Today I did my usual park and ride from one of the local supermarkets near the boys schools. The aim was to ride along the river on my 29er to the M25 and back again. I calculated this to be ~70km. The trail was rutted, iced up mud for the 1st 10km which made for a bumpy ride. To avoid the worst sections I had the choice of following less bumpy terrain either side of the trail-on the river side or on the fenced barbed wire side. Given the temperature and the state of the river I chose the risk of a ripped jacket and painful fall over an ice bath.
Parts of the river were frozen, an inch thick in parts. I know this because a barge was heading upstream cracking ice leaving broken islands of the stuff in its wake floating towards the bank.
I stopped at 19km to take a photo at Parndon Mill lock to show off on Strava. This is when I discovered that my phone wasn’t responding to any touching, button pressing. I spent a frustrating time restarting, taking the battery out…whatever I could think of to restart the ride app to no avail. Even switching it off gave it a life of its own, restarting without a command!
So I made my way further, resigned to visions of using old phone number 2 that is not “smart” so would be unable to track ride numbers. “F@€# it” I thought,”my Strava timeline is chocka full of virtual reality training rides anyway which has become boring. Dont get me wrong, I’m not in the camp that doesn’t think that these aren’t “proper” bike rides. I get the training aspect but miss seeing others’ routes that I might like to ride parts of some day. Maybe part of the enjoyment is gone with this obsession of chasing targets, numbers & distances that I would probably cover anyway if I didn’t measure them…but wouldn’t I miss it? Achievement of the goal, accomplishing something?”. I had this conversation with myself all the way to Dobbs Weir save for taking a detour around a closed section of the towpath and watching a heron successfully hunt and kill its over sized fishy portion for brunch.
This conversation struck me as remarkably similar to the giving up smoking one-being afraid of living without a psychological need for a prop, leaving the comfort zone of a familiar “friend”. “I am not buying another phone this close to contract renewal so I’ll just have to do without” I told myself. “Who knows, maybe you might even enjoy not having to worry about metres climbed or average speeds etc while stopped in traffic…”. At Dobbs Weir I decided to turn around. It was cold and with my new found liberation of not having to grind out numbers I decided that I didn’t need to prove anything-this will be a great summer ride anyway.
By the time I had convinced myself that this was a great idea I was back at Parndon Mill lock and decided to stop for my packed lunch. Out of habit I looked at my phone. Off. After I ate, I tried to switch on again and hey presto it restarts the Strava app but the screen froze on the ride stopped page so I threw it in my pocket and made my way back to the car park.
When I got back and started to charge, I stopped my ride and uploaded it. My map of the ride follows my route for 19km to Parndon Mill only but the route back follows 2 straight lines (as the crow flies so to speak) back to the van. That malfunction cost me 18km and I’m still in the process of convincing myself that it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t appear on Strava.
The phone is an old Samsung S3 and the temperature of 0°C may have something to do with the malfunction. But I’ve ridden in -7°C using that phone recently in the same jacket pocket with no problem. Maybe it is a sign that the phone is nearing the end of its usable life but it does make me wonder if anyone else has had this issue with their phone. Please comment below if it has happened to you.