Thursday, May 16, 2013

Why Do Bike Computers Make Us Crazy?

The bicycle computer is an indispensable piece of gear. Unfortunately, it feeds those obsessive, compulsive, addictive behaviors hidden deep within us all.

Today was a comical example. We are going on a club ride on Saturday. Al was making certain all was well with our road bikes. My bike and all its gear were just fine. His bike was fine--but his bike computer was all out of wack. I watched as he fiddled, fussed, fumed, and practiced colorful language. We could do our daily ride without the computer working, but it was clear from the git-go that was not an option. What was comical was that I completely understood this.  Ride without knowing the numbers? Unthinkable!

And so we left on our daily ride, Al's computer still out of kilter. Every block we stopped so that Al could fiddle. I drifted my bike a few yards away, careful to stay out of harm's way. This scene was repeated frequently as we pedalled the mile or so to the Rickenbacker. I listened politely to the updates he provided as function after function was put in order. But I spoke not one word. Never get involved with someone fiddling with a bike computer! They are clinically crazy during these moments.

At last all was well and we were off on our ride. It gave me something to think about as we rode. We keep the numbers on spreadsheets and get a thrill when we reach milestones or personal bests. I can't even imagine riding without keeping track of the numbers. (How weird is that?) I've not infrequently seen cyclists on rides carry their bikes into rest stops from the roadway so that that brief interval of slow riding doesn't affect their overall numbers. (Now that is weird.) All in all, I decided Al and I aren't too far over the edge.


  1. I thought cycle computers were becoming a thing of the past with all these smart phones and their cycling apps! Certainly don't miss trying to line up my sensor all the time. However, the cycle apps don't take away the craziness and obsession with data we record. In fact they now carry even more data than before meaning more numbers to analyse and keep tabs on!

    1. Jez, we're just beginning to think about using a smart phone. Until we moved to Miami in February, we lived, believe it or not, in an area of Florida where there were LOTS of dead zones for phones. (The gators never complained, and there weren't enough people to count.) We carried phones, but never really relied on them for anything. Technically our house was in a dead zone, but we could use a cell if we walked outside and stood in our front yard. Good to know we have the joys of even more comical craziness with the smart phone apps!