Video killed the radio star
Remember that old Queen song at the height of the techno revolution? Those days when Sir Clive Sinclair believed that we'd all be riding around in Lego Racers cars and the Laser Disc was seen as the next best thing - showing my age here guys!
Looking back now it all seems so old fashioned, despite being the cutting edge of available tech. It certainly made a difference to the old radiogramme in the corner, with the ability to put 6 LPs stacked. Where am I going with this? Bare with me guys and it'll all become clear. I promise.
The techno landscape today has very little in common with how we lived 10 years ago, let alone 30 or 40 years ago. We've probably moved on further in my lifetime than the time between the end of the Victorian age and the swinging sixties - awesome hey! And yet for me, the one area in which we seem to have gone backwards is in how we use our leisure time with friends.
My parents both came from the outdoor community; dad with his wild mountain trips and bothies in the hills, and mum with her CTC and Rough Stuff Fellowship cycling trips to Youth Hostels all over the British Isles - including Scotland...now there's a thing. Evening cycle rides by all accounts were a case of people meeting up, riding along the lanes chatting away, always ensuring that a good pub was at the end and a good cafe at weekend lunchtimes. Friendships were formed that withstood lifetimes. They knew each other, not just their abilities on Mickley Bank. To me this has always been the way to enjoy the outdoors. The first thing my mates and I would do on climbing / camping trips would be to:
1. Locate the pub;
2. Drop the beers in the river to keep cool by the tents;
3. Oh, and then go climbing.
In terms of cycling, I find it very difficult to ride past a good cafe, and if we don't have a cafe or pub at the end then you need help my friend. There are people out there who can help you!
The advent of current technologies, whilst helping us all to train and become fitter is in danger of being mis-used; yep, I said mis-used. I'm reasonably sure that the great guys that developed this fantastic app never intended it to be the key to social isolation. That's why they gave it a 'pause' button! Look closely and it's the one with the two parallel red lines in the centre of the circles. It ought to read:
"Press here to begin social interaction"
Whilst Strava has it's uses, and I applaud these, we're all in danger of failing to see the whole point of the app and indeed the whole reason for cycling with others; to get fitter and to enjoy great rides with friends - and maybe chat along the way. On a weekday local ride some weeks ago, a new rider was falling badly behind. We stopped and only one person volunteered to ride slowly with her - me. Even her husband cycled off into the sunset! I'd love to have been a fly on the wall that night. I was gob-smacked to say the least. She probably hasn't been back. I certainly haven't put myself out to attend the rides since, albeit I will if I'm free as there are some great guys there.
On a more recent ride in the Dales, a good friend and I made a point of setting out with our halfway halt a mere 15 miles away at Askrigg. Not far I know, and yes we could have cycled the full 30 without stopping. But then again we would have missed out on a great brew on the main street opposite the church and a good 20 minutes or so of people watching and chilling out. We even managed a old chin wag on the way there. Most importantly, we'd read the Strava instructions, listened to mum and dad like good boys and had a really good time together on the bikes. The alternative? In reality, nothing more than riding alone on a spinning bike in the gym with a bit of a breeze going on. You could of course save the petrol and stay in the gym. And for the wind - just plug in an electric fan! If you had some dark lenses on, you probably wouldn't notice the difference.
The pedalnorth suggestion: next time you're planning a ride, long or short, plan in a great stop and press pause - and remember what cycling is all about. Use Strava and don't abuse its benefits.