Tag: cycling

Grass is Greener….Here, And Not On the Other Side!

Kangaeroo Coven’s garden is about to enter is second spring, and is currently going through its first winter. And its grass is greener than could ever be imagined…literally!

Although Kangaeroo comes from a family of avid gardeners, he had never really had a chance to do much gardening.

Only an unfortunate attempt at a balcony garden during penthouse living at the turn of the century had afforded itself, with less than promising results that were later to dwindle away to nothing.

Until Kangaeroo Coven came into being, and with it a garden.

It was an ounce of luck, actually, as the garden had been sought to provide a place to service the Kangaeroo cycling fleet.

But large-scale maintenance repairs that shut off most of the garden and the chance discovery of a gardener nearby who specializes in Aussie plants, and next thing you know, Kangaeroo has got an Aussie garden.

The first year has been a largely learning experience. Summer humidity and over-watering cost a few plants, most agonizingly the kangaroo paw that looked so beautiful and had taken a place in Kangaeroo’s heart.

Moving into winter has driven many plants dormant, but in general, the garden is thriving. And the lawn is doing exceptionally well.

Japanese grasses tend to go dormant and brown from the late autumn. Kangaeroo is also using a Japanese lawn, but has also blended it with a bluegrass that stays fairly green all year-round.

The lawn was brown and patchy until a few weeks ago, when Kangaeroo came across the suggestion to rake lawns to make them healthier, exposing them to greater air and light.

Giving it a burl, Kangaeroo was delighted to discover the lawn becoming verdant.

Next job is to start propagating seeds, then plant and give away.

What fun! Not much room to fix the treadlies as initially planned, but the beautiful garden is a priceless gift that will only get better.

Getting Off to a Good Start

So far, the winter of 2022-3 has been fairly kind to Tokyo.

Unlike 2022m when the early days of January saw snow and generally gloomy weather, this year has been warm and sunny on the whole.

Kangaeroo got on the bike early today and headed downtown to meet some mates near Tokyo Tower.

It’s Coming of Age Day in Japan, a national holiday, and the first when legal adulthood in Japan is designated as 18 years of age instead of 20, as it had been up until this year.

The holiday is also one of those made flexible a few years ago to give people more time off. While it’s great to have another long weekend, surely it could have been added onto the New Year break to give people a full week instead of forcing them to return to the workplace for one or two days?

Anyway, the rides in and out were both sublime! It’s cold, but not too bad, and there is no strong wind so far, which makes things much easier.

The weather also augurs well for cleaning up the lawn, which Kangaeroo is now gonna get stuck into.

Looks like a tough week ahead, but striving as much as possible to live in the moment and not get too overwhelmed.

Koala-ified for Anything

Tokyo is a city full of surprises.

And that is the least surprising aspect of the world’s largest city.

Kangaeroo got a pleasant surprise yesterday while pottering through the backstreets of Shinjuku, one of the Japanese capital’s many sub-capitals.

For some reason, Lord alone knows why, there was a statue of a koala and her joey in a pocket-stamp sized park in Shinjuku.

Japan had something of a mini-love affair with koalas in the mid-1980s when Australia successfully sold itself as a tourist destination to more gullible markets and then got greedy with price gouging to compliment the traditionally abysmal service.

Remnants of that adoration for koalas survive to this day, most notably with the popular kids’ snack, Koala’s March.

Still, it was too good an opportunity to pass up the chance of seeing a touch of Oz in Tokyo, so warranted a quick shot with the Brommie.

Nature’s Double Delight and Not a Skerrick of Proof

Nature turned on a absolutely glorious morning – albeit a freezing one.

There was a huge moonset in one direction and a delightful sunrise simultaneously in the opposite direction.

Unfortunately, the only camera Kangaeroo was carrying was on a smartphone.

This rarely takes decent pics at the best of times, let alone trying to get a lunar shot, which is challenging at the best of times with the most sophisticated equipment.

Then, blessed with a delightfully colorful sunrise and otherworldly cloud pattern on the return journey, positioning and timing rendered photographic evidence impossible.

Kangaeroo was not in a good spot to capture a good spot and needed to make it home for a meeting.

So, while waxing lyrically about the waning moon and waxing sun, Kangaeroo lacks pretty much a skerrick of evidence to back the claims.

You’re just gonna have to take his word for it, punters.

Yesterday’s moon was also glorious, but the timing today meant riding a bicycle in a westerly direction for the first half of the ride so it drawing closer to the setting moon.

And it was resplendent as it slowly descended below the ridge line created by the Okuchichibu mountains.

Nonetheless, the smartphone did the best it could.

The camera captured the best shots it could, but couldn’t do justice to the beauty of the day.

Win some, lose some, I guess/

Tower of Strength on an Icy Morning

Today started with a pre-dawn trip to Tokyo Tower.

A quick get-together with some mates over coffee and chockies followed.

And then it was a ride back home.

Now it’s on to familial duties.

It was cold and dark heading into town.

Just about every traffic light seemed determined to earn its keep by making Kangaeroo stop.

Still, Kangaeroo got to ride in with a reasonably quick time.

The get-together was over pretty quickly. It was nice to see some old faces for the first time in a while. It also reaffirmed how much the pandemic has changed things.

Yet another running race had taken over the Tama River cycling road again, which made riding home a little more onerous than a regular day when the track is largely deserted.

The family shindig will also involve a fair bit of riding, both to and fro, with the latter almost certain to take place in the dark. Will need to be careful coming home.

Morning wasn’t a bad start: Nearly 70 km ride

Kicking Off 2023 With Central Tokyo Loop And Super Sunshine

First sign of light on the horizon for 2023

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.

The objective for the day was to take part in the Half-Fast Cycling club’s Yamanote Line Loop, a traditional New Year’s Day ride and one of many leisurely urban rides the club regularly holds.

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 Coven, 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.