I went for a ride today without the Garmin. It wasn’t a commute, just a cycle for the fun of it. I didn’t forget the bike computer, just decided I’d rather go without it. I’d like to claim this was due to a desire to leave the distractions behind and engage with the spirituality of cycling, but it was mostly because I was bunking off work for the afternoon and didn’t want it publicised all over Strava.
However there was an enjoyable simplicity of cycling with no computer. No worrying about average speeds and times up hills, or that somebody might snoop on my performance once posted online. It also gave me the opportunity to contemplate life, forget my stresses and just enjoy the scenery, rather than obsessing about the ‘data’ on my handlebars.
When I got home I put the bike away, had a shower and then enjoyed an evening with my family. No frivolous uploading of pointless data. I guess this is the problem with technology – sometimes it feels like the cart comes before the horse. We didn’t develop GPS due to a social need for amateur cyclists to compare themselves to other amateur cyclists, but the technology has allowed it. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should necessarily do it. I like my GPS bike computer but sometimes feel like ‘Big Brother’ is watching me as I ride.
Today I was left with no ‘data’, photographs or record of my enjoyable ride and I’ve started to doubt whether it actually happened. Was it just a figment of my imagination? Whatever it was, it’s a happy memory.