Stumbling Spectacularly

Following yesterday’s lousy weather that curtailed almost all cycling, today shone bright as an opportunity to get back onto the bike.

While the pre-dawn was icy cold, it also showed a glow that suggested the sunrise was going to be a glorious one.

After a series of stumbles that included breaking a coffee cup celebrating the 2017 premiership victory by the Richmond Football Club and forgetting all sorts of thing, Kangaeroo could finally head off.

Wind was debilitating again, as it tends to be in spring. The wind swirls, so just when it seems unbearable, there can often be an uplifting tailwind, so it’s not all bad.

Nonetheless, today’s wind came head on and made for tough riding.

But making it to the Tama River brought wonderful rewards in the form of a brilliant sunrise, highlighted by the presence of many clouds in the sky.

It is an ill wind that brings no good, indeed, as the blustery conditions of the morning ensuring that nicer weather would be ushered in.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

April in Tokyo can get wet, but it can also be warm and dry.

Unfortunately, today it’s the former.

On the upside that means more photo opportunities and a slower pace to enjoy riding.

Make no mistake, though, April is when spring really starts to, well, blossom in the Japanese capital.

Not far from Kangaeroo’s home is the delightful Yakushiike Park.

The park has some delightful archetypically Japanese scenes, with the crooked bridge over a pond, terraced rice paddies and beautifully manicured gardens.

Flowers and new greenery sprout everywhere and days are longer and generally warmer.

Then there’s the wind.

Cherry blossoms in Japan are world-renowned for their beauty, but there are plenty of other delightful flowers to see in this season, too.

It also has a section of wisteria of different colors growing through trellises and looking absolutely delightful. The wisteria hadn’t bloomed yet, but that didn’t stop the rest of the park looking delightful, even in the torrid rain.

Strange Days, Indeed

There have been better days than today, but this one is up there for peculiarity (in a minor sort of way).

The morning ride was nice in spite of tiredness that became increasingly more obvious the more Kangaeroo rode. Not helping was having woken before 3 a.m. again and not being able to get back to sleep.

Sunrise was spectacular, but fleeting, and didn’t really make for the nicest of photos. Still, it is a wonderful time of the year in Tokyo.

Following a morning meeting, there was enough time left before work started to nick over to Costco to pick up some emergency supplies.

But it was surprise that resulted as Kangaeroo arrived to find that the store wouldn’t open for another hour.

Costco came at lunchtime instead.

Most of the afternoon was spent waiting to be given work and looking after the lovebird.

Cheating Death!

Kangaeroo recently added a recumbent bike to his collection.

A recumbent has long been part of the Kangaeroo dream.

When Kangaeroo started cycling, he often shared his commute through suburban Tokyo with a seasoned Kiwi cyclist called John.

Kangaeroo was a rookie (and still is, really), but John had been riding for decades, and often shared his knowledge and experience.

This went on for about a year. Kangaeroo came to appreciate and admire John as he put into practice the advice he had been given.

One day, John turned up riding a bike where he was lying down. Kangaeroo immediately wanted to mimic him.

But John worked in finance and money was no problem.

Recumbent bikes are pricey.

And they were out of Kanageroo’s league.

Years went by.

Early this year, a Facebook post arose, offering to sell a recumbent at a price that Kangaeroo could afford.

Only trouble was, the bike was on sale in Nagoya.

Kangaeroo jumped on a night bus, headed to Nagoya and pocketed the bike before anybody else could get it.

The plan was to spend the weekend riding the recumbent back to Tokyo.

It would be a cinch! Except, it was almost impossible to ride the bike.

It was a front-wheel drive and every time Kangaeroo tried to pedal, he’d fall off the bike. The planned nickname of Lay Down Sally soon gave way to the Death Machine upon realization that riding this bicycle would be an invitation to a premature death.

Quick change of plans and it was disassemble the bike and head back to Tokyo.

Unfortunately, unprepared for rail travel, Kangaeroo lacked the mandatory bike bag and the velo was a mess by the time he made it home.

What’s more, the chain broke, parts got lost and the seller had no idea of the brand of the bike to try to track down anything.

Fortunately, Google soon came up with answers. After a few weeks of discussion with the manufacturer overseas, and pleading for help from the local bike store, the recumbent was ready to ride (and the associated costs meant it would have been cheaper and easier to buy an expensive new bike…)

The problem of being able to ride it remained, though.

Weeks of using spare moments of free time finally built up enough confidence to ride on a cycling track.

One cycling track ride was enough to inspire confidence to try out a longer ride.

And that ride finally happened!

And it went perfectly…except for getting lost, but that’s another story.

Thank God for Diet Coke!

This week, Kangaeroo was granted the dubious pleasure of eating a glazed donut hamburger.

The photo deserves to be listed as full size to stand as testimony to its likelihood of clogging arteries, even among those who haven’t eaten it.

This was the Luther Burger, which sells for an equally artery-clutching 1,600 yen. Days after eating it and it is still hard to tell whether it was worth it.

Another serving was a burger dripping with melted cheese, also for 1,600 yen.

Kangaeroo and a mate bought one eat, cut ’em in half and share the dishes.

Kangaeroo also washed down the burgers with a delightful chocolate and banana milkshake.

Crane in Sotokanda, Tokyo, served the dishes. It’s well worth a visit to the restaurant even if only to gorge on the decadence of southern American cuisine (?).

Staff at the restaurant were kind, welcoming, friendly and helpful. Most importantly, perhaps, they were flexible, allowing us to split meals and helping set up photo shoots.

Ideal Workday Weather

Today is bleak.

Weather is debilitating.

It’s drizzling, bleak, wet and cold.

Perfect for work … if you have to work indoors. (Not too good for those who earn a living outside, though)

It’s too wet to ride, to do much outside to be honest, but not wet enough to fully rule out any activities under the skies.

This kind of weather does my head in.

Kangaeroo has also just switched employers, so there is a massive amount of stress and the fear of the unknown.

Transition is not moving altogether smoothly, either.

One bonus of not being able to ride was getting to take a walk.

And Kangaeroo is fortunate enough to be able to live in a neighborhood.

The area is remarkably beautiful and relatively untouched considering its proximity to central Tokyo and the suburban sprawl of the world’s largest city.

Add to that the new greenery and the rain, and it made for an outstanding stroll.

It won’t last much longer, but it is certainly enjoyable while it lasts.

Warm Weekend

This spring has been uneasonably warm.

Though only the first weekend in April, the cherry blossom season in Tokyo is over.

Normally, it is only just starting.

It was a tumultuous week for Kangaeroo, as mentioned in the previous post, but continuing over the weekend.

All sorts of stuff happened, punctuated by a couple of really long rides.

Fucken knackered!