I watched Long Riders! for the bicycling (and I enjoyed it)
Long Riders! is a show that didn't even make my initial impressions this season, partly because early reviews didn't make it sound very good (especially Nick Creamer's). But then some people on anitwitter followed it and posted screen shots and persuaded me that while the show has many flaws, it also really loves bicycling. And, well, I'm a cyclist even if previous shows about cycling have failed for me. So I got sucked into not so much watching Long Riders! as skimming through it to watch the bicycling parts, ruthlessly skipping over character bits, attempts at non-cycling humour, and so on.
Well, you know what, the show's pretty decent at the biking bits, at least if you're a cyclist like me. It gave me an enjoyable mixture of general appreciation for the biking and nostalgia for when I started getting into cycling and went through experiences similar to the protagonist's. The character beats are cheesy, the CG is only decent, the 2D animation not infrequently disastrously off (which wound up being amusing since I wasn't taking this at all seriously), but the biking, the biking felt authentic and I could appreciate the love for detail that the CG animators and the production put into everything (and that the 2D animators desperately tried to keep up with when they had to draw the bikes, often failing). The show really loves bicycling and wants you to do so too, and it definitely shows. I can't help responding to that love.
I don't know why Long Riders! succeeded for me in this aspect where Yowamushi Pedal failed. I suspect that there are two sides to it. First, LR isn't about competitive racing and I'm not a racer, so I automatically have more connection to it (eg). Second, for the first time I aggressively skimmed a show rather than watch all of it, which is what I tried to do with Yowamushi Pedal. I did wind up watching a certain amount of the Long Riders! character bits when I couldn't be bothered to skip forward over them, but definitely not too much and that helped a lot.
As far as the details of the biking go in Long Riders!, I don't have any important nits to pick. A few things made me raise my eyebrows a bit but they're not all that important and a bit of exaggeration for effect is a fine anime tradition. I certainly can't say that Ami grew too fast as a cyclist; although I didn't do any 160 km rides in my first season of cycling, I did do multiple 100+ km rides (on flat terrain, though; we don't have mountain passes around Toronto), and I was riding a much less suitable bike for it than Ami wound up using.
(This elaborates my tweets after episode 10. Also, I wrote a bit about Long Riders! when I talked about bike lights in recent anime. Long Riders! loves its bike lights, among other little details; everyone has good rear lights as well as front lights, often multiple rear lights.)
Written on 29 December 2016.