At the risk of sounding pretentious, many of us like to ride our bikes for reasons of escape.
We like to head off into the wild with nothing more than a drink, a snack, and a spare inner tube (oh, and maybe a credit card for the café stop), and follow our nose in search of adventure.
Which is all well and good, but what happens if you’re carrying your smart phone in your jersey pocket, purely for safety reasons of course, and you hear the tell-tale tinkle of a message or an e-mail punctuating the still country air and filtering through?
“Pah, ignore it!” you think, and pedal on.
Until you start to mull things over and wonder what you’re missing.
It could easily be a scam e-mail from a Nigerian business man offering you 20 billion dollars in exchange for nothing more than every last one of your personal details. It might be a generic message from your mobile phone network provider informing you that you – special, individual you – have the chance to buy tickets for a soon-to-be sell out gig by a singer song-writing popstrel you’ve never heard of.
Or it might be something important.
Imagine some family life event of great importance is playing out back at home and you, the selfish cyclist, missed it all because you were busily engaged in the important task of riding your bike, and you couldn’t possibly allow your ‘freedom’ and ‘escape’ to be interrupted by something so vulgar as a mobile phone message.
“Hmmm, can’t risk that, better check my messages”, you think.
If you are the type who likes to maintain your air of nonchalance you might slip your phone from your jersey pocket and scroll though it whilst riding non-handed. Probably wise to pull over to the side of the road though.
Either way, you interrupt your free spirited escapade only to discover that said message was not a scam e-mail or a 21st century snake-oil salesman, and that no life-changing family related event is currently under way.
Instead, one of your work colleagues – a person who knows better than anyone how important a bike ride is for the maintenance of your sanity and general state of mind – has decided that now is the right time to pose you a work-related question.
You know the sort of thing: trivial, but if it’s not answered within five minutes or so it’s sure to set in motion a chain-reaction of misinformation and misunderstanding which will take a whole morning for you to unravel.
“%$& &*$£” $*&^”, you think to yourself, and pull over to fire back a succinct message of instruction.
Which quickly turns into a rapid fire back and forth e-mail exchange. Before developing into a phone call to clarify matters. Which has the effect of punctuating the remaining hour and a half of your ride with work-think and mental calculations about what you need to be doing tomorrow.
So much for escape.
Next time, don’t answer the phone. Or even better, you could just leave it behind when you go out.
That is allowed, apparently.