Friday Group Ride #372

Friday Group Ride #372

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.

There’s this and this. If these two virtual holy texts are there, my mind boggles at what else might live there. So much. Too much.

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?

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  1. Miles Archer

    One of the “big kids” when I was about 9 or 10 thought it would be a good idea to ride a bike into the deep end of the pool at the local swim club. He seemed to think the air in the tires would let it float or something.

    Must have been 1975 or so.

  2. Todd Baker

    Would have been late 1970’s. My next door neighbor was on my yellow, banana seat bicycle. Went off a jump. When he landed, the bike broke and split down the middle. I repeat. SPLIT. DOWN. THE. MIDDLE!!! So, for a split second, he was basically on a unicycle. Dad welded it. Didn’t last long. Will never forget that. Good times 🙂

  3. Les.B.

    I was about 12 and some bully was after me, but I was a faster runner. So he grabs some kid’s bike and chases after me through a grassy field. I ran across a concrete ditch. Apparently he didn’t know the ditch was there, and couldn’t see it because of the grass.

    Oh, the expression on his face the moment he saw the ditch, a millisecond before he crashed into it. If only that was preserved!

    The force of the crash bent the fork back, and the owner of the bike was really pi**ed. The bully took the thing in hand and bent the fork back into a relatively good position.

  4. TomInAlbany

    My folks have a ’72 Super8 video of me riding a two wheeler for the first time. My wife had it transferred onto a CD for my 40th birthday. I show my kids that whenever they want!

  5. Dizzy

    Twelve years old, chasing the gang down a steep, gravel road, I lost control of my 2-ton Sears & Robucks tank. After hitting a huge hole, the top tube and now bent handlebars were wrapped securely around my crouch and I was hands and arms out, face down grinding to a stop. I regrouped after some sobbing and limped home. Undressing, I thought my manhood was permanently destroyed.
    Everything healed and turned out OK. Oh, what I would give for a video of that crash! I would laugh so hard at myself.

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