Death to Brakepads!
There’s a road in Shikoku which absolutely beggars belief.
It leads from the ocean to Konomineji Temple, and the 3.4 kilometre road has an average gradient of 18.5%.
Towards the top, a single 1.3 kilometre section climbs almost 300 metres – that’s a 23% gradient snaking upwards including a number of curves with over 30 degree slopes!
Going up is incredibly difficult – a strain for engine power, and almost impossible by bike (my mode of transport). However the main danger is coming back down. The constant braking required to avoid gathering too much speed heats one’s brakepads to an incredible temperature. On a bike, the pads are literally in danger of melting away.
The smell of burning rubber when I headed downhill was overpowering within the first minute. I had to walk the entire way with the bike – over 3km of slope all the while desperately holding it back to avoid gravity tearing it away. It was seriously treacherous stuff.
And no, I didn’t tilt the camera!