Tag: cycling

Shattered! Bye-Bye Belladonna

Beautiful Belladonna

Calling Belladonna the love of my life would be going a bit too far.

But only a tiny smidgen.

And she is waaaay up there.

But, the beautiful Belladonna is gone.

A cracked frame means this carbon bike is now an accident waiting to happen.

She is irreparable.

And it happened the very day after finally being given an all-clear to ride again following illness and injury that have been another plague to cope with since January.

Despondent is not the word.

But I cannot thank this beautiful bike enough for the sheer, unadulterated joys she gave me.

She has made it hard to ride another bike, though.

But, it’s a great chance to grow and learn.

My deepest thanks go out to JD for enabling Belladonna to come into my life.

Enough Of The Cold, Already!

May weather is generally the best of the year in Tokyo, by Kangaeroo’s reckoning, and though it looks like it’s gonna shape that way, it would be nice to say “bye” to the cold until at least the late autumn.

The first weekday of May greeted early risers with a delightful sunrise over the Tama River.

Rain started falling around midday the previous day, rendering riding as a bit too tough.,

The rain persisted overnight and into the early hours of the morning.

The forecast was for the weather to clear and become sunny by the end of the day.

Roads were still wet and slippery, though, so care was required.

This is a strange day, being a one-off work day in the middle of a period of potentially close to two weeks’ off for some.

Unfortunately, Kangaeroo has to work, which meant waking in a downbeat mood.

Nature had a nice way of making the early rise worthwhile, though.

And Belladonna appreciated the morning, too.

She certainly got the chance to look resplendent.

And put on a fine show.

The outlook for the rest of the time off is pretty promising.

Bloody Beauty! Back on the Bike!

After months of near inactivity, Kangaeroo was finally able to indulge regularly in the pursuit that brings probably the greatest pleasure in life: cycling!

So far, 2022 has been a series of calamities in terms of cycling, starting with poor weather then moving on to poor equipment, poor health and poor luck!

But things slowly slotted back into place and have finally allowed for a week on the bike that is as good as it gets now!

And some of the results were stupendous, as can be seen in the gallery.

What sheer delight!

Bloomin’ Marvelous!

For all sorts of reasons, Kangaeroo hasn’t had much of chance to get out and about and cop a look at the cherry blossoms in bloom in Tokyo in 2022.

Nonetheless, that hasn’t meant being completely deprived of a sight that possibly makes the Japanese capital the most beautiful city in the world for a week or so every spring.

Various restrictions have limited viewing to the area of the Tama river and its tributaries, but even then it has made for some wonderful sights, as this gallery shows.

Kangaeroo.com Kit Dares to Dazzle!

Kangaeroo.com jersey rear

The third, and latest, version of Kangaeroo.com cycling kit has come off the production line and is ready to dazzle.

This year, for the first time ever, Kangaeroo.com cycling kit includes a vest and bib shorts.

The kit is a full supplement of spring-summer gear in a predominantly Aussie-wattle hue with gum-leaf green lettering.

The brighter gear reflects a shift to a new environment.

Kangaeroo.com cycling kit comprises a jersey, bib shorts and vest.

The jersey features the Kangaeroo.com thinking kangaroo logo on the front, rear and both sleeves.

The website title and URL also appear on the front, rear and sleeves.

The jersey base is wattle gold with gum leaf green lettering.

Kangaeroo.com jersey front

Meanwhile, the spring vest is an almost identical design, but has a larger logo and no lettering on the front.

And the bib shorts are black with wattle gold side panels containing the Kangaeroo.com logo and website URL in English on the right leg and Japanese on the left leg.

Kangaeroo.com kit first appeared in 2017 with a white jersey, black sleeves and an embroidery patch kangaroo on the left sleeve.

A second version of the kit came out two years later, this time entirely black.

Both kits featured the website title in Japanese and English, the URL and the thinking kangaroo logo on the front and rear of the shirts.

Kangaeroo is a portmanteau of the Japanese word kangaeru, to think, and ‘roo, an abbreviation of kangaroo, Australia’s national animal and a symbol of the country.

クロス・コーヒーに感謝

 クロス・コーヒーは、東京多摩地区の矢野口にあるサイクリストに大変人気なコーヒーショップである。

 昔は常連だったが、引っ越ししてあまり行かなくなった。

 正直に言うと、最高な評判ほどいい店だと思わなかったです。

 値段が割高で食べ物が美味しくても微量で食べても食べても食べたりない気持ちだけでいっぱいになった。

 でも、スタッフもいいし、仲間もそこで集まるので、とってもいい面もあった。

 だが、今日は、考えRooがクロス・コーヒーに大変助けられ、心底から感謝しています。

 昼のライドはデスマシンであるタイガー車で乗ることにした。ちょっと春らしい天気となって、スピードが出せないリカンベントに乗れる時間があったので、行こうとした。「ツールを持っていけ」と自分に何回も言い聞かせた。ツールがいつもタイガー車となりに泊めているチャリにおいてあるので、わざわざ前に持っているバッグを持ってツールを入れようと思ったが、忘れた。よくあることなので、意識もしなかった。

 しかし、約10キロ走ったら、前輪が揺られはじまった。

タイガー車

 「くそ!」

 すぐに分かった。パンク。また、面倒くさい前輪だ。

 「くそ。本当にくそ!」

 しかし、クロスが近かったので、道具も空気入りも使えると思って、押し歩いて。

 店につくとタイヤレバーを借りようと思ったが、販売品しかなかったので、買わされた。金欠なので、ちょっと不満だったが、気持ちよく支払った。

 ここからクロスのすごさが表れた。

 持って行ったインナーチューブが別のサイズのホイール用だった。クロスが求めているサイズを売っていない。おまけ、前輪を外したが、また取りけられない。リカンベントの難しいところの一つ。

 でも、クロスの店長であるトニオさんがその時間を上手く活用して頂いた。

 あっちこっちの自転車屋に電話しまくって、チューブがるところを探していただいた。

 場所を地図上で教えて頂いて歩いた。遠くないはずから歩いて10分のところ自転車屋を探してが見当たらない。

 「この辺にあるはずだ」と思いながら、可愛くて若い女性に声をかけられた。

 「すみません。クロスのものですが。自転車屋を探していますよね。」

 「ええ」

 「あの、すみませんが、多分方向が逆だと思います」と礼儀正しく言われた。

 その方がわざわざ考えRooをおっかけて、ちゃんと探していたところまで誘導して頂きました。

 その自転車屋さんはアトリエフルーブでした。珍しいサイズのチューブもスペースをよく食うリカンベント修理できる場所も空気入り貸して頂きました。今度、ゆっくりと店を見ます。

 数分立ったら、タイガー車がちゃんと治って急いで帰ることが出来た。

 とっても感謝しています。さすがに日本人のサービス精神も優しさをさらに実感出来ました。

 天気も良かったので、恵まれた一日となった。サイクリングが最高!

 

Pushing Pedals in an Exploration to Find Tokyo’s Myriad Monsters

Befitting the world’s largest city’s proclivity for being destroyed – and saved – over and again on almost countless occasions over the past several decades, Godzilla is an almost ubiquitous presence in Tokyo.

Godzilla can be found roaming in several parts of Tokyo, from the leafy suburbs of Denenchofu right in the central hub areas of Shinjuku, where he peers over the Kabukicho entertainment district, to the posh shopping area of Hibiya.

Inspired by Tokyo Time Out’s feature from last summer on the 10 monsters you’ll meet in Tokyo, Kangaeroo finally got on the bike and headed out to check out the creepy colossuses dotting Tokyo’s streets and parks.

Godzilla is probably the quintessential Japanese monster, so gets first write-up. Godzilla statues can be found in many areas associated with Toho, the film studio that first gave birth to the creature.

Toho Studios has a huge mural and a statue dedicated to its most famous monster. Godzilla also looms over cinemas in central Tokyo.

Godzilla in Hibiya
Hibiya’s Godzilla viewed from a safe spot
Godzilla looms over Kabukicho

Godzilla has a long-term rival in King Kong, dating back to the early 1960s in Japan, and also prominent in Hollywood. Although not specified as such, considering the enormity of the beast, it’s little surprise that the gigantic ape also occupies a prime position in Tokyo’s annals of monsters.

King Kong-like giant apes can be found along Setagaya-dori, an arterial road leading into central Tokyo from the western suburbs.

Setagaya-dori’s gorilllas

The first Kong adorns a glasses store. There are actually two gorillas, one with a headband, holding a lovebug and sucking on a cigar, and the other an apparent offspring bearing a flag urging road users to drive safely, somewhat ironic considering how much of a distraction it is on the busy road.

The next great ape is a few kilometers further down the same road in Sangenjaya, a mini-hub from the suburbs on the road into the Tokyo sub-center of Shibuya and meeting point for Route 246, a prime road in Tokyo that also heads out of the capital toward Odawara, Hakone and Mount Fuji.

Sangenjaya’s great gorilla sits atop a convenience store in a bustling shopping street leading off the main route. It holds a a woman in its hands and a smaller gorilla also adorns the entry to the building.

Sangenjaya gorilla

The reason for the existence of these gorillas has apparently been lost in the annals of time. They appear to be a relic of Japan’s booming postwar decades when there was money to throw around on advertising that would stand out from the crowd. There are “gorilla buildings” across Japan, and not just these examples from Tokyo.

Speaking of throwing money around, few do so better than Roppongi Hills, a center of wealth in Tokyo, and home to some monsters (including Goldman-Sachs, possibly one of the most hideous monsters of all). Maman is a spider-like sculpture on permanent display, while coincidentally there is currently also an array of pocket monsters on show.

Other monsters on the trip were in somewhat nondescript parks.

Tire Park in Ota-ku in the southern part of Tokyo has a collection of huge monsters made from tires. The monsters include dinosaurs and a robot.

Finally, not far from the ancient temple of Jindaiji, there’s a small park in Chofu dedicated to the animation of Shigeru Mizuki’s famous Gegege no Kitaro, a delightful story of spirit monsters. The film version was produced in Chofu and allegedly set in the area, and the city responded by creating the park, which is hugely popular among the young, and the young at heart.

All in all, the Tokyo Monster Ride was a fabulous trip, and could be even more enjoyable if taken along back roads on bike paths instead of the sometimes hairy routes that Kangaeroo rode.

Would love to go around in milder weather. Moreover, there are still plenty of other monsters to find, in addition to live-sized robots and all sorts of kitsch culture in Tokyo. Warmer months could be fun.