JemVenturez is a cyclist, YouTuber, and absolute joker from St. Ann’s. He might only have a thousand-odd subscribers, but he’s captured the hearts and tickled the funny bones of the LeftLion office through and through. His channel’s concept is simple: he hops on his bike, straps a camera to his bonce, and narrates the journey. We met up with him in GB Café down Sneinton Market to discover more about the man behind the GoPro…
There’s plenty of culture to get stuck into in this city, but some of us are guilty of waving the white flag and settling in with a drama series and a takeaway every once in a while. And sometimes those drama series and takeaways are actually YouTube binges and a bag of onion rings. The class levels do indeed vary.
It was upon one of the latter sessions that I stumbled across the man we’ve come to know and love as JemVenturez. Now twelve videos strong on his channel, he started his journey in Nottingham, bombing down the A453, chatting to cows, and meeting new cyclist friends along the way. As I sat stirring my brew waiting to meet him, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself thinking about his cheeky wheelie-busting. Before I knew it, him and his bike “Speshi” (short for Specialized, the bike company) came swishing around the corner and settled in the doorway. Then came the gold-laced teeth beaming back at me.
“I’m from St. Ann’s, and I’ve got gold teeth. It's easy for someone to look at me and think I might be this or that,” says Jem. “But then I'll start talking and there's a smile straight away. Then we're having a conversation, then we're flying, and then I'm gone again.”
Me and my bike could be at any point at any time. No matter where it is, you're gonna come with me.
Before embarking on his quest, 24-year-old JemVenturez was grafting away in a full-time job. “That was cool, but I was doing the same thing day in and out. I wanted to travel, so I bought a bike! One evening I was wondering what I should do, and then it clicked. I just practiced riding and talking to myself, and at first that was very weird. I wasn’t as fit as I am now, so I was panting and trying to narrate what I was doing.”
Eventually he decided to bite the bullet and put his camera to use: “I was super nervous for that first video. It’s so easy to get trolled, and I couldn’t stop thinking about that when I was about to click ‘publish.’ But the feedback was great, and my subscribers were going up quick. It’s never been my intention to be the biggest thing on YouTube or anything; it’s just a hobby that’s grown into a passion, and I just love doing it.”
In each of JemVenturez’ videos, he visits a different city to find out what’s going on, not knowing where he’s gonna end up. And weird stuff seems to happen to him everywhere he goes. Throughout Somewhere in Manchester, he gets hassled by security, bumps into buskers, chats to a bloke who gets his false teeth out, and observes one dude dancing around with bits of celery and ketchup.
“Manchester was madness from start to finish. But you know Hull, when I first got there I didn’t think there was much going on, but then I started seeing little streets and places,” says Jem. “Then I bumped into loads of commotion with an ambulance, and ended up meeting some really nice people. It’s like when I went to Barcelona, I met a guy from Sweden who was able to point me in the right direction just because I said hello. That’s the point I’m trying to prove: you can meet anybody in this world, you just never know.”
JemVenturez’ slogan is “Somewhere. Anywhere. Everywhere.” And you might find it emblazoned on one of his stickers knocking around on a lamppost around the city. The logo, created by friend Georgia Murray, is a globe with loads of pin points stuck into it. “Me and my bike could be at any point at any time. No matter where it is, you're gonna come with me,” he says.
Alongside the fistfuls of stickers found stashed in JemVenturez’ pocket, you’d probably find a trusty tin of mackerel. Consistently throughout his videos, he stops, has a break, and cracks out a fishy treat to regain some energy. “A lot of people hit me up about mackerel and people have even sent me recipes!” says Jem. “I eat it when I'm riding so there's no whipping up a recipe... straight out the tin and keep it moving. That’s me.”
The pescatarian’s feel-good attitude and energy is infectious. Whether that’s come from the tonne of self-help books he’s read, or all that exercise he’s battered out on Speshi, is anyone’s guess. All JemVenturez wants is to spread a positive message on his two wheels: “The amount of people who’ve messaged me saying how inspired they’ve been is crazy,” he says. “People have actually got up and gone riding, and some people have even told me that they suffer from depression, and that watching me has helped them and now they're out there riding and meeting people.”
In the near future, JemVenturez is planning a group ride, and he’s asking Nottingham cycle heads to hit him up on his social media channels if people want to get involved.
“If only one person turns up, we’re still going to ride, and we’re still gonna have fun,” says Jem. “Coming from St. Ann’s and with my appearance, it can determine certain outcomes and interactions, not necessarily positive, but I grew up as a class clown and I’m still that guy. It’s just nice to show people that we aren’t as different as you think. We’re all just trying to live our life and get along. The world's a beautiful place, and I'm just trying to remind everybody of that. That's what I'm trying to express, and I hope I do. Who knows, you might see me somewhere soon.”