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Too Much of a Good Thing? | Cypress Semiconductor

Too Much of a Good Thing?

There's a bit too much software in my life at the moment. It kinda crept in when I wasn't looking and I have to make it go away again now.

I recently got back into cycling after an injury lay-off. It was not a cycling injury that caused the problem you understand. It was, in fact, a not-cycling injury. The type that occurs after the truck hits you and you immediately go from cycling to no longer cycling, and then you're injured. Anyway, that's all fixed now and I can do hilarious party tricks with my collar bone. Bonus! It's time to get back on the bike.

A simple, low-tech pleasure you might think? But no, not for me. I bought a new watch instead. I'm not the youngest of my riding friends you see. Nor am I the thinnest. OK, I'm the old, fat one. And with long-neglected thigh muscles, off-the-chart blood pressure, and a dangerously competitive nature I thought it would be wise to go high-tech on the early-warning systems! So I got one of those fancy watches that doubles up as a speedometer, triples as a tachometer, and quadruples as a heart-rate monitor.

It works great. If you define working as measuring time, speed, revolution and BPM! The trouble is, I don't. It's clever software. Reliable and precise. But it doesn't do anything I don't already know about. I know when I'm speeding because the cars stop overtaking me and the police give you that stare. I know what 18mph feels like because it doesn't hurt after an hour whereas 22mph does. An efficient cadence on a bike is between 80 and 90rpm. Lower than that and you either don't get anywhere or your thighs start burning. Go higher and you start bouncing around on the saddle like someone dropped tin-tacks in your shorts. Again.

And then we get to the heart rate monitoring, which has proven educational but now drives me crazy. It turns out that at 120bpm you can have a sandwich and finish a sudoku puzzle while riding along in comfort. At 140 you don't get tired but you do sweat enough that no-one wants to be near you after a while. At 160 you sweat like a frisky racehorse and, like most thoroughbreds, you're only good for short distances. At 180 you're probably defying doctor's orders and have turned an alarming new color but you've lost the ability to read the screen anyway, so what use is it?

This is where the beeping comes in. It's really clever and sets min and max rates for your "work out" (whatever one of those is). But, you stop at the traffic lights and off it goes, beeping away to say "you lazy git, get back on those pedals and put some effort in!". Build up a good rhythm and off it goes again with the warning that you're gonna pop a blood vessel!

That's just a bit too much software for me. It's time to go low-tech again. I'm taking the bike on vacation with me for a couple of weeks. I'm leaving the watch behind.

And the phone. And the laptop. And, oh yes, this blog!

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