Should We Take a Break From Technology?
Let’s start with the obvious – we live in a time when technology and everyday life are intertwined and it is difficult for us to even imagine that things could and used to be different. We got used to various devices that we constantly carry with us to stay connected to friends, colleagues, to enjoy music, relax with some good reading or just hang out on social media.
For all of us who like to spend time outdoors, cycling and exploring, these modern gadgets are particularly useful. At some point, we have discovered and started to use cycling computers, GPS devices and mobile apps designed for cyclists and ready to use on our smartphones.
It is no longer enough just to make some sandwiches, pack a bottle of water and spare tube and go as far as we can. We need to consult with our computers, laptops and phones about which route to take, where to expect traffic jams and how to avoid them and what the weather is going to be like.
Make no mistake, we do not advocate a return to the Stone Age and relying solely on our own natural abilities to survive.
The benefits of the technology are numerous. Thanks to mobile phones, in case of an accident, help is only a phone call away. The possibility of communicating with friends and family every step of the way makes us feel secure, especially during long journeys by bike. Thanks to GPS technology, the route we want to take can be easily studied beforehand, thus avoiding any unpleasant surprises. Planning the route can be time consuming and technology is here to make things easier for us. Last but not least, how could we take hundreds of photos on our trips and share them with our friends without smartphones and social media? Or let everybody know about the kilometres and uphills covered if it wasn’t for the Strava app?
All that aside, there is one question we should ask ourselves – why do we ride a bike in the first place? For some of us cycling is a way of relaxing and getting away from everyday life, others ride a bike to stay fit and take care of health, some use it for long cruises. Whatever the reason might be, one thing we all have in common – the need to escape from a routine.
But, can we really do that if we stay attached to a screen all the time? And while we stay focused on a GPS device trying not to take a wrong turn, we can easily miss a bird on a tree or a hedgehog in the grass. We may take a million photographs of the sunset but if we are not aware of the nature that surrounds us, its sounds, colours and scents, what is the point? No photograph can capture that.
Security comes first. Always, there’s no exception to the rule. That’s why a mobile phone, a charged battery, good company and thorough preparations are essential for a safe and a pleasant ride.
Even so, when you plan your next trip, consider packing paper maps instead of digital ones and taking photos with a camera instead of a smartphone. It will take you some time to get used to it, but believe me, paying attention to the scenery, chatting to your companion and soaking up colours and sounds of nature will make your bike ride a completely new experience.
You might not be able to store it in the app or on the phone, but you can certainly store it in your memory and in your heart.
Try something different next time you go cycling, you might like it 😉