Disconnected

10
Jan
2014

I spent most of this week under the weather — in more ways than one! While Chicago experienced some of its coldest weather in decades, I was securely tucked under my covers in a cold-medicine-induced sleep. Achy and coughing, I avoided having to be outside during this arctic blast. But also by choice, I spent most of this week disconnected from the outside world while I returned to feeling normal.

I let my phone go to voicemail, didn’t check Twitter or other social media, and watched very little TV. It felt good to disconnect for a few days (although I’m just as happy to be back). I was discussing this yesterday with someone and the subject of technology and riding came up. He was surprised that I don’t use a computer when I ride to track every mile, pedal stroke, or achievement.

Nope. Not for me. I remember my “a-ha” moment, and since I haven’t done much more than sleep this week, I thought I would share that with you. This is a post from March 29, 2011:

Freedom

soozed-bike-computerIt’s not often I have the chance to ride in the middle of the day during the week, but today I was able to get out for a quick spin.

I dressed and went about performing my usual pre-ride rituals: pump the tires, spin the wheels, check the brakes, make sure nothing rattles, drop a bottle into the cage, and attach the computer….uh…wait. Why am I doing that?

Habit. That’s all it is. It doesn’t make me go any faster or farther, or provide any additional motivation to ride. I don’t ever leave my house with a pre-determined mileage in mind…I simply go out and ride until I feel like turning around. Sometimes that’s two hours. Sometimes it’s 30 minutes. I don’t care how fast I’m going, and I don’t need any motivation to ride other than my desire to do so. And I definitely don’t need a computer to tell me when my legs are toast or my lungs may implode. My “internal computer” handles that just fine.

Truth be told, I’ve always refused to let those numbers dictate whether I’m having a good day or a bad day on the bike. Every time I get to ride is a good day, and that makes me happy. Which in turn makes me much more pleasant to be around. Simple as that.

So I removed it. All of it. Cut the cable ties that attached every part to my bike.

It felt a bit weird at first. It’s always been there, and I readily admit that I loved having it last summer on my London to Paris ride. Seeing the numbers and what I accomplished over the four days was extremely empowering for a novice rider. But since then, it’s been on my bike just because I have it.

Seeing my bike without all that added stuff was refreshing and seemed much truer to the simplistic beauty of the frame. I got over the weirdness really fast.

I may use it again should I choose to undertake another “epic” ride, but until then, it’s just me, my bike, and the freedom I feel every time I hit the road.

Now that’s empowering.

- Suzanne

Enjoy Your Ride
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8 Responses to “ Disconnected ”

  1. Eric Hutchins on January 13, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    :)

    • suzanne deveney on January 21, 2014 at 10:42 am

      Eric, that one little emoticon says that you understand. Cheers!

      • Eric Hutchins on January 21, 2014 at 10:38 pm

        Yes it does. :)

  2. Pedalpilot on January 11, 2014 at 12:56 am

    I guess I need a life. Nope. I know I need a life. Here I am on the last day of the work week, the first night of a hopefully leisurely weekend. I’m under the same Polar vortex that has been affecting so many others. Tomorrow, they forecast the vortex to terminate…hopefully forever, along with Suzanne’s cold.

    But my focus is on tomorrow, the first time in way too long that I might be able to sneak in a ride in the midst of January 2014.

    Its a beautiful thing to be privileged enough to have a bike, let alone multiple bikes. My bikes are very different from one another. Aside from having my traditional classic road bike, I have more contemporary bikes including a Rowcycle and a Varicycle. For me however, a major difference between them is some have “instrumentation” others, more traditionally, do not.

    We’ve read and written about the Freedom of cycling, and that cycling itself is freedom. Suzanne brings about the valid point that all of this instrumentation detracts from our freedom. How true!

    I find myself torn which bike to take on “regular” rides, instrument or non-instrument. Of course you might find it funny or indicative of my personality. I use my bike to relax, detach and be free. I also use it to travel, for transport, and fitness and well being.

    On the one hand all of the “instrumentation” like the increasing number of “media devices” that are becoming all to common on bikes provide valuable information and for some security enabling them to derive greater use and enjoyment of their bikes.

    On the other hand, in the absence of GPS, I’ve stopped to ask for directions and been invited to a bbq, making a new friend. In the absence of a speedo, I’ve stood roadside with other cyclist in my path and contemplated the distance traveled and contemplated my speed.

    There is something to be said for having electronic instrumentation and media on board ones cycle. There is also something to be said for the civility of cycling and the absence of that same electronic instrumentation and media. However, there can be nothing negative said about the freedom of riding, free of electronic media and instrumentation.

    See you on the bike!

    • suzanne deveney on January 21, 2014 at 10:41 am

      I really enjoyed your response. So much additional food for thought here. I hope you were able to get out for that ride — whichever bike you decided to take with you. And that part about needing a life? I think you’re doing just fine! Happy riding.

      • Pedalpilot on January 22, 2014 at 3:07 pm

        I am glad you enjoyed my words, hopefully as much as I enjoyed yours. Indeed there is much food for thought all around us, and all about us….us cyclist, us people.

        I did ride that day, I chose to choose two of the bikes, and rode about ten miles on each. Although they both had instruments on them, I did not engage the instruments that day.

        I know the distance because it is a loop I ride when my time is limited. I enjoyed it more that day though as I chose to not engage the instruments and ride so that I would enjoy, not so focused on training.

        Thank you for suggesting I’m doing fine in life, but really, can one be doing fine when they just go around in circles or loops?

  3. Darryl is Loving the Bike on January 10, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Awesome. It really all comes down to two wheels on a frame, right? That is where our bike loving happiness comes from…..and everything else is just add ons.

    • suzanne deveney on January 21, 2014 at 10:39 am

      You are so correct my friend.

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