In the show Yowamushi Pedal, the main character starts out riding a mamachari or "mommy bike" that he has owned since fourth grade. Now he is in high school. In season 1 episode 3, one of the other characters points out to him that in order to go faster he needs to raise his seatpost, and also that his bike has an unusually small front chainring. His bike only has one speed, and because this chainring is so small, he has to pedal at a very high cadence to go fast. The other characters speculate that his mom had the small gear installed for "peace of mind," so that the higher cadence would tire him out and keep him from riding too far away from home.
My question: The show made it sound like this is commonly done in Japan. Is this done in North America or Europe? And if so, what is it called in English?