Yowamushi Pedal and Heading up the Incline

Bicycling is one of those acts that are a tradition to childhood; some older figure, like a father or a big sister, stands behind the bike of little, scared you while you desperately try to keep balance and hope against all fears that he or she will not let go of the bike. Plenty of kids graduate from tricycle to bicycle at a young age. It wasn’t strange to see my classmates zooming around with confidence by the time we hit 1st grade. I didn’t find balance until well into my 4th grade year on a dirt road at the jeering of my well practiced friends. Since then, cycling has always been a chore. While I remember roaming the neighborhood with my posse like every other suburban kid, I never chose biking as my first course of fun. And when college came around with its steep hills and freezing winters, the bicycle turned from a tool of convenience to one of torture. So here I am, living in Seattle where cyclists abound and where even my boyfriend is a bike nut who owns two and just this past summer rode a 130-mile path with his cycling group. My office is frequented by bike messengers, who always smell of sweat and have some of the largest calves that I’ve ever seen. Cycling has never been more strange and attractive.

When Yowamushi Pedal started airing I remember thinking how coincidental the timing was–here I am in a new city that caters to its cyclists and dating a guy who has a long-standing love life with the hobby. Onoda’s natural choice to bike all the way to Akiba doesn’t sound so strange in comparison, and the activity is one that any person of any background and personality can pick up. What makes this interesting to me is the seemingly logical progression from casual riding to group riding and racing. I’ve heard that racing is a terrifying test of rhythm and trust. As Naruko shows Onoda on the bridge as they cut through the wind, the cyclists in a line must maintain a steady speed. The closer the bikes are, the easier it is to create that protective cone. When it’s a matter of competition, each party hopes that the other is balanced and steady, making the prediction and act of passing safer and easier. Just one falter or unpredictable break could result in a domino effect. And moving at the speeds that they do, a fall would be extremely dangerous. That Onoda has caught the bug of competition is not an indication that all cyclists can or should try racing. His quick capability should instead impress upon the viewer just how incredible this kid is. I have a feeling that like the hime he loves so dearly, Onoda is about to transform into MAGICAL CYCLING BOY DESU!

Does my newfound appreciation for cycling mean I’ll pick up the activity? Certainly not! You couldn’t get me to bike up a mountain even if you set a bowl of the most fragrant unadon at its peak. I’ll leave that sense of accomplishment to better folk than me and cheer on the sidelines at start and finish, hoping for an end as quirky as the beginning.

Aughh! Look how ridiculously close their tires are!

Random thoughts:

  • Changing gears does not create sparks as Imaizumi’s bike would have you believe! It would be pretty cool if it did…
  • Straight from a cyclist’s mouth: other than the sparks, YowaPeda is verifiably real on technique.
  • Not only calves, but THIGHS! A cyclist’s thighs can get monstrously huge…disproportionately huge.  Google “cyclist thighs”.
  • As green and healthy as cycling is, it’s an extremely dangerous mode of transport in the city. The show neglects to warn viewers of how easy it is for vehicles to overlook you. A cyclist is lucky if he or she has never been hit; it’s only a matter of time.
  • This show is slotted for 38 episodes of pure awesome sports anime-ness.  I totally thought it’d be a one-cours show given my luck with likable shows lately.
  • If you’re watching this, don’t close out after the ED credits.  You’ll be treated to some hime goodness 😉

17 thoughts on “Yowamushi Pedal and Heading up the Incline

  1. Yeah my poor brother didn’t get the learning method you describe. He had his always using his own logic older brother as his teacher. My brilliant plan from my experience riding a bike was to set up at the top of a steep Hill and roll him down it. As I explained to him at the time the faster you go the easier it is to balance. Surprisingly it actually worked lol. He made it all the way down the hill and only fell when he lost speed and when he went down the second time he kept it going and has been able to ride ever since.

    Nice to hear from you again btw.


    • Thanks 🙂 My 3-month break was a nice change of pace, but I’m really missing the anime and blogging.

      What a reckless and quick way of learning how to bike! I can see a lot parents now finding pushing a kid down a decline too dangerous, particularly if there is a driveway or street too close, much less the scraped knees and hands :p I’m glad your little brother made it and is still going at it!


  2. I like YowaPeda, but oh it’s so slooooow. I just find the describing and redescribing and redescribing tedious. Get on with the race! Get something done! That’s the thing that really turns me off on this one. I like the characters a lot, I like the theme, I just can’t stand the screwing around that someone apparently thinks makes it more ‘exciting’ or something.


    • Is it slow? I guess I haven’t really noticed! What specific example are you thinking about where they redundantly describe something? But I do admit that I’m excited now that Onoda has finally joined the cycling team–I can’t wait for when he gets on a legit road bike.


      • It’s things like taking 2 episodes for the 30 minute race up the back slope, the repeated descriptions of the front derailleur that Kanzaki installed on Onoda’s bike, taking 10 minutes to catch the guy in the Evo who was ‘just on the other side of the bridge’, Naruko going on and on and on about sprinters.

        It’s the stuff that I understand that sports anime fans eat up (cause honestly, every sports anime is like that), but man it makes it tedious for me to watch. Maybe it’s because I have more than a passing interest in bike racing (having watched hours of the Tour de France), and having been a rider myself, as well as a mechanically inclined guy. I just get this feeling of “I know this, you’ve already explained it once, let’s get on with it.”


        • Hah, your description and wording at the end sounds very similar to what my boyfriend said over the episodes. I guess it has a lot to do with your guys’ background knowledge and experience. For someone new like me, the explanations are fresh and fascinating. I’m no athlete, but I can’t help but love sports anime (Ace of the Diamond is another favorite this season).


  3. So I’m watching a show about women’s wrestling (Which is okay but not living up to my expectations, as rare as it is for me to have expectations to begin with) and you’re watching a show about cycling. Glad to hear Fall has been kinder to you than it has to me. Oh well, Winter will more than make up for my lackluster Fall.


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