Technology! Brain baffling or does it just baffle the brain? I think it is a bit of both. But to think that at my age, I’m even familiar how to read email and actually use an iPhone is more baffling. I grew up in an age where you actually wrote notes in a book with a pen in class. Computers were huge reel-to-reel machines that took up floors in office spaces and only the people who were sending rockets to the moon used them. Not for a minute did I think that computers would inhabit every household in the western world and be an integral part of daily life. But time marches on, technology advances and we all have to keep up. So here I find myself, typing away on my laptop, one finger at a time, blogging about my astonishment of modern culture and society, and to be quite honest, once I have gotten over being baffled, I’m pretty impressed with myself.
The reason why I am sprouting forth about the wonders of technology is mainly in regard to how it has affected me and my passion for motorcycles. I grew up when it was difficult to kick start a little 50cc bike. I’m not sure whether it was because I was 15 years old, and hadn’t really developed my muscles, but that sense of accomplishment between that kick down and the turn of the engine just brings a smile to my face now. As a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood, I would say that was the landmark for me. I never really felt like a man until I could kick-start my own bike. When electric starters were introduced, it was a bittersweet moment for me. Starting a bike by turning a key and pressing a button, kind of took away a bit of my bravado. But I soon made up for that with the more powerful engines on the motorcycle. So now instead of the bike sounding like a sewing machine sputtering down the road, I was now infecting the neighborhood with noise pollution that roared to life with a push of a button.
But it’s really only in the last ten years that the technological advancements have been married to the motorcycle. I’m talking about GPS, blue tooth, MP3’s, wireless communication, computers in the bike that tell you about fuel consumption, distance travelled, problems with the engine, brakes, lights and current weigh of the bike. And all of this information overload has been made so simple and easy to use. No need for a degree in engineering to find out the directions to the next gas station. Just touch the screen where the gas icon is and I can find the closest place to top up. In my younger years, part of the excitement of a road trip was reaching a gas station on fumes alone. Now in my more comfortable years, the likelihood of that happening is not so great. Information is power, so with the loss of adventure comes an empowerment of knowledge. I feel smarter, but still lust for the wide open road and the excitement of the wind in my hair has not wavered.
Another area that technology has embraced motorcycle culture is with the buying and selling of motorcycles. If you know what you’re looking for, you are no longer limited to your local dealerships. You can peruse the internet looking for exactly what you want all over the country and occasionally out of the country. You can shop and compare, haggle, bid, customize and have the bike shipped to your front door. The wonders of technology allow you to enjoy tracking your new motorcycle along the journey. The motorcycle shipping company supplies you with a tracking number and it works just like FedEx. So at all stages you know where your new baby is and when it will see it’s new home.
So in conclusion, to tie it all up, technology is brain baffling! I’m baffled how we lived without it for so long. I’m baffled that it’s so easy to use. I’m baffled that people fight it. It’s designed to make our lives more convenient and in my opinion, it has succeeded.