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In the seventies, I had a Moto Guzzi V7 California 850 GT, which was called the “Christmas tree”, because the dashboard was a central counter around which an incredible number of various colored warning lights, giving it the appearance of an illuminated Christmas tree in the dark.
Though now motor companies have reduced the dashboard to a minimum, with a maximum of information, obliging the owner to follow a tree-year course in mechano-computed electronics before being able to use it, modern motorcycles look more as a Christmas tree than my old Guzzi.
There has been an in-between period, I would say 20 or 30 years ago, when Honda’s and Harley’s had that much flickering and colored lights on them that they needed 2 extra batteries.
In our modern times, I see handlebars and behind windscreens mounts full of smartphones, GPSs, Go-Pro cameras. Some have even radar scanners and a full Hi-Fi stereo installation. Add to this the Bluetooth device in the helmet, some with a nice microphone hanging in front of the rider’s lips and of course, one or more supplementary “charging devices”, USB, cigarette lighter, etc. with wires running up, down, under and over, but nicely hidden somewhere.
Why not buy a car? I’m not against modernity and even if I was, I cannot change it or stop it. Are you aware that we are under constant pressure of publicity, pretending that all this is going to make our live easier, while it’s completely the contrary: it makes our live a nightmare. We see it; we want it; we spend your money on it and we convince ourselves that we need it. We miss, forget the spirit why we bought a motorbike: riding it.
I laugh! I laugh loudly and pity those who want to ride on a Christmas tree. What do we need? Any kind of low-cost cell phone is enough in case of emergency or to call our partner when arrived. Bluetooth? We are not accepting or worse, giving calls while riding! Chatting with our partner sitting at the back? What for? What is so important it cannot wait until the next rest stop? On a journey with a lot of friends an intercom could be useful at times if everyone has one, otherwise one can do without. Adventure! GPS! Only genuine adventure people could benefit from it. Aren’t there road panels in our country? A detailed map costs a few cents. When riding in the dessert – who wants to go there? – a well prepared road book is more useful. We want to play and film our journey? Let’s have fun then and buy a camera. I have nothing against it.
The fact is, too many people riding a motorbike are more interested with useless gadgets than with enjoying their ride. Riding a bike is wanting to be alone with it, be one with it and certainly not being distracted by an intercom, a phone call or a GPS map. Who cares if we get lost? We’re never alone! We have our bike!
Think about it before reacting ragefully! I can imagine most of you have one or more of all this. Do you really “need” it? I admit I don’t.
 

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Well, the one gadget I have is a bluetooth receiver in my helmet. It relays the spoken gps instructions that it receives from my phone, in my pocket or, on the C650 Sport scooter, in the glovebox. I do like having gps, anytime I have to go somewhere I don't know how to get to. Sure I could look at a map and try to remember what it conveys when riding, but I prefer the gps, I have ever since they came out, around 2003. I have no other gadgets and admit I've wondered from time to time why so many of us go out and buy so many accessories as soon as, or even before, they have taken posession of their new R or GS. But to each her or his own, it doesn't bother me. And I do like christmas lights, have them on our porch year-round...
 
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What do we need? Any kind of low-cost cell phone is enough in case of emergency or to call our partner when arrived.
Maybe on Crete that’s enough. But if you rode around, as some of us do, all alone in the empty parts of the western US, Canada, and Mexico, you’d often find yourself well beyond the range of cell phone coverage, on “roads” that don’t even appear on a standard road map. And then you might have some idea why some of us carry a GPS, and a satellite tracker to call for help if necessary, and to let our loved ones know when we’ve arrived at our evening’s destination.
 

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Hard to argue against a well positioned GPS (even if its a phone), and a USB port to give it power. I can live without other distractions like making phone calls, listening to music etc.
 

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And then you might have some idea why some of us carry a GPS, and a satellite tracker to call for help if necessary, and to let our loved ones know when we’ve arrived at our evening’s destination.
It’s because I saw a German couple on a BMW R1200GS, full of “gadgets”, that those thoughts crossed my mind. That’s who I am: when I see or hear food for thoughts, I write down some key-words, which later become a text.
My text is just food for thoughts, nothing else. It doesn’t contain any advice, less so a lesson. You understood that what I wrote down is true for most people, but that it doesn’t apply to everyone. Exception makes the rule. You also understood that the text was meant to remember people that a bike is not a “gadget tool” but “a way of living”. Besides this, each one does what pleases him or her.
And then again, one should make a difference between “need” and “want”. In your example, you certainly “need” a GPS. Some don’t “need” it, but “want” it anyhow. I have absolutely nothing against it. I myself don’t “need” a bike, but I did “want” one. To tell the truth, this is a lie: I do “need” it, but not in a “materialistic” way, in a “philosophical” way, meaning “I cannot live without one”.
Your reply was very interesting, because it made me realize that I forgot to mention the satellite tracker, which I consider, as you do, as one of the most useful modern tools to have on a bike. Even in Crete, when I get lost in the mountains, I sometimes don’t have a phone connection to tell my wife I’m lost … again. It scares me sometimes. That’s why a first buy was a Dynaplug set, to be able to repair a flat tyre and save myself from becoming a dried skeleton somewhere up there in the mountain. A satellite tracker with live tracking is first on my wish list.
I’m a pedant. This may surprise you, because in common language this word is pejorative, meaning “one who shows-off with knowledge”. It’s an error! The first meaning of pedant is “one who guides, instructs”, in other words: “teaches”. There I am! Pedantic … again.
Thank you for our reaction, Woodworks.
 
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