|Can you imagine cycling without one of these?|
Or, maybe that's just not really what is happening here. Consider that by the very nature of social media, we are, or can be, more aware of who is out there. Think about the Tour Divide, or even better, its predecessor, The Great Divide Race. In the late '90's, John Stamstad rode the route solo. Did anyone follow that dot? Well, of course not. He wasn't wired with a SPOT device. So it was with everyone else that was "out there" previous to SPOT's launch in 2007, social media, Strava, and whatever else you have to "connect" with. In other words, who can really say that folks weren't "out there" in just as big a way then as they are today? What we can say is that in 2017 we are more aware than ever of who is doing this adventuring by bicycle.
Conversely, it is also easier than ever to be found. Think about it: We used to get on our bicycles to "get away from it all", but are we doing that anymore? Most of the time, we are not. Especially if we are carrying a cell phone. At a moment's notice, we can be drawn right back in to the rat race by a text, a notification, or a phone call. That doesn't even count devices like GPS computers for cycling which can push notifications right to your wrist or handlebars. Heck.....they even have a heads-up display for glasses for cycling now! Talk about life being "in your face"!
Of course, all those devices with GPS can be tracked too, so you can have a significant other or (who knows who) tracking your every move out there. Is that what we signed up for when we went in search of adventure?
Oh, you may say that I should have my cell phone handy in case of an emergency, but really..... If I can't be self-supported/self-sufficient, should I be riding out in the country at all? Then there might be the super rare time I get myself injured, have a bad mechanical, or whatever, but look...... That's a risk I'm willing to take that wasn't a rarity at all previous to 2007 or so. Stop and think about that for a minute. Everyone that rode a bicycle away from a population center before then was likely doing what I do now when I forget my phone at home. It's a risk I'm willing to take anytime now.
But that said, I know I am in an ever shrinking group of like-minded people. I get pressure all the time from folks wanting routes provided to them, to have Trans Iowa have GPS downloadable course maps, to have on-line registration for that event, and on and on. It's hard to keep "on point" when everyone seems to be going whole hog for being connected and have everything handed to them on a silver platter when it comes to adventure stuff. Gravel roads seem to freak folks out, or they are just to lazy to do some simple research and take a small risk to see what is out there. I don't think I am remarkable in that I just go out and ride and see what I can find, but then again, it seems a lot of people are hamstrung by the idea of just winging it. It really isn't that tough, in my opinion.
Plus, the lessons learned make memories and teach you far more than checking off a list from some internet site and downloading a pre-ridden course on your GPS device. I don't know.......
Maybe I've got it all wrong.......