Teramachi Dori - literally "temple town" - is an eclectic mix of old book shops, clothing stores aimed at the very young, galleries, and touristy knicknack places.
The best stretch is north of this block, across Oike Dori beyond City Hall on the way to the Imperial Palace.
It is not enclosed, and much quieter. Antique shops and cafes and trees line the street from Nijo up to Marutamachi.
The section pictured here is looking south towards Sanjo south of Oike. From here all the way to Shijo, the street is an arcade - and cycling is verboten except between midnight and 10 am.
At that time, cyclists are free to terrorize the pigeons and drunks that are out and about.
However, north of Sanjo, if you ride very slowly and carefully - basically at walking speed - the cops don't seem to mind. (South of that and the street is too crowded to ride.)
Along this stretch are a great frame shop, high end stationery store, a few galleries, a used book shop, and other interesting places.
And, in keeping with its name, there are indeed temples. If you flew over or were to look at a map, the amount of real estate in downtown Kyoto given over to temples is impressive.
At the corner of Oike - Teramachi is the most historically significant of them: Honnoji Temple. Honnoji Temple is where Oda Nobunaga died.
In 1582, the shogun was attacked at the temple, and then forced to commit ritual suicide.
Something to keep in mind as you walk your cross bike slowly by the entrance.