By: Bruce Mike
Next weekend, my lovely bride and I are going on a little weekend getaway ride to Hayward, Wisconsin. We’re staying at a really nice little Bed & Breakfast with three other couples. This appears to be an annual trip which started last year. I’m not a big fan of B&Bs, but this one will be occupied by just the six of us so I won’t have to eat with strangers. The folks we’re going with are all good riders and really good friends. It’s been my experience that riding with good travel companions is extremely important. We’ve been on trips with all of them and have had nothing but fun.
There are a couple of different groups of friends that I ride with. Within each group, there tends to be someone who always rides lead and someone who always rides at the back. I rarely ride lead in any group because I have difficulty with the group concept. I have a tendency to think about me and not anybody else so if I’m leading, I often end up riding alone. I don’t have a problem not leading, I prefer to follow because it limits my need to make decisions. All I have to worry about is riding.
This particular group has a great leader. He is patient and always well-prepared. He’s a bit of a gadget guy so naturally our trip will be planned out on a GPS. Last year we did this trip in early May and on that particular weekend it was really cold. It took us about seven hours to cover the roughly 150 miles. Did I mention these are fun travel companions? The GPS was used but fairly well-ignored. On this type of trip, I have no problem with lots of stops and screwing around. When all you have to cover in a day is a 150 miles it has to be about the journey and not about the destination.
Here is a posting from my facebook page, “I have our ride all planned out. It is about 3:15. We have 2 stops spaced out 44-50 miles. 10-20 minutes per stop should put us at the Hollyberry Inn at approximately 6:00 pm”. I’m sure the route he has planned will be very nice. Whether we stick to it is a whole different thing. I don’t have a problem with GPS, smart phones or any of the other gadgets available these days. In fact, I have a house full of computers, both laptop and desktop variety. I have an iPhone and so does my wife. What bothers me is our society’s dependence, as well as my own, on all these electronics.
I have avoided getting a GPS device up to this point in my life and I don’t see myself getting one in the near future. I seem to have drawn a line at this piece of technology and I’m pretty determined not to cross it. I’ve always liked maps and I don’t have a lot of trouble asking directions. My wife outfitted my bike with a compass which I have used on numerous occasions. When it comes to travelling, not knowing exactly where I am or the “best” way to get where I am going heightens the sense of adventure. There were a couple of years on the Minnesota 1000 where I was completely lost in the middle of nowhere. Both times I knew what state I was in so I headed in the direction of Minnesota and eventually I recognized something.
I think after this little GPS-guided trip, I’ll get on my bike and just go. Maybe north, then east…