I always think it’s cool when some aspect of science-fiction finds its way into our reality. Most of the time, if you look for it, you’ll find all kinds of examples and one of the most common ones has got to be the proliferation of the cyborg. Wikipedia defines it as ‘a cybernetic organism (i.e. an organism that has both artificial and natural systems). Fictionally speaking, as in science-fiction, this is usually thought of more like the Borg from Star Trek. This month, WIRED magazine published an article called ‘Advantage: Cyborgs’, by Clive Thompson, which looked at how in the world of chess, the best of the best aren’t the Chessmasters, or the Super Computers, but instead the computer-aided humans – this combination is unbeatable…

So, although you and I might not necessary have machine parts inside of us, and synthetic tubing protruding from our skulls like a Borg, (or maybe you do, which is cool too) but we are definitely getting pretty cozy with our machine-aided world interface, the computer, and this is enough for Thompson to call some of our activities as ‘cyborgian’. He cites our reliance on Google for finding information, Facebook and Twitter to keep us up to date on our closest 500 fiends and loved ones, or TiVO to manage our favorite TV shows. I can see his point. More and more we’re utilizing machines as a means to interface with the world around us. Is that ‘really’ much different than our science-fiction image of the cyborg? If you spend as much time in front of a computer monitor as I do in a week, you might not think so. Take it step further is you’re an iPhone user because you’re always ‘plugged in’ ;-) I’ve seen Ken with his, and I’m pretty sure he sleeps with it, so if he could have it implanted in his skull, I bet he would. And, if you’ve heard about the new Apple iPad, this is going to usher in a new, even more seamless era of media interface that will blur the lines between the human and machine/silicon world even further. We’re becoming more and more cyborgian all the time.

So what the hell does any of this have to do with bikes you ask? Well, the article got me thinking, really you can take this cyborg thing pretty far, pretty easily. I mean, does wearing a pair of glasses make you cyborg? Does driving a car make you a cyborg? Sure, the argument can be made, and I know it has been made in Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto (a good read if you have the inclination). Cyclists wouldn’t be immune to this line of thinking, and if you do think about it, with all the gear, we can look a lot like cyborgs! Imagine for a second that you are a creature that has never seen a human being before and you come across an XC mountain biker on the trail wearing all the gear: helmet, sunglasses, heart rate monitor, camelback with drinking tube. Where would the human end and the machine begin?