ON THE SAME PAGE

I live at the top of a hill and I'm finding the last bit of my cycle ride home too tough nowadays.

So I decided I'd get one of those new electric bikes.

Unfortunately I overlooked the fact they are made of solid gold. They must be judging by the price I was quoted.

So I decided to change tack. I'd find another way of getting me up that blasted hill.

Advertisement

Unfortunately a jet pack like Nasa astronauts use in outer space was not available (and Mrs P said I already had enough unfinished projects in the garage so she wouldn't let me try to make one) so I settled for an e-wheel, as distinct from a whole e-bike.

Basically I bought the front wheel with a bit of whizz bang electronic stuff on it that makes the bike go fast.

The whole thing is linked via that blue-something thing to an app-something on my mobile phone.

The whole thing is linked via that blue-something thing to an app-something on my mobile phone. Photo / Getty Images
The whole thing is linked via that blue-something thing to an app-something on my mobile phone. Photo / Getty Images

Obviously the technical aspects leave me completely bamboozled but I am lucky enough to work with several members of the Now generation who can and do everything on their phone.

I am considered the office elder (how on earth did that happen?) and a regular supplier of humorous work stories from days gone by so its kind of a trade off: They do all my tech stuff and I tell them stories. Good deal as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway.

I got my wheel on my bike. The bloke at the shop put the app thing on my phone and I unwrapped the box with the warranty and all the instructions on how to use it.
Problem. It's all in Chinese.

So I get one of the work youngies to sort it out for me and before you know it I've tapped the desired speed into my phone and I'm away.

Advertisement

And it's no slouch either. Before long I've sped up the road towards home and am about to turn the corner and begin the hillclimb. Only problem is I can't seem to multi-task and ride and reduce the speed on my phone before I reach the corner.

Luckily I remembered how back in the day we'd slide round corners with one foot planted on the ground. So I did that.

Easy at age 12. Just doable at 55 I've now discovered though I'm sure the sudden rapid increase in heart rate has robbed me of a few years.

Anyway, now I'm speeding up the hill, towards home, still fumbling for my phone in my pocket with one hand while trying to steer with the other.

Unluckily I haven't got the stopping procedure sorted by the time I go past my place, crest the top of the hill and hurtle down the other side.

The good thing is there is another very steep climb coming up and some dense vegetation off to the side.

I take the sensible option and wait till the whir in my e-wheel changes tune to deal with the new hill. And just as the bike loses a little bit of speed I bale. Straight into the tangled undergrowth.

I emerge somewhat bedraggled but definitely in one piece.

Now lest you think this entire ride has taken place at breakneck speed I'll say just this. It may well have been just 10km/h. But when you can't work out how to stop it may as well have been 100km/h.

For some reason, possibly electronic giggling, the e-wheel had sent itself off to sleep after we stopped. So I extracted the bike from the undergrowth and trudged back up the hill to my place. Pushing it rather than attempting to pedal.

As I did so I managed to call one of the youngies from work who had helped me set the thing up to relay the story and inquire as to what might have gone wrong.

He wasn't exactly sure but did think I may have, er, over thought the technological aspects of the new equipment and my understanding that the bike could only be controlled by my phone.

Through the laughter I may have even heard the word "idiot".

Apparently I could have stopped any time simply by using the brakes like normal. Just as I did when i was 12.

■ Kevin Page is a teller of tall tales with a firm belief too much serious news gives you frown lines. Feel free to share stories to kevin.page@nzme.co.nz .