My friend Tatsuya from Tokyo sent me a package of goodies. He organises the long running Mixpression fixie courier race and trick events there. I met him 2 years ago while I was working for Red Bull in Japan. We sponsor the Mixpression events which have been getting pretty big. Mixpression 9 had over 100 riders in the race section a few weeks ago. Tatsuya san also runs Tokyo Messenger Service which is the coolest courier business in the Tokyo prefectures. www.tokyomessenger.com
Alleycat races and fixie riding in general have blown up in Japan. But new laws banning riding without brakes are pretty strictly enforced and races are frowned upon so getting permission and council consent is near impossible. Tatsuya and his crew still manage really well and are incredibly well organised and have a pretty big group verging on being a federation. To get around the laws some riders have a single brake or often a ‘phantom’ brake lever not hooked up and sometimes under the top tube so it doesn’t get in the way. One of the reasons they brought in the law was 2 keirin racers were killed riding brakeless on the streets. Usually if keirin racers train on roads they draft behind 1 or 2 trainers on either braked bikes or motorbikes. On that occasion they had gone out themselves and got T boned by a car. Keirin racers I would presume are not too used to slowing down.