We live in the Information Age. Most people don’t seem to realise that information consumes time. In fact, it has a voracious appetite for devouring whatever time you may have. In this Information Age, we’ve become accustomed, even addicted, to living in an always-on, always-connected world.
Don’t believe me? Try leaving your phone switched off for a full 24 hours, while also not logging on to any other digital device. The scale of your digital addiction will soon become uncomfortably apparent.
A large, and seemingly growing number of cyclists are deeply addicted to information. After all, we live in an age of Strava. Even people who aren’t competitive are increasingly logging their rides, even if only to see where they cycled, and perhaps keep track of their overall mileage.
At this point I need to explain there’s nothing wrong with keeping track of your cycling stats, and if you’re doing structured training, doing so is of course essential.
And yet, however useful Strava*, or your Garmin* may be, it doesn’t only add to your cycling, but also takes away from it.
*Other apps and cycle computers are available, but I can’t be bothered to list even just the most popular ones, so simply went with the top two.
How does it take away from your cycling? Simple: how often are you looking at you speed, or cadence, or perhaps the gradient, instead of looking around and experiencing – truly experiencing – the landscape through which you’re riding?
Here’s a suggestion: go for a non-digital ride. If you absolutely must log your ride, start your Garmin, then put it away, so it’s not on your handlebars. Ensure you have no visible metrics, not even what speed you’re doing. Go on a route you know well, or try to memorise a new route, but don’t rely on digital navigation at all.
Instead of looking at the gradient you’re cycling up, just look at the environment you’re cycling through. Feel the gradient in your legs. Free yourself from information overload, even if only for a single ride every so often.
I expect you’ll feel better for it, but you won’t know till you’ve tried it!