Technology and MTB: how DO you use that infernal gadget!?



technophobe: someone who dislikes new technology, especially computers, and is not able to use it with confidence

(Cambridge Dictionary)

Ummm….. yep …. sounds like me, although I would not normally label myself “technophobe”. I might say I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to technology, or that I’m more of a ‘people person’ and find technology less interesting. I definitely have shown a preference for other people to sort out my tech issues with computers, gadgets and other devices, and this mostly works fine because some people seem to really enjoy it. Or at least have a bit of an idea of what they are doing and can get the job done quickly.

Technology and MTB have a pretty interesting relationship. Technology has enabled the development and production of amazing equipment – lightweight and strong bike frames, hydration packs, sweat-wicking kit, chamois and knicks that enable all-day riding, exercise nutrition, pocket-sized phone cameras, and GPS devices.

Without thinking about the work that has gone into developing this and more, we tend to jump on our bikes every weekend or more often if we’re lucky, and hit the forest trails for our fix of nature and exercise. BUT … with all this technology are we really escaping modern life? So far, I’ve been content to let hubby navigate via his GPS because this enables me to focus on the environment (and staying upright on my bike).


But recently I acquired a Garmin Edge 520, and hmmmm….. I have to learn how to use it. The first step being to find the on / off button, and decipher the teeny tiny icons that decorate the screen. Setting it up with my personal profile (“what …. why does it need to know how tall I am?”) and then being able to consistently turn it on, get to the application I want to use, save the ride, download it to an even bigger device and analyse the stats.

Hmmmm …. well, the first time I rode alone, I managed to successfully attach it to my bike, turn it on and select my training program. It only took half an hour(!) Yes, that’s half my ride time gone already. I heard that inner voice tell me I’m stupid, it’s stupid, whoever invented this was stupid, why don’t they make things with logical users in mind. I even had a thought about throwing it away!

But I also heard ANOTHER voice tell me I just need to practise, get to know it, step into the space of being a learner rather than a technophobe, give myself time, take my own path to learning rather than expecting myself to follow someone else’s learning path.

And what do you know?! This little infernal gadget was actually pretty fun to have on board! I got to challenge myself to work harder based on heart rate, distance, time and cadence. I got to save it, view my ride map and can compare my improvements over time. I can pre-set rides or follow maps as I go. I’ll be more confident to go on rides alone or with others who don’t have GPS devices (just in case getting lost comes into the picture!).

Technophobe or not, it really doesn’t matter. If you have the desire to take something on board, you can, with persistence and practice; and create that extra bit of fun you didn’t know you could have!