Cyclist Performs a Wheelie Against the Colorful Backdrops of Tokyo


Mamoru Kanai‘s continuing series called Riding Pop, shows the Tokyo resident as he rides his bike throughout the bustling metropolis. Kanai performs a wheelie everywhere in front of the busy city as he uses the colorful backdrops of Tokyo in every image. Kanai’s bike is known as a mamachari or “mom’s bike’, a nonspecific type of bicycle in Japan.


A mamachari is often outfitted  with a child seat or basket, making it very nondescript. Kanai felt that that using a generic bike and not a fancy one, added some irony to each picture. Kanai has always been an exceptional biker, and Riding Pop marries two of his passions, bicycles and photography. Blended together, he has created a rather unique series of photographs.

cyclist tokyo

The entire Riding Pop collection appears on Instagram and you can search it under his username @mamotoraman. There you will see him wither doing a standard wheelie or a reverse wheelie in front of various places all over Tokyo. Throughout the amusing and colorful series, we can see that he obviously solicited the help of a friend who photographed him in front of all sorts of city iconography like passing trains, murals, on bridges or in city parks.

tokyo cyclist


Apparently all of the images were usually captured in a single shot, with Kanai having to hold the bike pose for as long as he could. Bike enthusiasts will notice Kanai even does the wheelie while seated, a more difficult position than standing up which is how most do the bike trick.

cyclist in tokyo

Riding Pop is no doubt fun, lighthearted and playful. “The most significant point about these portraits,” explained Kanai to Instagram, “is the irony of performing stunts on ordinary bicycles that are made for moms with kids.” One might look at this akin to Herbie, the fictional super Volkswagen beetle of the 60s. The little bug could outrun much bigger cars, and do all sorts of tricks, which is perhaps what Kanai sees his humble mamachari doing. See the entire series here.


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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.