Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Miracles of Technology

Santa was good to me this year: a shiny new Garmin Edge 800 now sits perched on my stem. This little baby can do almost anything. Any data you can think of, it can display, however you want. On multiple pages. The touch screen works easily with thick gloves on. A swipe of the finger changes pages. It's a cinch to create a route on and upload it to the device, then just follow the color screen navigation around backroads in unexplored countryside, avoiding the worst traffic, and going new places.

Technology is amazing. It's a freaking miracle.

The more we have, the more we rely on it. And we forget what technology won't do: it won't do your homework for you. And it sure won't pedal your bike.

I uploaded a route yesterday that took me from SE PDX out to Gresham and then through Sunny Valley (hah - big lie) and back to the Springwater Corridor trail. 42.05 miles exactly, predicted by the Garmin. And since the weather was crap, I took the fixed gear. One great thing about GPS devices is that you just drop them onto any bike and away you go - no magnets, wheel size changes, just click and go.

So I did. And, 20 miles later, I realized the two failures of technology: it didn't tell me that I would be going over some short steep hills, it merely informed me, while I was climbing in my 44x16, that the pain I was feeling was inflicted by an 8% grade and that I was now 100m higher than I was 10 minutes ago. Great. I should have looked at an elevation profile before picking my bike. And no, the little miracle of technology wasn't going to help me schlep the bike over the hill. That job still belong to my legs.

I was blinded by technology. On the other hand, I knew exactly where my dry clothes were waiting.

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