You’re Great, YowaPeda, but You’re Doing Some Things Wrong

Yowamushi Pedal has been amazing to watch this year, and I’m always happy to see more Onoda and hear the Hime song. I talked before about my lack of experience with cycling, but now that we’re into a second season and I’ve discussed the details more thoroughly with KWoo, I’ve gone ahead and compiled some of our notes–nitpicking, if you must–regarding the show. If you’re a cyclist, or love the sport as a spectator, feel free to include anything else you’ve seen.

In a paceline, you drop to the back, not cycle from back to front.

This isn’t an Indian run! When it’s time to rotate, the leads pulls off to the side and drifts to the back of the line–the second cyclists then becomes the new puller. This conserves energy and gives everyone a chance to rest. It’s counterintuitive to expend energy rushing from the back to the lead only to continue pulling the line for several more minutes, not to mention more jarring, causing ripple effects through the paceline which worsens as it goes back. The person in the back has to either decelerate a lot or accelerate a lot, which is also known as the “accordion effect.” The speed should be maintained as a constant, while lead changes should be smooth such that the people in the back do not notice.

Actually Rotating in a Paceline

The reason Onoda and team are always so tired is that they seem to fail at rotating pulls. It is all well and good to be the hero and pull your tired teammates back to the group, but when everyone is relatively unspent it is much more efficient to rotate turns (and generally expected of you since you are getting a reduced effort the rest of the time). So the whole “Makishima must pull because we’re going uphill” strategy seems like a good way to wear out your team members early in the game. The exception here is if you are trying to save your ace for an impending attack (see sprinter support below).

Intentionally clipping cyclists blacklists you.

It happens during races. But, no one would admittedly clip another rider intentionally. Midousuji isn’t the only culprit in YowaPeda; we see friendly rivals like Kinjou and Fukutomi repeatedly bumping each other in their race to the front. Even team mates Naruko and Imaizumi compete by clashing their bikes. If these cyclists’ speeds are to be believed, then this act is incredibly reckless.

You go with your sprinter as support. Don’t send him/her off alone!

It seems odd to ditch more than half your team before you head to the finish line. Your sprinter can only go at max speed for a few seconds, and you want to conserve as much of his or her energy for as long as possible. The entire team should go bring their sprinter to the finish line. Similar in concept to a paceline, this is called a lead out train. Where as a paceline you want to go smoothly all working together at a relatively constant speed, in a lead out train you are bringing your sprinter in as fast as you can. Each member pulling in the front is not conserving anything for the next round of pulls. They go all out and when they are spent, they peel off to the front and are left behind as their next team mate takes their place. The teams goal is to position their sprinter at the best possible point to attack–the front with no other teams in the way. The final member just before the star sprinter pulls off last, hopefully having out-maneuvered their opponents, and then tries to play interference with anyone else behind them to give their sprinter the best possible chance. This is not to say that there won’t be a gratuitous episode-long 1:1 sprint battle after the team has launched them, but at least give the guys a little more help!

Changing gears does not give off sparks.

I get it. I really do. The whole flashing sparks is exciting and indicative of change, but really, cyclists change gears a lot, and never, EVER, do they spark. Unless there’s a serious problem. Usually followed by an unjustified movie-like explosion.

Andy and Frank are pecs, not abs.

As beautiful as his muscles are, they are most certainly not the abdominal muscles; they’re pectorals. It does make sense that a sprinter like Izumida would have a much more built upper body than most cyclists given his weight lifting and bursts on flats, despite the prevalence of leaner builds in road racing. See: track sprinters.


Note: Many thanks to KWoo for co-writing this post. His cycling experience has initiated many hilarious discussions while watching this show! 

8 thoughts on “You’re Great, YowaPeda, but You’re Doing Some Things Wrong

  1. These were some of the things that annoyed me with the show, although I could live with them more than the slothlike pace of the plot and action advancement and the inclusion of Midousuji (the force that drove me away from the show, ultimately). You also didn’t mention the silly dual line at the front of the climb, where in reality they would merge into one line, or at least one group.

    But yeah, all of these things were annoyingly wrong.


    • I’m not surprised that Midousuji’s character drove away viewers such as yourself. They actually just aired an episode that sheds some light into his background that almost begs for your sympathy, but it was still impossible to let his losses justify his recent actions.

      The double pace line (also neat images here)is actually legit, but incredibly difficult to pull off. I have a hard time believing high school students capable of successfully doing it–I don’t think I ever actually see them rotate when they ride dual line like you mention.


      • Well, they weren’t even doing that kind of double line. It was just two silly groups wasting energy at the front. I also wish they’d known more about how the peloton strategy works. Hakone and Sohoku would have been in charge of leading… if the breakaway wasn’t their guys. If the rest of the schools are uninterested in leading, and letting those two schools set the pace when the breakaway is the leaders, that means the rest of the schools have given up on trying to win.

        But of course, the whole rest of the peloton is just there to give Onoda something to have to be behind, not for any more reason than that. And it’d be awfully hard to redeem Midousuji at this point (plus his riding style is idiotic).

        Liked by 1 person

        • KWoo: Agree with you on that. It would totally make sense for them to work together to break away further from the main group, and would have most likely insulated them from having to deal with Midousuji’s team in the first place by creating a gap large enough that they couldn’t bridge. Also agree that the rest of the team’s doesn’t really seem to be trying at all despite all the bravado that they show when passing Onoda and Tadokoro in the beginning of the second stage.

          I almost felt bad for Midousuji, but then when I remember all the horrendous things that I have done, I go back to disliking him. A lot of them have pretty idiotic riding styles though (see: Makishima’s climbing style).


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