A slug of moulded plastic, trailing a single wire.
A simple (so they blithely tell me) sensor
That, somehow, feels the thousandth-of-a-second tug
From a passing pea-sized magnet
And from that infinitesimal impulse
Calculates my ground-speed
And telegraphs the blessed motor
All stop or full ahead.
Until it fails.
And in that moment,
Heart in shoes,
I am crushingly aware
That I have no idea
How any of this works:
I cannot make, mend or even comprehend
The least of all the myriad devices
That make my world go round:
No wheels, axles, cogs or clues;
They go about their work
Silent, motionless, inscrutable,
Leaving me on the roadside, wondering
Exactly which of us
Is truly in control.
Suffered my first away-from-home system failure on the e-mtb yesterday (error code 503 means a speed sensor issue, for any interested Bosch Performance CX users out there). Fortunately it happened a) fairly close to the main road; b) less than four miles from the bike shop; and c) during opening hours. All painlessly resolved thanks to Danny and his excellent crew; but a reminder of our profound, unthinking reliance on technology that we (or at least I) increasingly can’t fix ourselves, and don’t really understand. N.
Suddenly, a new power rises,
Liberating, tapping into
Unseen fundamental forces,
Bringing aid and hope of rescue.
Unexpected, out of nowhere,
One small spark. A new connection
Made, potential to kinetic,
Answers all my burning questions.
Surging, urging onwards, upwards
Higher, faster, far beyond my
Obstacles and limitations,
All the pain discharged, forgotten.
I will seize and ride the lightning
Take control then be conducted;
Follow where this current draws me
Remade and regenerated.
Behold the Volt Connect – the solution to my wrecked knees, made possible by a wonderful early birthday gift from my folks. It’s an e-bike, with an electric motor that gives me a choice of three levels of boost up the hills, but cuts out at 15.5mph (which in practice means on the flat and downhill). On the ‘High’ boost setting, climbing is virtually effortless, and takes all the strain off my joints. On ‘Eco’ mode, the battery is good for 70 miles or so, which is plenty for me! It’s very early days, but I’m a complete convert, and I think it’s going to be genuinely life-altering. Will keep you posted. N.
(BTW, the metre is trochaic tetrameter, best (or at least most famously) employed by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in ‘The Song of Hiawatha’. I like it for its sense of relentless, forward energy, which seemed to go well with the subject!)