Saturday, October 6, 2012

Less is More

While I intend to give a more chronological account of the Colorado mountain biking trip I've taken, I'm going to begin with an event that occurred nearer the end, because this is my show and I can make things as confusing as I like.

Rebecca and I were riding north from the southern trailhead of the Colorado Trail near Durango, and while we were taking a snack break at a trail junction, three riders caught up to us. They'd been descending, and they kicked up a cloud of dust when they stopped. 

Here's what the trail junction looked like before they arrived, pre-dust cloud:

From inside the dust cloud there came several techy beeps, the kind of James bond gadgetry beeps that made me suspect I had been impregnated with a small nuclear device or that my retinas had been copied.

As the dust cleared, it became clear that the beeps had come from helmet cameras. Each of the three riders was equipped with his own, so I was making a stupid face at more than $1000 worth of video cameras. We chatted briefly while we snacked, and then I rode amongst those riders for awhile, and I therefore submit the following for your consideration.

1. All three riders with expensive video cameras were on full suspension, long travel bikes. I was on a heavy steel hardtail.
2. I don't get all that rad on a bike. I manage to avoid death, narrowly, but not in ways that are interesting to watch. Sometimes I catch air, but it's frequently unintentional. 
3. I out-climbed and out-descended all three three of them, and it felt like I was riding with constipated monks, whatever that means.
Therefore: their footage was lame. Each of them was recording the same lame ride, only the two riders who weren't in the lead were recording mostly the dust thrown into the air by the lead rider's constant braking. 

While I can't prove it, I'm willing to bet that most helmet cam videos are of similar quality; bumpy, poorly aimed, boring amateur videos of mediocre rides. Like this one:

How often does a person sit down and watch videos of their own lame rides when they could be out riding more lame rides, having real-life experiences? Despite efforts to immortalize our boring lives in boring videos, we are still going to die, and that time will come sooner than we wish, and I refuse to wast the time that I do have making bumpy, poorly aimed, boring amateur videos. You're welcome.

Obviously there are exceptional helmet cam videos. This one, for example, sets a high bar:

While I might accidentally catch something stupefying on my helmet cam, I probably won't, and I know before I leave the house which rides (all of them) will be decidedly un-epic. Sometimes, you may know ahead of time that you're headed out to do something decidedly epic, so you grab your helmet cam and strap it to your helmet and get ready to show the internet something rad. Except that you don't spend enough time testing the camera mount, so you spend your entire epic ride filming the ground:

So, let's say that even though you've made a terrible video of your epic ride, you can probably bet that somebody else who was with you had their helmet cam and made a better video, which, as it turns out, even though it's a video of a decidedly epic ride, is still pretty boring:

A snow bike video without a wipeout!?!

I'm not saying get rid of your cameras. I'm not saying don't ever film anything. I'm not sure exactly sure what I'm saying, exactly, but I cringe whenever I see someone riding down an alpine slide while simultaneously taking footage with their iPhone. They are paying 0% attention to the experience and 100% attention to recording the experience (obviously alpine slides are 100% enjoyable to experience and 0% enjoyable to experience second hand on an iPhone screen). This concerns me.

Remember the closing ceremony of the Olympics? I wish I didn't; they were terrible. Remember how when the athletes entered, every third one of them was holding their phone or tablet computer overhead? This concerns me.

Not all pictures are worth 1000 words. If silence can be golden, then so too can stillness be.

No comments:

Post a Comment