Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Turning off the music

Nearly three years ago I started listening to music when I rode. This habit started when a really great friend of mine died. Previous to my friend's death, I would listen to music periodically when I rode trails, but after he died, I started to listen to music whenever I rode alone, which is most of my riding.

So, on my daily commute. On trips to the store and other errands. On long solo Friday rides. On quick spontaneous trail rides. Firing up the music has been part of my pre-ride routine for the last two+ years.


A little over a year ago my dad died. And my mom died about 6 months ago. And so I just kept listening.

I tend to listen to an artist's entire collection of music for months on end. First it was Bjork. Then it was Doc Boggs. Then it was Hobart Smith. For the last year it's been Bad Religion, which has been my favorite diversion.

But I think I've had enough noise for a while. The music helped me throttle the thinking that tends to snowball quickly. So the music was a good thing, but I miss thinking. I'm going to unplug again and see what rattles out of those deep corners of my brain.

That's the deal there.

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8 comments:

Ryan said...

Adam would have liked the music. He always had a song. He'd likely tell you to give Incubus a try, but he'd tell me to be careful. Double standards for friends and brothers.

When I was 14 I rode my yellow Raleigh mountain bike all over Spokane listening to my sony walkman. It was stashed in a day-glo Bolle' hip bag that you gave me. I spent that summer memorizing just about ever Police song there was. I never said thanks, but I should have.

Dougy T said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts,
I would love to be able to listen to music and ride, but I think it would massively increase my chances of getting flattened by a truck as I live in London.

You're right though thinking is good too.

Not said...

I've always been paranoid about riding with headphones. I'm planning on getting one of the cheap ($20) MP3 players with a speaker from DealExtreme, but I don't know if it will really be useful on a bike.
- Ventura

rory said...

i recently also stopped listening to music while riding. here's the reason:

I was getting ready for my ride home, plugged the earbuds in, and left the player on the counter. as I turned around to grab my coat, the music player fell, and tugged and pulled the earbuds out of my ears. when I picked up the earbuds to put them back in, i noticed the silcon piece that goes on the one of the earbuds was missing. it took me a littlebit to realize this, as i desperately looked on the bathroom floor for the silicon piece, arguing with myself and not wanting to admit it was in my ear, since I couldn't see it.

after failing this argument, i went out to ask one of my coworkers the all embarrassing question to look in my ear to see if they could see the earbud piece. after getting a flashlight, they did, and then i pushed said coworker further and asked him to try and remove the earbud. while we thought briefly of either sticking a pencil or tweezers deep in my ear to fish the earbud out, we nixed this idea since there was an emergency room just down the street.

so i went down to the emergency room, and $75 later, I had "a foriegn object removed from my body".

while I did get a cool set of scissor tweezers that are going to come in handy for when i have to fish wire out of internal wiring, I don't really ever want to stick the earbuds in my ears again, which puts a hamper on riding with music

Rachel said...

I listened to music for a while. It started as a way to help me get used to my ride. Two miles in the freezing cold uphill when I was new to bicycle commuting was a long time. Having the music going helped make the time pass more quickly and enjoyably.

I would only put in one earbud, in my right ear, so I could still hear traffic. The earbud blocks my hearing less than my balaclava. I can't hear anything with that thing on!

For the last month or two, I haven't been listening to music. Two miles doesn't seem so long anymore, and my muscles are used to pedaling up those small hills on my way home. I listen to music all day long at work, so taking a break to enjoy the quiet and the sounds of the world around me on my ride home is really nice.

Anonymous said...

Sights and Sounds ftw!

matttr said...

Sorry for your losses. In the spring of ninth grade I use to ride my shitty costco bike to Cheney on gravel roads 9 miles listening to a tape of Mother Load on little walkman speakers strapped to my handle bars......and moo at the cows that I saw as I road by

VeloBeats said...

hey...just a heads up.

I make a cycling music podcast specifically made for riding. Check it out...


www.velobeats.com