When The Numbers Add Up

This morning I picked up a few essentials on the WorkCycles, and it turns out there really is a run on toilet paper:

Clearly it’s time I upgraded to one of those fancy Japanese toilets that washes you. If you’re a Toilet Fred feel free to leave a comment, this is your moment to shine! I just hope I can carry it home on my WorkCycles.

Anyway, after completing my errand it was time to go for a ride. As you know, I’m deliriously happy about my new Rivendell, and I basically want to ride it all the time now. However, there’s a go-fast-in-circles ride this weekend, and I had to get my plastic going-fast-in-circles bike ready for it. So after doing so I rode that instead:

I have a strange relationship with this bike; I’m generally disinclined to ride it (when I want to do an old-fashioned road ride I’m inclined to opt for the LItespeed), but when I do ride it I’m always taken by how good it feels. It’s comfortable (as road bikes go), it feels fast, it handles perfectly, and the shifting and braking is objectively better than the early 21st century Campagnolo stuff on said Litespeed in every respect.

And yet, unless there’s a going-fast-in-circles event happening (which is what I got it for), I tend to pass it up. Why? Well, one reason is that I figure if I only ride it to go fast in circles then I won’t have to replace tires and chains and cassettes and brake pads and all that stuff very often. However, if I’m to be completely honest with myself, it’s really because when I do ride this bicycle I see roughly 100 more just like it. In fact, I’d say if you did a study of all the bicycles that cross the George Washington Bridge over the course of the year, more than half of them are black carbon fiber Specializeds.

So what does this mean? It means I’m completely and utterly superficial–or it means that this bike doesn’t have a soul, though the idea that bikes have souls is probably just something people like me tell themselves so they don’t have to admit they’re completely and utterly superficial.

Whatever the case, I was very much enjoying my ride astride the Plastic Fantastic. Moreover, I was sort of reveling in the irony of doing so after having spent the last few days on a Rivendell–an irony enhanced by the little device you may have noticed protruding from the handlebars:

See that? That is a brand-new Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt GPS bike computer in the new “Stealth Edition,” which was just announced like two days ago, and which I got my grubby little mitts on because life isn’t fair:

In addition to the new “Stealth” color, Wahoo have dropped the price of the Bolt to $229.99, and they’ve released a new firmware update for all their computers that will allow them to display more e-bike metrics.

All of the above no doubt means something to you if you’ve been in the market for a bike computer and have been looking at the Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt. As for me, I have not owned a proper bike computer since the pre-smartphone days, and after growing tired of dead batteries and wireless sensors that stopped picking up and all that other stuff I eventually gave up on them. However, since succumbing to Strava, it’s become increasingly clear to me I need a proper 21st century device. Until now I’ve just been using my Apple watch, and while it collects and uploads the appropriate data and all that it’s nothing like having a GPS computer mounted to your handlebars that can show you maps and stuff.

Obviously I’m only just getting acquainted with it, but so far I love it. See this hill?

By paging over to this screen I could see the gradient and my VAM:

Then, when I got home, the Bolt sent everything to Strava:

Where I learned that I’d completed the climb in eight minutes and six seconds:

That’s over two minutes slower than my personal best for the segment, which is five minutes and 49 seconds:

Armed with this data, I was then able to draw a solid and informed conclusion:

Which I knew anyway, but which speaks to the accuracy of this computer.

Hey, you may not need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows, and you may not need a computer to tell you how much you suck, but if you’re going to get bad news why not at least get it served up on a silver platter?

But it’s not just the suckage quantification I appreciate. It also displays notifications from your phone, and when you get a text the little lights on top flash, you get an audible alert, and the message pops up on your screen. (You can dismiss it with the push of a button.)

Oh sure, I know what you’re thinking: “Getting texts on my handlebars while I’m riding sounds like the definition of hell.” Well, maybe, but as the father of seventeen (17) children who squeezes in most of his riding during the week I do not have the luxury of unplugging. (Which is fine, I’ll gladly trade the luxury of riding during the week for the luxury of unplugging.) Let’s say the school calls me to tell me my kid’s puking and I have to pick him up, or that a storm is coming and they’re closing early, both of which have happened on multiple occasions; I cannot miss that shit. And you know what sucks? Getting a text while you’re riding and having to dig through all your layers to get a glimpse of your Apple watch to see what it says–by which point the alert has disappeared. So yeah, I want all that shit right in my face: the time of day, my texts, my phone calls, all that shit.

(And yes, of course you can turn all those alerts off when you don’t want them.)

And of course I haven’t even begun to explore the GPS stuff, which I’m really looking forward to doing. Granted, as the father of seventeen (17) children I don’t go too far afield most of the time, but I’ve certainly been on rides where I didn’t know where I was going and was forced to be a GPS moocher by following others. Now I’ll be able to ride at my own slow-ass pace.

Anyway, I have a lot to learn about this thing, but I’m looking forward to doing so and I’ll be sure to share my insights. In addition to the mounting bracket pictured above it also comes with a stem mount, which I’ll put on my Litespeed. As for the Rivendell, I understand they’re working on their own computer mount, so I’ll be sure to get one as soon as its available:

It’s built to last.

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