LJWorld.com weblogs Rolling along
Hang up and … ride?
I know some people are umbilically attached to their cell phones.I’m not one of them.But I almost never head out for a ride — whether a long, recreational jaunt in the country or a short cross-town commute — without bringing my cell along.Mostly, it’s for safety reasons.If I suffer a mechanical miles from home, I can always call for a ride. I’ve used it to call in a fire alarm and a fight, used it to call an ambulance (for me) and the authorities (for somebody else). I’ve loaned it to a stranded motorist and used it to make excuses for why I was late coming home. Again.I have not, however, used it just to gab.I know some people can drive and blab at the same time with equal adroitness, but I also know the world would be a better place if most folks concentrated on one or the other.Whatever.But phoning on two wheels is significantly different than talking on four.First, there’s the obvious balance issue. While it’s relatively easy to hold a cell to one ear and flick a steering wheel, it’s quite another to turn the trick on a bike. Not impossible, certainly, but some coordination is required.And then there’s the heavy-breathing factor. Driving isn’t strenuous. Cycling can be.I often speak with J-W photographer Nick Krug about his pick of pics for upcoming issues, and on a couple of occasions I’ve had to converse on the roll. He can always tell, probably because my half of the conversation sounds like this: “So … (pant) … what do you think … (pant, pant) … is the most … (pant) … indicative photo … (pant) … from the game?”I suppose I could go the Bluetooth route, though I’m not sure I could find a headset that I could squeeze between my helmet straps and, this time of year, under my skullcap.And then there’s the fact that I’d be That Guy. You know, the guy with the Bluetooth.Worse yet, I might be the guy you see pedaling through town talking (apparently) to himself. I don’t need to give any more credence to the crazy-guy-on-a-bike stereotype.And then there’s texting.I know some people better at both texting and cycling can pull it off, but I can’t.That’s not to say I haven’t tried.One night on my way home, I remembered I needed to fix an upcoming schedule, so I thought I’d send myself a text-message reminder.It was late (actually early), and I was alone on the road.I sat up, fished out my cell phone, carefully pulled both hands off the bars and adopted the Blackberry Prayer position. Carefully, since I’m a lousy hands-free cyclist and even worse texter, I batted out a simple message to myself: “dont forget to fix sked,” and fired it off.When I retrieved it the following morning, I was so proud of myself until I actually called it up and read, “dddddddddpbt dooeegettoooooo fuz ajeddddd.”Oh, well. I know what I meant.