This post may read a little ‘stream of consciousness’ because that’s how the ideas are in my head, but I want to put something down on (electronic) paper before it all disappears.
When I first bought my Bianchi back in 2010, it was simply a bike with gears and I rode it for fun. Once I started training for my first Etape du Tour soon after, I inevitably began adding things.
First came a Polar HR monitor (generously bought for me by my coach, Rob), which helped greatly in my training.
Eventually this was replaced with a GPS device and I got myself on Strava. All good so far.
While training for my 2nd Haute Route in 2015 I purchased a power meter, which helped, too, even though my results were worse than my first HR in 2013. Unfortunately there hasn’t been a machine invented yet that increases your discipline…
I never got into GoPro cameras or other gadgets, but even the few electronic thingamajigs that I did have started to weigh me down, figuratively if not really actually. I began to feel as if my bike was morphing into something a little more complicated than I could live with, so I stopped wearing my HR monitor and sold my Garmin power meter, leaving me with my totally essential GPS device (for guiding, at least, it saves me from actually remembering routes).
Which brings me to the latest article that popped up today about a new gravel e-bike on the market. In just a few short years we’ve seen an explosion in electric bikes, from the homely hybrid (now most city hire schemes offer e-bikes to make commuting less sweaty) to road bikes to e-MTBs and now gravel.
I know there’s a ‘legitimate market’ for all this stuff and I don’t want to get into a discussion about why people are riding bikes with ‘assistance’, but I do wonder to myself why, in a world that nearly everyone agrees is at least travelling towards a climate-crisis cliff (unless we have already gone over it and don’t know it yet), we continue to complicate stuff by adding electricity.
I feel the same way about the even bigger explosion in SUV sales worldwide. If we are living a climate crisis, we surely should be making smaller cars. And even electric cars have to get their electricity from someplace (quite often coal), but let’s not talk about that either.
I remember the first time I saw an electric scooter in Paris and immediately had an aversion to the concept. What ever happened to walking, especially in Paris, probably the best city to do it in? I just saw a woman this morning on what I can only call a little electric moped, puttering down the bike bath along Boulevard Gambetta. I didn’t even see any pedals on that thing.
I definitely know that I’m not the greenest man in town. I have a car, for one, and I’ve been known to use it to drive less than 2 km for a bag of chips. But let’s not make this about me, I just want to complain about a world that appears to be going in a direction I might not approve of. Thank goodness we have the craft beer movement, or I might just be giving up on humanity.