Don’t waste time looking at numbers

One thing I’ve always liked best about riding bikes is that there are no electronic devices around and that you can concentrate on things other than numbers, displays and buttons. Working with computers all day I quickly found that having time without them around is a precious thing to have.

Last week I was riding with a new group of people. I had met one of them before, the rest I had never seen. When we met, I instantly noticed to amount of “gimmicks” they brought. One of them had an iPhone attached to his handlebar, the other one had a GPS device and a speed indicator thingy. The third guy had a camera attached to his helmet, another one to his handlebar and the last of them had a camera on his helmet and a speed indicator on the stem.

The iPhone apparently was supposed to track via GPS where we rode but alongside of that, it constantly (like every couple of minutes) kept saying “lost GPS signal” “cannot find GPS signal”. Noooo, my friend, that’s not annoying … The speed indicator guys were constantly talking about what they saw on their tiny displays. “Mine shows 16 km/h”, “mine shows 16,5 km/h” “hmm, maybe your settings are wrong, you know … you have to tweak this and that setting if you put on a bigger tire” … Wah! I was so annoyed that by the time we arrived at the first trail entry that in my head I had already marked each of those guys as “never ride with him again”.

Then we hit the first trail. It’s December, so there are a lot of leaves and the ground is soft and muddy. If there are leaves on top of mud, you better try not braking too hard because all that will happen is tires instantly blocking on the leaves and start sliding on top of the soft mud. But beginners do that. It’s one of the most instinctive things people do when they are afraid of something – they brake. So every single one of those guys slipped and fell within the first 50 meters of the trail and I couldn’t help but smile about this. Being equipped with literally thousand of Euros worth of eletronic gadgets doesn’t make anyone better rider.

I don’t say these things are bad to have around, how could I since I also carry a GPS device and a mobile phone in my backpack. The mobile is good to have around in case something happens and you have to call someone and the GPS device is nice to look at after the ride in order to know where you were and how far and long you have ridden. But wouldn’t concentrating on your riding rather than your numbers bring way more joy and way more improvement to your riding? I strongly think so and would encourage every beginner mountainbike rider not to focus on these electronic devices. Enjoy the ride, don’t waste time with looking at numbers.

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