Author: Kangaeroo

Not Everything About Winter is Cruddy

Winter sucks….for the most part.

Winter is cold, dark and seemingly endless and colorless.

For someone whose daily routine involves rising early and cycling, winter is not exactly the pleasantest time of year.

And the cold mornings start from November and linger on until deeply into April at least, and sometimes even May, so more often than not, it’s chilly at least.

January ends today, so on the calendar the winter doesn’t have much more time to eat away at us.

Winter can’t end soon enough for the Aussie garden at Kangaeroo Coven.

Many of the plants are feeling the pinch, most notably the jacaranda, whose leaves have turned brown and brittle and seem likely to drop over the coming weeks.

Yet, it’s not like winter is all bad.

Kangaeroo’s dad always used to point out that the winter and lack of leaves on trees allowed more light to shine through.

Fair enough (despite the days being so short).

And the skies are often crisp and clear, at least in Tokyo.

This can create some wonderful sunrises, too.

For Kangaeroo, one of the features is the birds.

Lots of birds partake of the waters at Kangaeroo Coven.

The birdbath and its solar-powered super fountain (so named because of its amazing capacity to continue working despite being cheap and shoddy) attract avian life.

Waiting for the birds to come and have a drink is a morning highlight in winter.

And there are some real beauties to be seen.

Calamity Free Ride!

After several days featuring a series of stumbles, fumbles, bumps and bruises, it was fantastic to finally have an early morning ride that went without a calamity.

Sort of.

Riding La Cangura much slower and more cautiously than usual, the morning ride went without a hitch.

There were many fears that the guy I crashed into on Friday would hit me up for damages caused in the crash.

I think our paths crossed, but no words were exchanged (and no trouble occurred).

Of course, it’s still early in the day, so there’s plenty of time left over for it to be a shocker.

Having had a tough time late on Friday night, the pit in my stomach is being widened with the impending sense of doom.

Wahoo for Wahoo, and Thanks Y’s Road Lads

Further to the weekend’s bike device calamities, Saturday’s mess turned into a much better Sunday.

Saturday was supposed to be a day for getting the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt repaired.

But an untimely drop in front of a couple of passing cars resulted in the device being utterly destroyed.

Already worrying too much about too many things, Kangaeroo knew that pondering was not an option and a planned tough ride on Sunday would need guidance.

Moreover, Mrs. Kangaeroo had gone to work and forgotten her mobile phone, so rather than asking for permission, actions would have to be apologized for, which is always the better option both in Japan and in marriage.

So, Kangaeroo bought a new Wahoo Elemnt Bolt. In color!

Everything was perfect. Had to go to Ueno to collect some glasses being repaired, and Y’S Road Ueno Asazo was selling the devices just a couple of hundred meters away.

The price was steep at over 48,000 yen, but not as steep as the enormity of not knowing where to go.

So, out came the plastic, the eyes closed, the bill could wait and the afternoon was spent in a Maccas charging up the new Wahoo and reading the manual.

Everything was perfect. Until Sunday morning came and it was time to write a blog entry about the previous day’s events.

Writing the entry required looking up Y’s Road and Elemnt Bolt. And in doing so, I discovered that the same bloody device I had spent 48,000 yen on the previous day was now part of a time sale and selling for just 35,500 yen. A full day’s pay cheaper.

Bloody hell. I wanted to cry.

I had arranged a visit to Y’s Road Fuchu Tamagawa anyway to collect bar mitts that I had forgotten while La Cangura was being repaired on Friday, so I packed up the Elemnt Bolt and took it with me.

I got to the store and asked if I could make a return, explaining that I wanted to buy the device, but at the price is was being sold online, not the price that I had paid for it.

The lads were sympathetic, but pointed out that I couldn’t do it as I had made the purchase by card at another store, which was on a different system to theirs.

I’d kinda figured this would be what happened, so turned my attention to booking an appointment for repairs to the Death Machine.

Well, as I was doing so, Sato-san at the store contacted Takatsuka-san at Y’s Road Ueno Asoza, where I had bought the device, and explained my situation.

The Y’s Road lads agreed that I would be able to get the device at the cheaper online price, provided I hurried to the store where I had bought it and went through the refund process before all available devices were sold.

Well, I needed no further prompting. I finished all the errands that needed being done, raced home for lunch, sent the wife off to work and put the bird to bed.

Then, it was onto the Brommie and off to Ueno. I eventually made it to Y’s Road Ueno Asoza, and Takatsukua-san was there waiting for me.

We went through the rigmarole of canceling yesterday’s purchase, refunding me, then rebuying the Wahoo. I could not express my gratitude enough to the guys from Y’s Road and the effort they had made on my behalf, and the kindness with which they treated the case.

Everything worked perfectly!

It was then back on the Brommie and home again.

All went smoothly, with a delightful dinner and great pleasure at having saved so much money. A warm glow filled my heart, together with the sense that my wretched luck of the past couple of years was finally looking to be taking a turn.

Planning to gloat about the situation on this website, I prepared a cup of cocoa to partake while writing. I filled my favorite cup featuring a picture of Hokusai’s The Great Wave of Kanagawa and looked forward to writing.

And then I dropped the bloody cup and broke it, spilling cocoa all over the kitchen walls and floors.

Costly Bloody Crash!

Kangaeroo’s accident this week continued to have reverberations.

Although both Kangaeroo and the bloke he collided with rode away apparently unharmed from their predawn collision, costs have since mounted.

The crash gave greater urgency to updating the chain and gear sprocket on La Cangura, which had been showing signs of wear for a while, and there was also a sneaking suspicion that the gear wire could probably do with replacing.

That proved to be precisely the case with a visit to the Y’s Road bike store later in the day.

The good news was the sprocket and cassette are still in good shape, so I got to get away just replacing the chain and gear wire.

Moreover, the bike shop made the effort to do the repairs on the spot when I had been quite happy to just make an appointment for a fix. I was very grateful.

All seemed good until Saturday morning.

The crash had snapped my Wahoo Elemnt Bolt bike computer mount.

The Bolt is crucial for Kangaeroo, whose sense of direction is so bad fellow cyclists have bestowed the nickname of “Wrongway” on him.

Heading out on Saturday morning to get the computer mount looked at for possible repairs, Kangaeroo noticed it fell off the bike onto the road.

I stopped riding to go back and pick it up only to watch, horrified, as first a tow truck and then a bloody Prius ran over the device.

I ran back and pocketed it, but it was already damaged beyond repair.

Instead of repairs, it ended up with a new purchase.

And that’s a whole new story that shall be continued.

Ouch! Taking a Tamagawa Tumble

「Ouch!」

バカヤロー!」

「ごめんなさい。」

「日本は左通行だよ。バカヤロー!何考えてんかよ?バカヤロー!」

Kangaeroo took a Tama River tumble today and it was entirely his fault.

Taking his normal pre-dawn ride along the Tama River Cycling Road, Kangaeroo caught a glimpse of an oncoming runner just late enough to be able to swerve away from her and avoid striking her….

….only to slam straight into another cyclist coming from the opposite direction.

The immediate aftermath was the aforementioned conversation.

It seemed like the other bloke and his bike were OK.

We rode off in opposite directions.

La Cangura is scratched and her wheels wobbly. The Wahoo mount destroyed beyond repair.

Kangaeroo is not too bad, with a sore arm and legs, but not too serious, I hope.

The cause of the crash….Kanageroo’s eyesight is pretty bad. It shouldn’t have happened and wouldn’t have had he concentrated more. Just hope the other bloke is all right.

It’s All Happening Here!

Pushed for time and all other sorts of resources, Kangaeroo was surprised to note this morning that it had been almost 10 days since the last post on the site.

So much has been going on, some of it pretty crucial, that time slipped away.

To borrow a turn of phrase made popular by one-time Australian cricket captain and commentator (and fellow Victorian) Bill Lawry, it’s all happening here.

I guess it’s best to go forward by category.

Among Kangaeroo’s interests over the past year has been the Aussie garden.

A crucial part of that garden is the lawn, traditionally an integral cog in the Australian horticulturalist’s kit (but less so nowadays because of the environmental impact in terms of using up so much water).

Grass tends to go dormant over winter, which means many lawns turn brown.

But so far Kangaeroo has been fortunate enough to maintain a strong shade of green.

Raking has proved to be enormous in that, and keeps the garden looking fresh and alive.

It was a lucky lesson learned, purely by coincidence.

It’s not just the Kangaeroo family and friends who are getting to enjoy the Aussie garden, either.

Plenty of birds are coming to take a look at some of the flower, but especially the bird bath.

Among the visitors have been warbling white-eyes, Japanese tits (get your mind out of the gutter!), brown-earned bulbuls and oriental turtle doves, the avian symbol of the city of Tama.

Outside of the garden, the ruling bird, Dino the Dinosaur, has also played a pretty influential role in goings on at Kangaeroo Coven.

For the past week or so, she has been laying eggs yet again.

This involves her tearing strips of paper incessantly as she frantically seeks to build a nest.

She also gets pretty aggressive.

Dino is normally extremely possessive and clingy, but this falls by the wayside when she lays.

She got so sick, a rescue run to the avian vet was required in the cold and snow last week, only for Dino to become bright and perky immediately upon arriving at the end of the grueling 15-km bike trip through the undulating outskirts of Machida.

It was a delightful relief, to be honest, though Dino is more focused on her eggs at the moment. Except when she’s tearing paper, pooping or eating persimmons.

Mr. and Mrs. Kangaeroo also got a rare chance to spend some time together and headed out for a delightful sushi lunch.

Backed by a handful of GoToEat campaign deals, we could pig out on pricey and delightfully delicious sushi for a grand total of 500 yen in cash.

Cycling has, as always, continued to be a constant in Kanageroo’s life.

So far, Kangaeroo has risen early every morning and headed off into the dark and cold to ride.

One ride, in particular, may pave the way to new horizons, but that matter has yet to be decided, so there will be more on that further down the track, I reckon.

Otherwise, it has been pretty much the same, standard fare, although the Death Machine has played a more active part in cycling so far in 2023.

Kangaeroo feels more at ease on the recumbent and is better able to maneuver it.

Consequently, average speeds are showing a distinct improvement.

Except, of course, when climbing.

Climbing overall has displayed a marked downturn as Kangaeroo continues to pack on the pounds with his overloaded, sugar-heavy diet.

Still not ready to make a change, yet, it seems.

Cold, Wet and Dark

Doesn’t get any more archetypically Monday than today….cold, wet, dark and bleak.

Kangaeroo wasn’t too keen on getting out on the bike with a huge day ahead.

But it was precisely because the day promises to be demanding that dragged him out in the end.

Rain had been forecast, but the prediction was that it would be intermittent and not heavy.

That was exactly what happened.

Rather than hit the dark bike path where many people dress in black and are hard to see at the clearest of times, Kangaeroo decided to stay on the main roads, which were hard enough to navigate in the dark and wet.

Couple of big meetings today, potentially life-changing, and a reunion tonight with old workmates.

Worried sick about the dinosaur: she is due to lay, but producing nothing and sticking to the bottom of her cage. No chance to take her to a vet today, so praying for the best. Will keep an eye peeled, though.