLEEP – last but probably most important. Get surplus sleep three or four nights before hand and try going to bed earlier in prep for maximising Friday night’s final sleep

The Coast to Coast is a long day with a huge variety of roads and weather conditions. To maintain energy and concentration, it helps to minimise stress and maximise enjoyment. Makes sense right? So how can we do that?

Knowing the route so you can enjoy the road helps.

Ever year many riders start out on the wrong foot by not knowing the route well enough, especially new entrants. Some don’t even make it 10km without getting lost, discovering their chosen method of navigation doesn’t work as they thought or missing a turn and getting disorientated.

With only one week to go, if you haven’t test ridden the route from the start to Gotemba or Yamanakako, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Get out there this weekend for a few hours and make your mistakes before the big day.

The route linked below is a good step by step for the first enjoyable road on the 500 course that will take you to your first touge, Ashigara Highway. There’s a nice view from the top too. Recommend loading it up on Google maps, trying not to look at your device and just watch the corners and landmarks.


Just a reminder for new comers that we start at around 4:55am – Sunrise!

Traditionally we do a quick gather and kick off talk at sunset and then everyone filters out when they are ready.

Please don’t expect people with sticks guiding you to your parking or race queens strutting around for photos. Do expect Twistybutts catching up with each other and plenty of pre-ride excitement.

* SPECIAL NOTE FOR ALL: This year we are starting by a major road. By mindful of that. There is ample parking both sides of the road, use it. There’s also a crosswalk, use it.

So, sun’s up at @5am and sets around @6:30pm. That gives us 13hrs of sunlight to ride in. Some inevitably arrive in the dark for the start and the finish and that’s fine. Just remember to enjoy the ride and watch the road carefully.
The perfect finish!

Here’s the traditional photo location for that magic sunset. https://maps.app.goo.gl/VqjEAEdpAFopMvaF6

It’s a long ride and plenty of riders get seperated from their friend or group of friends at some point resulting in a stop to call and arrange a meeting point. It’s half the fun for some…

If that’s not your idea of fun, like me, you may want to try Google Maps location sharing. You can share with specific people who have google accounts if you’d like to keep some privacy or go full public and let it all hang out. 😂

In either case, as long as you and your fellow road warriors have a network connection, it updates fast and precisely, letting you all know where each of you are and if you do go off grid, it says where you last were and how long ago.

It’s also a good one to share with loved ones not on the ride…just in case.

There are plenty of online tutorials on how best to set it up. If you can navigate Coast to Coast, you oughta be able to figure this one out on your own too.

I’ve been using this for several years and it works. So, if you want to take the guess work out of where your friends are on the ride, maybe give this one a go.

This loop has sent many riders loopy! https://maps.app.goo.gl/g4SE9dPpGhHKqGwM9

Tsumagoi Panorama Line is a magic wide open picturesque winding and undulating road through north-western Gunma high country farmlands.

The Manza Highway is a fun rubber rounder that runs from Tsumagoi upto the often snow caked Manza hotspring area and provides a convenient back door to the epic 292 Shiga-Kusatsu Road, avoiding the tourists and traffic of Kusatsu.

Although it may look like these two roads intersect on maps, zoom right in and you’ll see that the Manza Highway flies over the Tsumagoi Panorama Line via a bridge.

Have a look. https://maps.app.goo.gl/UpX6YHkqoJTqqqSm8

Due to that, your navigation device of choice is going to follow a loop to link up these two great roads.

When you see this, you are on course. Just keep on riding.

So, when looking at your navigation map with route lines seemingly all over the place, don’t let fatigue befuddle your logic, which is easy to do at this stage of the ride. Just remember this section and stay on the Tsumagoi Panorama Line until you reach the T-junction at Rt.59 and turn right.

Oh, and when you get to the one and only toll gate on the whole route up there on the Manza Highway, do yourself a favour and check the weather up on the 292. It’s best to add layers or switch gloves there as there are few opportunities to pull off on the Manza Highway as it climbs @600 metres in @15 kilometres and can get cold fast!

The loopy loop…

Take a look at the Bridgestone pictured.

36hrs prior, the wear indicators denoting safe water dispersion and roadworthiness were seemingly adequate for a day ride.

The Coast to Coast Twistybutt is not a normal day ride. Then there’s the ride home… Snow melt, numerous weather zones possibly with rain, punctures…

Best take a good look at brake pads, fluid, oil, coolant, chain and battery while we are at it. Do you have a puncture repair kit? A lot of those roads are no place for bike troubles. Best be prepared and leave the worry at home and just enjoy the ride.

So, how’s your rubber looking?

After a decent day of bike prep, did a little shakedown and time check to the start. 40 minutes at a leisurely pace.
How’s everyone’s prep going?
The moonrise was something special.
Plenty of Twistybutts are staying near the start this year but we’ll all get around five extra minutes of twisties running down the coast under the dawn sky to the start. Make sure to adjust your schedule and enjoy that magic time of the day to twist.
A couple of corners further down the coast is a 24hr convenience store for anyone who needs food or supplies.

Not long to go now…

There are plenty of challenging roads on the Coast to Coast Twistybutt. From cliff hangers to narrow dirty roads to finger freezers.

But only one road on the C2C has taken three riders down. It’s not super fast, off camber or strewn with dirt, nor does it have dopy deer or blind cresting corners.

What it does have is the wear and tear of hard cold winters with dips, bumps and snow cracks filled with big long fat tar snakes that get hard and slippery when cold.

Doesn’t help that most riders run it around 6-7 hours into the ride, fatigued just before lunch. ALSO, it’s the downhill run from the second highest road on the route and has some nice scenery and straights at the top to lull you into tourist riding instead of tar snake dodging.

It’s the Marchen Road on the 500 course. Pronounced Meruhen kaido or メルヘン かいど。It’s on the western leg of the lengthy 299 running all the way to Western Tokyo.


So, for all you 500 runners, STAY ALERT, read the road, SLOW DOWN and give this piece of road the RESPECT it deserves, even if it doesn’t look that nasty.

Japan’s highest national road running up over the mountains bordering Gunma and Nagano prefectures which is also a chilly highlight on our C2C route is set to open April 26th this year.

Highest Point of Japan’s National Routes

Oldhand Twistybutts will remember it being closed to volcanic activity in the past. Let’s hope it doesn’t act up again.

Last year, it opened earlier due to less snow.

Hopefully we’ll get to see the giant snow walls again this year. 🤞

Stickers are ready!

One for each rider will be handed out to all riders on the day at the start point. Make sure you get one and stick it on the back of your helmet so other riders know another Twistybutt when they’re following one!

Second and/or third stickers are available for those donating to the Touge Express route exploration fund…help put a few, or several, litres in the tank. ☺

Not sure how popular multiple stickers are going to be so best let me know in advance if you’ll be needing more than one.  touge.express@gmail.com

Eyeing a new start location right on the coast with a great view and ample space. Will announce details if it fits. For those booked close to the usual start, don’t worry, it’s not far away and a nice ride there.

Looking forward to seeing all the Twistybutts old new and otherwise on the road again in spring!

Sign up here:

Exact details as to start location and routes will be announced at a later date.

Hotel of choice in Joetsu is the Monzen no Yu. When that’s full, the Sun Plaza Joetsu.

Check for general info here:

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