Long Riders! 01 – Love at first bike

I’m still trying to figure out the optimal balance of size and quality for images using the WordPress tools, especially as I don’t want to max out my storage capacity too quickly. Sorry if the images don’t look quite right, I may tweak this over time.

I love slice-of-life, and cycling is one of the few sports which interested me, so when I found out there would be a slice-of-life cycling anime, I knew this was going to be a must watch. Long Riders has not disappointed me thus far. I am by no means an expert on bikes and cycling, so if I’ve got any bike facts wrong, please tell me! I’m always willing to learn. I’ve done a few short organised rides, and will occasionally get out on the road or one of the bike paths near my house. My father is very keen on cycling, both riding himself, and also watching competitive cycling, particularly road cycling. I’ve caught just a little of his enthusiasm.

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We meet Ami and her friend Aoi. Ami, as typical to this sort of show isn’t really involved in anything but is hoping to find something which she considers meaningful to do.

 

Ami sees a folding bike and is smitten with it, and suddenly decides to try out cycling. I’d just like to have a quick word about folding bikes. The thing which is good about folding bikes, is that they fold; so they’re fairly compact and easy to carry. That’s about the only good thing about folding bikes. The folding feature means that they tend to have a bit less stability and also the design means that they tend to be not as comfortable to ride as the seat post is quite tall in comparison to the frame. The wheels also tend to be smaller so they’re not as stable which would probably be a worry for clumsy Ami. To be honest, a good quality bike with quick release wheels will fit just as comfortably in the back of a small car as a folding bike, not take much longer to fix up, and be a lot better to ride. I do understand that they’re more of an advantage in large cities, though I’m still not sure that I’d opt for one over a regular bike. I guess the folding bikes are cute though, and I’m all about cute things.

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And we go into the opening song ♡km/hr. I feel like using unicode symbols in your song title is perhaps not great SEO, this is going to be rather difficult to search for, outside of using the terms ‘Long Riders OP’. It’s cheery and high-paced and shows things which looks like they could be scenes from later in the show. I can see myself singing along with this OP!

I feel like mentioning that in Australia, it’s legislated that you must wear a bicycle helmet when riding a bike (or other similar conveyance like a scooter or rollerskates) when in a public place. While debate still rages and there seem to be studies both supporting the helmets and stating that helmet use is of no benefit, and I know that this isn’t the law in most countries, I’m so used to seeing people in helmets that I always feel the urge to tell people off when they’re cycling without one. Girls. Please wear a helmet. It’s not just for pros. I’ve got this urge out of the way now.

The girls go off to Alpaca cycle to look at folding bikes. While I wouldn’t usually associate alpacas with cycling, it’s definitely a memorable business name.

Sorry Ami, good quality bikes really are that expensive. A folding bike is also going to be a bit dearer than a regular bike of a similar quality as well.

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In Australia, there are reasonable quality and good bikes sold at bike shops, but there’s also cheap bikes sold at low-end department stores like K-Mart, which tend to not be especially great value for money because of their lower durability and comfort. These look like K-Mart bikes. I’d think getting a second-hand better quality bike would be a much better choice, and yet I certainly see plenty of K-Mart bikes out there.

Ah Japan, changing a few letters of the brand name is totally a way to avoid copyright issues. This bike looks a lot like pontakun. It’s low priced, folds up, and comes in a few different colours. It also only has 6 speeds as it only has rear gears. Most proper hybrid or road bikes have a front and rear gear wheel, giving you 15-21 choices so it’s easier to pick a good gear for your terrain.

It is still definitely winning lots of cuteness points.

Ami’s ‘love at first bike’, together with the scene in her room are definitely giving off a K-On with bikes vibe. It’s quite charming to watch someone be so enthusiastic about trying a new thing.

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Aoi, this is too far for a first time cyclist

I think that there’s really great detail on the bicycles, you can see all the bits like the gears and the brake levers. The animation captures the steady motion of cycling as well. I’m keen for more cycling moments if they look like this. Too bad the girls don’t look as detailed when off model.

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Oops… I didn’t eat this morning

Don’t forget Ami, always eat breakfast before you work out. I love the ridiculous exhausted expression on her face though. It was touching to see the kindness of the unknown girls who are obviously keen on cycling helping her out with a snack.

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The gelato looks really great! I think it’s a bit odd to get a spoon with a cone though. Usually when I buy ice-creams it’s either you get a spoon with a cup, or if you get a cone you just lick the ice-cream and hope for the best. The thus-far unnamed characters certainly seem to have found something good here. I know I’d love to go for a ride and enjoy gelato like that at the end. Cycling culture around here seems to be big on coffee, but I’d definitely rather the sweets.

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The pros almost definitely have lights on their bikes, they can get home safely

The sunset looks really lovely but I hope Ami’s bike came with a light. I saw one on Aoi’s earlier when they’d stopped but I can’t see one on Ami’s. I’d definitely be worried about cycling home in the growing dark without one.

It should come as no surprise that the mystery girls seem to be attending the same university as Ami and Aoi. Hopefully we find out some more about them in the next episode. Some names would be nice, otherwise I’m just going to have to refer to them as ‘blonde’ and ‘purple’.

I don’t love the visuals of the ending song Happy Ice-cream as much as I did the OP, but the song itself seems cheery and catchy, capturing the light and cheerful feeling of the show.

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Sometimes shows can be very conventional and hit a lot of the typical beats of the genre. I think that this can either feel clichéd or comforting, and the difference depends both on execution and also on your personal preferences. In some ways I like my shows to be somewhat predictable. I watch anime as an escape and enjoy shows which are fun, and having certain expected story conventions met can add to my enjoyment, as the unpredictable can be at times stressful. While I don’t feel that Long Riders! is doing anything ground-breaking, and pretty much just feels like K-On with bikes, I don’t think that this will detract from my personal enjoyment of the series. I can nerd out slightly about bicycles, and watch a variety of cute, everyday occurrences related to bikes. I’m quite excited to see what the rest of the series brings.

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