Japanese Bike Picnic - Sunday 18th August, noon-4pm

Whitchurch Silk Mill lawn, Winchester Road, Whitchurch, Hampshire RG28 7AL - How to get there & Google Streetview

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Mamachari Bikes are coming to Whitchurch Japanese Bike Picnic!

Mamachari Bikes of London has teamed up with Test Valley Cycling Club to bring you an afternoon of Japanese food, culture and cycling. Mamachari Bikes imports and sells refurbished used bicycles from Japan, and will have 20 or so on display, and on sale. All bikes are fully serviced and come with a 3 month warranty, and every bike sold includes a donation to the Test Valley Cycling Club, to help us put on more events like this.

So what’s happening on the day? 

From noon you are free to bring a picnic, blanket and enjoy the Silk Mill lawn. There will be bikes to test ride and buy, and also a selection of Japanese arts and crafts to see and buy. We will have children's games and Japanese snack food to buy.

So what’s a 'mamachari'? 

The answer is simple. It’s a type of bicycle used all over Japan by young and old, boys and girls, house wives and ‘salary men’ alike. They are designed to get you and your luggage – anything from a shopping bag to a briefcase to a child – from A to B. Functionality, reliability and practicality are king. All have mudguards,stand and a chaincase, most have a front dynamo light and a basket and many have rear carrier racks. You’re not going to win the Tour De France on it but will travel in comfort and style as you go about your daily routine.


Average price for a singlespeed bike is £100-125 and a 3-speed bike ranges from £150-200 depending on specification and condition.

How can a cheap used bike still be high quality?

Mamachari bikes are built to high quality standards - they have to be to get on the roads in Japan. As Japan is largely a maritime nation of apartment-dwellers the bikes need to resist the corrosive elements while being kept outside. Therefore the steel and alloys used are of high quality and while no bike is 100% rust-proof, mamacharis are built to last and look good as they age. These bikes are not made from heavy, cheap, low-quality steel such as those sold by supermarkets or low-end chain bikeshops in the UK.

Mamachari look like Dutch bikes - but cost a lot less. Why?

The basics of human anatomy and how people use bikes for everyday transport are the same in the Netherlands or Denmark as they are in Japan. The Japanese are masters of mass production, and mamachari reflect a practical approach to bicycle manufacture - make them strong enough to last, but don't overbuild what is basically a low-cost tool for living. Good quality 'Dutch' bikes typically cost 3-4 times what a mamachari does new. Are they 3-4 times as useful? No. Will they last 3-4 times as long? No, but then a good quality bike from either nation will last for many decades if well-maintained. Some components such as multiple gears and hub brakes/dynamos found on expensive Dutch bikes do cost more, but most people either don't need them or won't notice the difference.

Types of bike

There are 3 basic types of mamachari and several wheel sizes, although we only offer 2 sizes: 26” and 27”. The first type is commonly referred to as a ‘straight’ bike. These bikes have a ‘straight’ handlebar much like the type found on most hybrid bikes in the UK. They have a sidestand, 1 or 3 gears and are generally considered the more ‘sporty’ mamachari. The next is called a ‘curve’ bike and has a much more upright riding position, a swept back handlebar, a centre stand and a rear carrier rack. The third type is much the same as the ‘curve’ type but has a child seat integrated into the front of the bike. Because the bike is designed around the seat there are many advantages over standard ‘bolt on’ front seats available in the UK. First, the centre of gravity is lowered making it safer and stable and the weight of the seat is taken directly on the middle of the handlebar. This makes the bike steer much more naturally than with a front seat bolted on behind the bar. Because the seat is further forward too, there is more room for the rider and the rider’s legs. The main bar of the frame is very low making it easier to get on and off safely. It is also possible to carry another child on the rear of the bicycle  - truly the station wagon of bicycles!

Note: the 'Super mamachari' bike shown above can come with or without the new Yepp rear seat - cost with the rear seat included is £450, without rear seat: £350. As your child grows the rear seat can always be added later, and shifted to another bike easily.

S Selection Pink Singlespeed, 26" Wheels, Shimano rear roller brake, Front dynamo light     CBA Design Alouette, 27" Wheels, Shimano Nexus 3 speed gears, Alloy frame, Front dynamo light


The two main sizes of bicycle we import are 26” and 27”. Generally the 26” bikes are suitable for riders from 140cm – 170cm (4’7”- 5’6”) and 27” from 150cm – 180cm (4’9”- 5’10”). There are of course variations in frame size within the wheel sizes so we supply a range of bikes to cover all sizes of rider. We will of course help you find the right size and type of bike for you.

Bridgestone Subnade Sport, 27" wheels, Alloy frame, 6 speed gears, Nakano Air Hubs (self-inflating tyres), Front dynamo light Miyata Alumi Shift 4, 27" Wheels, Shimano 4 speed hubgear, Alloy /steel mix frame, Front dynamo light


Typical specs and price are as follows - bear in mind that the lower price is for poor cosmetic condition and the higher, better condition.

Curve or straight handlebar, steel frame, tyre dynamo, singlespeed £100-125
Curve or straight handlebar, steel frame, hub dynamo, singlespeed £125-150
Curve or straight handlebar, steel frame, tyre dynamo, 3 speed £150-175
Curve or straight handlebar, steel frame, hub dynamo, 3 speed £175-185
Curve or straight handlebar, alloy frame, tyre dynamo, singlespeed (usually belt drive) £125-150
Curve or straight handlebar, alloy frame, tyre dynamo, 3 speed £175-200
Curve or straight handlebar, alloy frame, hub dynamo, 3 speed (quite often belt drive) £200-225

Finbro Singlespeed, 27" Wheels, Front dynamo light Bridgestone Albelt 27" Shimano Nexus 3 speed, alloy frame, belt drive, Shimano hub dynamo

On the day

We will have approximately 20 bikes on show for test ride and for sale. You will be able to find out about each bike and take a test ride whether you are interested in buying a bicycle or just curious about them. We will have a range of useful parts and accessories available and there will be someone on hand to advise you and fit any parts to your new (or old) bicycle.

At the end of the day there will be an organized ride around the area and if you need a bicycle to do the ride but are not sure about buying one you can leave a fully refundable deposit to the value of the bike and take one of ours! (Subject to availability). There is a small rental fee of £3 to cover wear and tear.