We’re back on track (hopefully) for Long Riders! There’s been some changes to the visuals of the OP this week, replacing scenes with Ami’s folding bike with her new road bike.We also get to see a bit more of Saki, despite her not being properly introduced as of the start of this episode. It’s nice to see the changes in the opening to reflect the changes in Ami’s lifestyle, I wonder if there will be any other changes later on in the series?
Ami gets to pick up her road bike in this episode of Long Riders. She’s managed to save up enough to get a bunch of useful gadgets and accessories as well. There’s lights, a bike computer, a tyre repair kit, holders for two drink bottles, and of course, some pedals (you wouldn’t have got very far without those). Hinako mentions that the girls have given her a gift, but it’s not super clear which item was the gift.
It seems like having a road bike has made a huge difference (which makes sense, what with them being lighter, having more gears, and the more aerodynamic cycling posture), and Ami feels like she’s literally flying! I hope all that work in the Maid Café has been worth it. The bikes look and sound great as usual (even if the girls aren’t always so great), and we get to hear the really satisfying click when Ami changes gears. I don’t really have much experience with sports-related anime, but I’m definitely impressed with what Long Riders has brought to the table when it comes to cycling-related accuracy.
We’re formally introduced to Saki. I feel like perhaps this show is relying on the idea of meeting someone cycling and then running into them later a bit too much, but it’s nice to officially get to know Saki’s name (instead of just having it on the credits and the website). She’s in the university cycling club with Hinako and Yayoi. Presumably we’re going to be seeing a lot more of her!
As Ami is dying to get out on her road bike and all her friends are busy, she decides to go for a ride by herself. While on the cycle path, she learns about one of the down sides of the road bike; it’s really easy to get a puncture owing to the thin tyres. It can be difficult to fix things on the go, and she’s quite game to try and fix the puncture herself instead of asking for help.
Things don’t go so well, as it’s quite hard to get the inner tube seated correctly and I think that using the CO2 canister instead of a hand pump makes it hard to get things in place as there’s no option for partial inflation, so Ami punctures her spares as well. Luckily, some kind people (are we going to meet them properly in a future episode too?) came along and gave her some assistance. It’s pretty kind of someone to give her a spare tube, good inner tubes aren’t cheap! Normally you’d end up walking home or calling a friend to pick you up if you had no way to inflate or repair your tyres.
A quick moment on character design; normally when females do sports like cycling, they’d wear a sports bra. A good sports bra straps you down, so it’s really weird to see all these busty women with fairly large, round breasts. It’s not as cute being strapped down, but at the same time, it’s a lot more comfortable. We also have another fine example of what I’d refer to as cleavage tailoring fail. Tight clothing shouldn’t crease and bunch up under the chest. Loose clothing can, but that’s a different matter entirely.
Because of Ami’s experience riding alone, she’s come to appreciate the value of companionship when cycling. I think it’s true with lots of hobbies actually, that it’s far more fun to share your experiences with friends, or make friends who share the same hobby.
While Long Riders hasn’t exactly done anything ground-breaking as far as character or plot so far, I still really enjoyed this week’s episode. There’s just something relaxing about watching these girls cycle and learn about cycling which the anime continues to showcase.