My kids spend hours on YouTube. There is, as nearly as I can tell, a limitless supply of interesting things for them to see inside its highly-advertised glow. They have favorite vloggers. They watch sports highlights, stunts, video game how-to guides. Sometimes they watch videos of their own friends playing video games we have and can play at home.
My wife and I try to limit their screen-time, but when they are allowed, they will pour all of their attention into YouTube.
I confess that I, also, sometimes fall down this wormhole. YouTube, and the Internet in general, has become this macro-scrapbook for mankind. Want to see something that’s happened in the last 30 years? There is a good chance there’s a video of it somewhere.
I have a video of my younger son. In the video, which lasts about 18 seconds, he comes flying down the street on his 20″ mountain bike. He has just learned to ride, and is, pretty clearly, drunk on speed. As he reaches the camera’s target zone, something goes wrong. A foot comes off a pedal. His little torso pitches forward. Somehow, within a nano second or so, he begins to windmill his arms, which is really the point I knew he was going to eat it.
He eats it.
The sounds of concerned on-lookers rises and falls, and there’s me, behind the camera saying, “You’re ok, buddy! You’re ok.” He is not, ok, but a popsicle and band-aid later, he is. You can not watch this video and not laugh. I would post a link to it here, except that, in the subsequent days and months, he forbid me to do so.
When I was his same age, I also crashed my bike in a highly amusing way that was NOT captured on camera, but oh, how I wish it was.
I lived in a bike-crazy neighborhood filled with bike-crazy kids. The older ones had built a small network of trails in the woods behind some houses. The big problem with it was a 6-foot wide drainage culvert that cut the houses off from the woods, so the trails were close, but you had to go far to get to them.
The obvious answer was a bridge. A crew of teenagers went to work with plywood and nails and built a narrow platform that forded the ditch. Problem solved.
Except the bridge was very narrow, and not every kid in the neighborhood had the confidence, or handling skills, to hold the bars straight for the 2.3 seconds it took to cross. You can see where this is going.
Egged on until I was nearly in tears, I took two tentative pedal strokes out into the plywood abyss and then promptly rode off into the knee deep, mucky water, submerging myself completely before coming up, spluttering, embarrassed, and sure I was in deep trouble.
They sent me home.
Dripping wet, miserable, sure I was dead, I rang the doorbell. Moments passed, an eternity, and then the door swung open with both of my parents there, curious who would be ringing the bell on a Saturday morning. As soon as they saw me they burst into peels of laughter. I broke down crying.
To have that on video now, I couldn’t even tell you. Would I watch it every single day, upon waking, inspiration for another day of tilting at grownup windmills? Yes. I think I would.
This week’s strange Group Ride asks, what scenes from your cycling life do you wish lived on video form? What would you revisit? What would you share with your own kids, or your friends? Moments of glory? Of moments of (humorous) failure?