There was a time, not that many years ago, when going out for a bike ride was very much an analogue experience. Then Garmin and Strava came along, and social media bloomed and blossomed, and now a bike ride, like much else of what we do, is as digital an experience as you want it to be.
You could say, in this interconnected digital world that we all now live, that most of us are now to some degree media trained.
There are still those who avoid all this, of course, and are known as the Quality Controllers, keepers of the spirit of cycling for cycling’s sake…
But there is one among us who has taken things a step further, so that each bike ride becomes akin to an exercise in public relations, broadcast to the watching (?) world in a variety of ever more contrived formats.
So this cyclist can, for example, take the perfect selfie at the drop of a hat, in any given weather conditions, and produce an image which resembles a Rapha photoshoot; all stubble, grey skies, and perfectly recreated suffering.
Personally, I have long since given up on the mid-ride selfie without, to be honest, ever having got started – I end up looking not so much like a Rapha model, as a tired cyclist wondering where his next piece of cake is coming from!
Once our friend has captured his image he will immediately Instagram it to prove that what just happened actually happened, and even seems able to do so despite the fact that the rest of us are struggling with apparent lack of mobile phone (never mind broadband or 4G) coverage half-way up some Yorkshire Dale.
His Instagram account is linked to his Facebook page, he Tweets pre, post, and even mid-ride on occasion, and links his Strava account to his Twitter feed. He can even explain, in reasonably understandable fashion, what Stumbleupon is.
I don’t think he uses LinkedIn.
On top of all this media output, he will undoubtedly write a blog post at the end of the day to sum up all the loose ends.
Now don’t get me wrong; I may be mildly mocking this approach to cycling which boils down to an obsessive documentation of every kilometre traveled, but it really does no-one any harm, and this – the digital playground – is the world we live in.
I just haven’t got the heart to tell him no-one is watching.