If nothing else, 2023 sure started far better than the awful year of 2022 did, and eventually led to a wonderful ride focused on a central Tokyo loop.
Just as had happened 12 months ago, Kangaeroo headed off on the first day of the year before the dawn.
Unlike 2022, when sleet and snow had been the order of the day, 2023 was bright and clear, a much more attractive prospect even if it was still equally as cold and dark as it had been the previous annum.
Heading out just after 6 a.m., it seemed there would be ample time to make the 35 km trip to the start of the ride from JR Shinagawa Station at 7:30 a.m.
Getting through the first few clicks at a pace topping 35 km p/h augured well.
But the good weather proved a bane more than a boon in this instance.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of people had braved the pre-dawn cold and dark to head down to the river to watch the year’s first sunrise. It was somewhat moving, and an experience Kangaeroo would have enjoyed taking in more had it not been for the fact that it was threatening to make him late: too tardy to take part in a ride for which he didn’t know or have the route.
After more unexpected hassles, notably construction work that rendered tarmac into a gravel road threatening tires, Kangaeroo was back on track. Fortunately, another HFC member was on the way, too, and kindly guided your writer to the meeting point, arriving just seconds before the latest scheduled departure time.
The ride was fantastic in glorious sunshine and on mostly deserted streets.
Unfortunately, the slow pace of the ride (it is a half-fast cycling club, after all, so there is no room for complaining) and shade from the buildings made it chilly.
Fortunately, the cold and exertions made lunch even more desirable, and quaint Cafe Petticoat Lane in the downtown Tokyo district of Nezu served up a delight. Kangaeroo was so hungry, and the food looked so delightful, he forgot to take a snapshot of the delicious cheese pizza toast dish and banana choco French toast and cuppa. Still, it was good! And the staff did an amazing job considering more than a dozen mostly foreign cyclists lobbed up on their door on the morning of new year’s day and started demanding food!
The ride (very) roughly tracked the Yamanote Line that circles central Tokyo. This year, for the second year in a row, it started and finished in Shinagawa rather than the traditional launching place of Ebisu. It’s a great way to see central Tokyo and discover how easily accessible the world’s largest city really is.
Following the ride, the Half-Faster’s hit a restaurant to quaff some well-earned brews, but there was a caged dinosaur needing some loving at the Kangaeroo Corner, so it was down to the Tama River and back up along the banks to get home and give some attention to the winged princess before she needed to get some beauty sleep to cause more pterror again!
The roughly 120-km ride at a very genteel pace was a lovely, relaxing start to the year.