I never was one to worry about how fast I was going or what the distance was like. For one thing I was pretty poverty-stricken and spending money on my bike that wasn't going towards fixing tires or new cranks or whatever had broken off the cheap thing (this is awhile ago) was more my priority. Fast was whether I could catch and pass the person in front of me.
Now I am not so much destitute anymore but I still didn't worry much about the how fast how hard thing. Wow, reading back that sounds obscene. What I mean is that I cared what I felt like and didn't need a dial to tell me anything.
Go forward to this guy I periodically ride with on my commute. We are evenly matched in a lot of ways. He's younger and a touch faster but the bike he rides for commuting is pretty heavy and stodgy so we end up riding together and talking. Have you noticed that this never happens to you in a car? No one ever sees the same car every day and strikes up a conversation and meets someone interesting. The only time a person who drives meets someone in another car is when they collide with them, and having witnessed this a bunch the results are never pretty. Occasionally civil but more usually frosty or even vicious.
This guy I see periodically has a little computer mounted onto the front of his bicycle. Guy-I-Ride-With-Sometimes would tell me how fast we were going and I got Interested. I started wanting to know how fast I was going even when that Guy-I-Ride-With-Sometimes was not around.
My Contraption Captain went on to surprise me with a little computer all my own. It would tell me how fast and how far. I was pretty excited. He got me the wired kind because they are more reliable he says. And then he wired it to my bike very carefully and elegantly. And then he rode my bike around the block to make sure it worked. I wasn't there but he probably bunny-hopped all over the road on my (I like to pretend) finely tuned piece of road-bicycle-machinery.
Now I too had a cute dial. I had to subtract the .22 of a mile he had bunny hopped onto it but for the most part the thing was clean and fresh. I discovered that my top speed was around 30mph, w00t! I discovered that my commute sans kid drop-off was ten miles and with kid drop-off more like 12. I discovered that in the average five work days I put over a hundred miles onto my bike. I was very happy!
I did not immediately discover the little arrow. I was busy watching the numbers on the odometer go up. It was my Contraption Captain who pointed out that the arrow pointed up when I was biking at above my average speed and that it pointed down when I was biking below my average speed. I became frantic to keep the dial in the up position. I stared so hard at the dial that on the way home that day it had a big E for ERROR and I had to reset the thing causing me to lose a very nice top speed of 32mph.
I watched the miles rack up. I liked it when it rolled over to 1,000 miles. Go me. Then it was at 1500 miles. GO ME! Sometime between 1500 miles and 2000 miles I had to drop something off at a friend's house. It was raining hard but as already observed rain is no reason not to put some miles on a bike. I rode over and rode back and sometime after that noticed that most of my little computer was no longer readable.
The Contraption Captain took it off the bike for closer inspection. I was unhappy. Now my bike had a blank ugly spot where the tiny computer used to sit and here I was biking every day and my odometer was not incrementing. Damnit!!
The Contraption Captain replaced the battery. No joy. I sulked.
I want to take this opportunity to say that a bicycle component that dies because it gets wet makes about as much sense as a diaper with a big hole in it.
Contraption Captain returned to the bike store from whence the now broken dial had come and they swapped it for another which turned out to be wireless aka wrong. The (long-suffering) Contraption Captain returned again to the store and came home with a replacement for the replacement.
me: but all my miles are gone, damn.
captain c: well we could put something together that spins the wheel for you non-stop until the miles are back where they used to be.
That's life with a Contraption Captain for you.
yoda: full of interesting solutions they are.
me: not all of which are helpful it turns out.
Anyways. New dial is just about to roll over to a fresh 1000 miles.