In April 2014 I signed up with the website Warmshowers.org. This site is similar to Couchsurfing but it caters exclusively to people on bicycle tours. Some cities have hundreds of potential hosts, but Kyoto only has a handful and lots of people want to come visit Kyoto.
Since April, I have had a steady stream of people come through. A few have been on amazing adventures cycling around the world, some focused exclusively on Southeast Asia, and some were just on a short holiday to ride around Japan. There were Swiss, French, Spanish, British, Canadian and Polish people. Some were couples, some were individuals, some were friends. Its fun to offer them a floor to crash on (even if its just in my living room and on a small futon mattress), some maps of Kyoto and sightseeing tips, and to take them to my favorite okonomiyaki and ramen restaurants. Most stay for just 1 or 2 nights. Hopefully they get a bit of rest and comfort when they are here and a bit of extra energy to continue their travels. I get to enjoy some company, get some tips about long-distance cycling and get to make new friends.
Many of the cyclists have websites or blogs to document their trips. Here is a small selection of them:
Laura and Tim – UK
Jessica and Alban – France and Switzerland
Karen and Daniel – Germany
Gorka and Arantxa – Spain
Maria and Francois – Spain and France
Franck – France