Monday, January 31, 2005


Luddite (n.) Any of a group of British workmen who, between 1811and 1816, rioted and destroyed laborsaving textile machinery in the belief that such machinery would diminish employment. [After Ned Ludd, a legendary leader.]

I'm a technological Luddite, an analog guy wandering through a digital world. All my computers are obsolete. Most of them still use Windows 98 because I've managed to get them running reliably (most of the time) and they meet my simple needs.

All my bikes are old, too. Most of them are steel, some equipped with fixed gears and some as single speeds. Even the multi-geared bikes are obsolete - nothing more modern than an 8 speed. There are only 2 exceptions - my Giant carbon fiber racing bike, and an old Schwinn Aluminum that I bought as a donor bike for parts. I've never ridden the Schwinn.

I try to keep this blog simple too. I use an old Palm IIIc with the Avantgo information service, and I know from experience that plain text looks better on the PDA. It loads faster and doesn't take up much memory space. This may not mean much to someone with high-speed connections, but I'm still using dial-up too! Hey, it's like Morse code, only a little faster. And I can use it from any telephone.

Why mention all this?

As I've gotten older, I've developed a resistance to change, or put another way, an unwillingness to change. I don't want or need the latest titanium gadget, the fastest computer, or a bicycle with a bewildering number of gears. None of it will make me a better or faster rider. Only better training can do that, and frankly I don't have the time. When I feel strong, I push hard. When I feel puny, I go much easier. It's true that I use a heart rate monitor at times, but mostly I use it as a rev limiter in the worst summer heat.

There's some advantage to being a Luddite. By the time I adopt some newfangled thing like STI or clipless pedals, the systems are free of bugs and very reliable. At this rate, I may switch to a 9 speed system in another 4 or 5 years, or I may dig in my technological heels and give up multiple gears entirely. Or I could go off on a different tangent and build a touring/commuting
bike around a Shimano Nexus 7 speed hub.

Maybe I could turn into a total wild man and actually ride an aluminum bike! Imagine that.

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