Sunday, April 29, 2012


Bike riders love our gadgets. But sometimes it feels like we have too many. In recent years, I’ve stripped the handlebar-mounted computers off all my bikes that didn’t truly need for navigating long rides. I stopped tracking my annual mileage. I quickly tired of the GPS doodad I received as a gift. And I’ve never been interested in heart-rate monitors or wattage meters, which would mostly be expensive ways of measuring how much I suck.

But I’ve remained addicted to carrying a cell phone. It can be valuable in the event of an emergency, and the built-in camera can be handy if I’m not carrying a real camera.

Then one night last week, I pedaled away from my house and, out of habit, patted my pocket to make sure my iPhone was onboard. It wasn’t. The memory of it on the table while I ate a sandwich made me start to turn around, but then I stopped myself.

When did cell phones become mandatory? I happily rode thousands of miles before those things became a ubiquitous piece of gear that humans take just about everywhere but the shower.

As I rolled down the street, I realized I was riding only a couple of miles to a brief appointment and there was no real need to have the phone in my pocket, so I didn’t go back for it. Blowing it off was actually sort of a thrill, and that’s kind of sad.

Simplicity is beautiful thing. And it often makes a bike ride more fun.


Vito said...

Amen to that!!

Julie said...

I have never understood the need to be reachable at all times. I see the value in having a cell phone, but if I'm out, that means I'm probably busy. I often leave it at home or turn it off, especially on the weekends, when I'm not required to carry it for work.

Being unreachable is a beautiful thing!

Jeff said...

I hate my cell phone. I would like to get rid of it completely. I don't carry it for MY benefit. I carry it so that OTHER people can reach ME. The problem being that I usually don't want to talk to them. If I have an emergency, well....that's what guns are for. I can fire a few shots in the air and reasonably bet that the police will come running (though perhaps not to help).

Kenny said...

I carry my little flip-open cell phone with me just in case, so I can cell for help if my patch kit and tools aren't enough.

Turns out that thus far my patching skills have been adequate, and about half the time my cell phone's out of its service coverage area anyway.

Debbie said...

It wasn't long ago that you didn't consider the Rambone to be mandatory either. But look how that's changed. Roll with the times, Timmy.

Tim said...

Ah, but that is a device of elegant simplicity.