Random Tandem Observations
Yesterday, we met our annual quota of perfect springtime cyling days: one. The temperature was about eighty degrees, the wind was light, the skies cloudless...and we had the day off. While most in these parts head for the golf course on such days, we tend to confirm our reputations as, well, eccentric, by shunning those more socially acceptable activities and, instead, jumping on the tandem for a cruise.
Because of the relatively benign conditions, I had time to cogitate on a few of the weightier issues of life, those little things that we all need to take time out to consider, but rarely do.
It is said that a man with two clocks never knows what time it is. Such is the plight of the tandemers with two computers, each with separate input leads. On this fine day, we were about fifteen minutes into the ride when I glanced down and noted that my computer was registering zero mph. I was pretty sure we were moving faster than that, so I jiggled it a little (a highly technical undertaking not recommended for the inexperienced) and got it started again. Unfortunately, I now was data-challenged, a sorry state for the cyclist with an accounting background who believes that if it can't be input to a spreadsheet, it didn't really happen. But, I managed to put it out of my mind until we neared the end of the ride, thinking that I would combine my time reading with Debbie's mileage, and everything would be nice and documentable and copesetic*.
"So," I queried, "what is your mileage?", noting that mine was, at that point, 18.1 miles. "17.5," she said. "What?! How could that be; did you turn your computer off? What is your elapsed time?" "About 61 minutes." That's close to what I had.
Well, this is a fine state of affairs indeed. What's the point of even getting on a bicycle unless you can generate usable statistics? Debbie later recalled that she also had noticed that her speed reading had gone temporarily dead, one of those little coincidences that later is explained on an X-Files episode as the work of communist aliens with expired NRA memberships.
I had no choice but to fill in the gaps, using my many years of experience to interpolate, extrapolate, and otherwise guess-polate the relevant data profile of our ride. The log entry for this day reads as follows: distance - 127 kilometers; elapsed time - 14 minutes, 12 seconds; average speed - 42 (take your pick of units).
I guess that's the real reason I never took up golf. Nobody would ever believe my scores!
* Did you know that there are four acceptable ways of spelling "copesetic", according to the dictionary, none of which are recognized by my spellchecker?