Sep 4, 2018
Have you ever heard of a Gravity Hill? It's a kind of natural phenomenon when the features of a landscape create an optical illusion. An uphill looks like a downhill due to quirky geography and strange banking on a road.
The first time I encountered a gravity hill was the Electric Brae in Ayreshire, Scotland. My uncle, who lived nearby, took my brother and I on a car ride to experience this strong optical illusion. We were stunned sitting in the car, apparently on a downhill stretch of the road, but rolling up! It's a quirk of the land there and it's quite a strong one.
There are stretches of road all over the world that also present this kind of optical illusion. But could it be that, in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, we've got our own? I think I've found one.
Our much loved Shimizu Park has a winding bit of road that skirts the east side. Many times I've biked along it, heading north-east.
The stretch of road I'm talking about is along the avenue of cherry trees you see on the east side of the park map.
Just past the municipal gymnasium is what appears to be a downhill length of road. But it banks strangely, and although it looks like a downhill, I have to pedal my bike. And there is another 50-70 meters of road on which I don't pedal, but it looks for all the world like I'm on an uphill stretch. The effect isn't that strong. I would guess that, in a car, you might not notice it. But on a bicycle, I find it startling.
Does your town have a weird stretch of road like this one?