Tag: tigers

Fatal Attraction

Death Machine

Following slovenly Saturday where I did basically nothing for the whole day, today has become a bit of sprightly Sunday, being busy from the get-go, with the Death Machine taking a prime position.

The Death Machine is, of course, the nickname I give to my Performer recumbent bicyle.

It gets that name because the bike feels so unsafe, the feeling while riding it is that death is imminet.

It’s no exaggeration.

Riding the bike is a frightful experience.

And I crashed the Death Machine badly around this time last year, fracturing my leg and causing permanent damage to my knee.

Getting the Death Machine was a stroke of luck.

I’d always fancied a recumbent bike since I saw one flying along the roads when I used to walk from Fujisawa Station to work at Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus a decade ago now.

I was already getting into cycling and when I moved to a job downtown the following year, was greatly encouraged by Kiwi John.

I was riding a Dahon Route folding bike at the time, but Kiwi John had a bad back and rode a recumbent.

He was super cool and his bike was even more impressive, giving me even greater cravings to get a lie-down bike.

Upon checking out catalogs and prices, though, the recumbent dream pretty much vanished.

Sports bikes aren’t cheap, and recumbents are at the pricier end of the sports bike range. Most were close to 300,000 yen at the entry level and well past 500,000 yen when considering a carbon frame. Even secondhand, a recumbent generally commanded a price over 200,000 yen.

And so the years passed.

Then, a couple of years ago, I saw a bike posted on Facebook for 50,000 yen. It was in Nagoya. Didn’t matter, I promised to pay immediately, booked a bus for that night (a Friday) and planned to ride it home to Tokyo when I picked it up the following morning.

I got less than 50 meters. I would topple over and fall with every few strokes. It was clear that I wouldn’t be riding back home. I wouldn’t even make it to the nearest station a few hundred meters away.

I eventually got the bike home (wrapped in garbage bags because I didn’t have a rinko bag needed to carry it on the train). And I destroyed the bloody chain in the process of carrying the bike back to Tokyo.

Almost destroyed my marriage when I eventually did get home.

Even the endlessly patient Mrs. Kangaeroo was peeved at my latest waste of money. And doubly so when I immediately needed to put it in for repairs and upgrading of parts that cost as much as the bike had.

It took a while to track down the maker, which used to have a branch office in Yamanashi Prefecture, but now how only its home base in Taiwan. George from Performer was fantastic, providing advice on the bike, the necessary new derailleur and videos on how to ride it.

Still, all the advice in the world and watching videos was not really a great help in learning to ride the bike. I repeatedly crashed and struggled to get a feel for riding it….hence the Death Machine moniker.

It took literally months to learn how to ride. I didn’t help myself by riding narrow tracks with climbs and turns, all of which are not friends of the recumbent bicycle in general.

Eventually, though, I got to feel at ease….well, maybe not that far. I felt that I could get around on the bike.

A much-needed good luck charm for cycling safety from Aso shrine in Hamura.

Rumor has it that recumbents ride faster on flats than road bikes. That hasn’t been my experience. I can get a decent speed out of the Death Machine, but well short of what I can get on La Cangura, my road bike.

I guess the recumbent is a little more comfortable than a road bike on long, straight roads. But only in the sense of being less strenuous while being in a lying position.

What’s more, recumbents seem to annoy drivers even more than a regular bicycle, if that’s possible, and also seem to bring out the most competitive side of every other cyclist, who wants to outpace the weird contraption that may have overtaken them.

So, they can’t turn, can’t climb, aren’t fast, inspire nearly everybody to want to throttle you and are truly dangerous. Why the fuck do I ride it? I guess it’s some fatal attraction. The recumbent attracts attention, and doubly so because I have decked it out in tiger stripes and ride with tiger-themed attire, so I am feeding my constantly craving ego. And the thrill of truly feeling at death’s door. It’s an deniable feeling. I wonder whether it stems from addiction issues?

Lots of addicts I know have an affinity for cycling. I guess it’s the repetitive nature of the rotating pedals and quick fix of endorphins from the exercise? I’m sure there are definitive studies somewhere, but my own hearsay affirms this. The late Robin Williams, a famous addict was also an avid cyclist.

Who knows? One thing for sure is that I enjoy riding the Death Machine, especially if I can overtake a roadie, which I can sometimes do with the aid of gravity. And I even bear riding with a knee brace to placate Mrs. Kangaeroo and the doctor.

So, when I die on the Death Machine, bring up this blog post and know that there were some fond memories.

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.

Kangaeroo.com 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!

Carn Tiges! Eat ‘Em Alive!

Richmond take on Geelong in the AFL Preliminary Final tonight at the MCG.

An easybeat team for the better part of 2 1/2 decades, the Tigers ushered in a glorious era in 1967 by beating the Cats in the 1967 Grand Final.

Relieve that moment as Richmond seeks to create another dynasty more than half a century later.

Eat ’em alive, Tigers!

Stone the Crows! Deja Vu All Over Again

Richmond Football Club will play in the 2017 Grand Final, tackling the favorite Adelaide Crows, who must be beaten at all cost.
It’s the first time in 35 years that the Tigers will play off in Australian Football League’s most important game of the year. Richmond would lose that game after a stripper took off all her gear and streaked across the hallowed turf, her illegal actions much more appealing to the Tigers’ opponent Carlton, traditionally a favorite haunt of Australian organized crime, than a Richmond known for its hearty applications of elbow grease and welcoming acceptance of battlers from all over the world.
It has been 37 years since the Tigers won the premiership.
1980 Grand Final Record
When the Tigers won the 1980 flag, one pundit famously dubbed them the Team of the ’80s. Richmond would not win much in the 1980s. In fact, its star players mostly walked out on the club, it almost went broke, did not play finals after 1982 and twice finished bottom of the league, a dubious honor that bestows a wooden spoon on the team that accomplishes it. The 1990s were no better, the finals drought finally broken in 1995, but misery ruled the day. The Noughties were even worse. More wooden spoons followed and despite almost twice as many teams being eligible to compete in finals as had traditionally been the case, the Tigers developed the alarming tendency to finish agonizingly short of the Top Eight qualifiers, finding itself labeled with the mocking nickname of Ninthmond.
Things changed, slowly as they are wont to do when a winning culture has eroded, upon entering the 2010s. Gradually, the Tigers redeveloped a winning culture. From 2012 to 2015, Richmond was a finalist every year, losing each time it played off, but being an A-list team for three consecutive years for the first time since the club’s mid-1970s heyday.
Things seem a hell of a lot different in 2017 Still, there’s lots of similarities at work. In the Tigers’ last Grand Final, 1982, they were valiantly inspired by the late, great Maurice Rioli, the first even and one of just a few players from a losing to be awarded the Norm Smith Medal for Man of the Match. Maurice’s nephew, Daniel, will be playing for the Tiges on Sept. 30. Richmond’s captain 35 years ago was David Cloke, who was suffering a niggling problem that cast his appearance in doubt. This year, Richmond’s captain, Trent Cotchin, may be suspended (for an alleged transgression that would not have even been a blip on the radar of umpire concern in 1982) and his appearance is in doubt. (FWIW, Cloke would play, but walked out on the club after the game to take big bucks from vile Collingwood, one of Richmond’s fiercest rivals. He would be unceremoniously dumped a few years later and return to Tigerland with his tail between his legs). Also of note in the 1982 game was Mick Malthouse, who would famously fail a fitness test. Malthouse would go on to claim the record for coaching the most league games.
Cloke had also been an uncertain starter when he was vice-captain in 1980, the Tigers’ last premiership year. He would make it. The Tigers’ captain at that time, however, was Bruce Monteath, who would spend most of the day as a reserve in what was his final game for the club even though he was only 25.
There’s also similarities to 1980, the Tigers’ last premiership year. That year, one team was clearly ahead of the pack before an upstart team clawed its way through the finals to lay down a challenge. It’s a similar case in 2017, when the Crows have been at the head of the pack all year and go into the Grand Final as a clear favorite, especially after flogging the Tigers in the teams’ only encounter for the year, if not the sentimental choice, which is clearly behind Richmond. It’s converse to 37 years ago when the Tigers had been the dominators and challenged by Collingwood as the first team to make the Grand Final after finishing in 5th place. The Tigers would go on to win by what was then a record margin (here’s hoping the same doesn’t happen again).
1982 Grand Final Record

Tigers Trump Tenderfoots

Richmond Football Club will contest the 2017 AFL Grand Final!
The mighty Tigers triumphed over the Australian Football League’s newest team, the Western Sydney Giants, a talent-packed outfit created to boost revenue from TV broadcasts.
Now, Richmond will play the rampaging Adelaide Crows to determine the Aussie Rules champion of the world!

Tiger Time!

Kangaeroo.com is usually concerned about kangaroos, especially those in Japan, but now it’s Tiger Time!
Richmond Football Club, the Tigers, are one of 18 teams competing in the Australian Football League.
Football in Australia can mean many different sports, mainly depending on the location where the word is used, but the most Australian variation refers to Australian Rules Football, an indigenous sport with professionals found only in Australia (the game is played by amateurs in dozens of countries all over the world, including Japan).
Richmond was once the most feared football team in Australia. From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, the Tigers played off in the VFL Grand Final, the most important game in the league and the match to determine that year’s champion team, on six occasions, winning four times.
When Richmond made the 1982 Grand Final, it entered the match as a hot favorite and was leading until just after half time. At that time, a young female stripper ran onto the ground. The Tigers never led all other teams in the league again.
Move ahead 35 years, almost to the day. On September 23, 2017, the Tigers will take on the Greater Western Sydney Giants in a Preliminary Final with the winner to progress to the 2017 Grand Final against the Adelaide Crows to become the champion of Australia. Richmond would be unlikely to win that game, having a pretty ordinary record against the Crows, which has been the best team in the league throughout this year.
Nonetheless, Australia, particularly the Aussie Rules heartland of Melbourne, is in the grip of Tiger fever.
A crowd exceeding 90,000 is expected to watch the Tigers take on the Giants, whose fans have purchased just 1,200 tickets to watch the game.