Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day -1B: Haneda to Izumi

Izumi is one of Kagoshima Prefecture’s–and Japan’s, for that matter–little gems.

This little town in the heart of what was the Choshu domain that would usher Japan into the modern world from the latter half of the 19th century now markets itself largely around the tens of thousands of cranes that migrate there during the colder months.

But Izumi also has plenty of history, including a district of samurai houses, and wonderful natural surrounds.

Enough of the tourist stuff, though, because Izumi is the start of the Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto run by the indefatigable Japan Biking and Pedal Pedal Bicycle Tours.

Kangaeroo has worked the tour before and never really made it quickly from Kagoshima Airport to Izumi, a journey of about 60 km mostly over a mountain range.

Checking out the distance and time and comparing them with past trips, it seemed the same would be likely again. But Brommie was quickly unpacked, luggage repositioned to place weight on the front of the bike instead of the rear, and we were off.

The ride is a gorgeous one, mostly along National Routes 504 and 328. It starts with undulations among paddy fields ready for harvesting, then moves into the mountains.

Kanageroo arrived safely, losing only a bottle cage screw and camera battery failing. An overly hot onsen bath almost proved disastrous until Coke saved the day.

Brommie performed superbly despite not being made for the mountains (like the sexagenarian riding him). The trip ended with a glorious descent and the day was completed by dropping into the futon like a rock.

Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day 0: Izumi

Brommie in Izumi

Participants rolled in, bike fittings are over, the briefing dinner is done and all are off to bed to ready themselves for the real ride, starting tomorrow.

People assembled from across Australia, but mostly Sydney, to take part in the trip.

The journey will start from Izumi, traverse Kyushu, head over and across Shikoku before meandering its way though the Kansai region to the ancient capital of Kyoto.

Let’s have an awesome trip!

Tour de Kagoshima-Kyoto Day -1A: Tama Hills to Haneda

Mount Fuji overlooks the Tama River in Kawasaki

Kangaeroo started a epic journey on the morning of September 29.

Leaving the United States Air Force Tama Hills Recreation Reserve in Inagi, Kangaeroo hit the Tamagawa Cycling Road.

The bike track follows the Tama River to its mouth at Tokyo Bay, leading directly to Haneda Airport.

From Haneda, it was a several-hour wait before heading to Kagoshima on the wonderful Solaseed Air, which was cheap and efficient.

Brommie was packed into a bag with an assortment of items and the trip ended safely. 

The day started a Tama Hills Recreation Center, which had once been an arsenal for the Imperial Japanese Army. Covered by a canopy, the arsenal was never discovered by Allied forces during World War II and parts remain unchanged to this day, creating a preserved forest less than 30 minutes from central Tokyo.

CHAMPIONS! Tigers Premiers 2019 as Dimma’s Dynasty Does us Proud

Richmond had its greatest-ever Grand Final-winning margin, smashing the Greater Western Sydney Giants by a whopping 89 points, winning 114-25.

The Tigers overcame an injury-riddled season to demolish their closest rivals and establish a powerful dynasty.

Dustin Martin won the Norm Smith Medal for being the best player on the ground, his second medal following on from his win in 2017, when the Tigers ended a 37-year premiership drought.

Damien “Dimma” Hardwick’s Dynasty, you’ve done us proud.

Eat ‘Em Alive!

Richmond Football Club takes on the Greater Western Sydney Football Club in the Australian Football League 2019 Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on the afternoon of September 28.

The Tigers enter the game as a slight favorite against the league’s youngest club, which is playing in the Grand Final for the first time ever.

The Giants are the league’s Baby Frankenstein, having received hundreds of millions of dollars since league headquarters formed the team in 2010 to tap into one of Australia’s fastest-growing urban areas and to add another match to make broadcast rights more attractive to bidders.

Richmond makes the Grand Final despite having been plagued by long-term injuries to key players throughout the season. They will go into the game knowing that the last time these two teams met, the Tigers walked away victors at the MCG, a ground where they have won 34 of their last 38 matches.

The Giants have been brilliant throughout the finals series, winning their way through to the championship game by defeating highly favored opponents in the Western Bulldogs, Brisbane Lions and Collingwood Magpies along the way. They also add some mongrel and talent with stars Lachie Whitfield and Toby Greene coming back into the team. If they fire, things might get tough for the Tiges.

Greene will be refreshed, having sat out the previous week’s final against Collingwood after the tribunal (whose composition is two-thirds former Collingwood players) suspended him for a trivial infarction he denied committing, but probably paid the price for a season filled with a litany of unpunished offenses. is a lifelong supporter of the Tigers and, borrowing a turn of phrase from our aMerkin brethren, expects them to become the world champions of Australian football for 2019 by reducing the Giants to size.

Eat ’em alive, Tigers!

Australia’s Rohan Dennis Retains World Time-Trial Championship Title

Australia’s Rohan Dennis retained his UCI Road World Championships Men’s Time Trial title with a blistering win in Yorkshire, England.

Dennis was racing for the first time since his sudden withdrawal during Stage 12 of the Tour de France in July.

Few expected the reigning champion to defend his title, but Dennis averaged 49.7 km/h over the 54 km course to win by more than 1 minute over his closest rival.

“It’s been a long route to get here since July,” Dennis told a news conference. “There are a lot of people to thank. It’s not just been tough for me, it’s been tough for them too. It’s really special to back up this year and come here in the best possible shape to defend this title and show that I haven’t hung up the bike.

Dennis is Australia’s second multiple time trial world champion. Mick Rogers was a three-time winner from 2003-2005.

Oz Has a Purr-fectly Good Map of Australia On Her Snout

Oz is a 5-year-old cat with a unique characteristic that makes her purr-fectly pertinent for news about Australia.

This peculiar pussy’s special snout is adorned with an amazingly accurate map of Australia!

Incredibly, Oz is from Australia.

The Oriental Longhair breed first made news when she was shown at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney a few years back.

Lucky for Oz that her unique markings clearly resembled Australia.

When it comes to Down Under-related cartography, be particularly careful when it comes to the Map of Tassie, which has an entirely different meaning to what it suggests, but considering Oz, at least maintains the pussy connection.