Vive memor quam sis aevi brevis.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016


A quick scan of YouTube will bring up a plethora of videos of bike crashes: Tours de France, local road races, car vs bike, track stackups, simple "fails," et cetera, ad nauseam.

Call it the Pornography of Pain.

The internet is full of all kinds of pornography, from mundane skin shows to snuff films. Gruesome viewing at best.

Watching a bike crash video can be oddly fascinating in a gothic sort of way- i will admit to having looked. The slow-mo replays reveal that crap happens and crap happens fast. Sometimes it can be instructive, but i fear that many a viewer  may just be a voyeur. i'm sure that there are bike-haters finding a great deal of entertainment in the pain of the riders: just read the comments, but keep an emesis  basin nearby.

"Everything is funny as long as it is happening to someone else."
-Will Rogers.

Over the years, i've been in my share of crashes. A couple in races, and many solo efforts. Sometimes it was slick pavement, sometimes inattention, sometimes through the actions of others. My worst injuries were from largely solo falls- broken teeth, acres of skin, a shoulder separation, stitches, and technicolour bruises.

One day in my youth, i went arse-over-teacups when a borrowed fixed wheel decided to strip out when i was stomping into a sprint. When i got home, thanks to a Good Samaritan, i had to ask my poor mother to help me out of my jersey. She nearly fainted when she saw the abrasions on my shoulders (i don't know how i didn't land on my face!) that had been hidden under the fabric.

"Are you going to give this up now?"
"No. Why?"
(She hated that i rode...)

(Full disclosure: i do sometimes wish there was footage of that crash. i still don't know how i landed.)

We fall, we get back up, we keep riding.

"I would invite anyone who thinks that crashing... is risible, that they try it  themselves sometime..."

What disturbs me are the people who really enjoy the crash films, watching them again and again... i suspect that there are even those who stage them at the expense of the riders for their entertainment. i would invite anyone who thinks that crashing full bore into barriers, or going off the road into ravines, or getting tangled in a 30-rider stackup is risible, that they try it themselves sometime... then we'll see if they still think it's  funny.

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