Recently I asked a friend why he always rides with his iPod on- and he told me it was because the music amped him up to ride. Now I understand that, being in to music myself, but I’ve never tried it myself.
So once away from traffic and in the hills, I plugged in and hit the trails- and something interesting happened. I rode like a moron.
The music sure fired me up, but like a novice driver I was heavy on the throttle and jabbing at the brakes. All fluidity was removed form my riding- the flow I’d normally have was replaced with jerky movements as I found myself getting in to the music, and riding with it.
It just didn’t work for me.
What I love when I’m riding is hearing my tyres scratching for grip, my chain slapping on the chain stay and the organic sounds of twigs snapping and puddles sploshing. It’s satisfying as the harder you ride, the louder the music becomes.
Wind in your ears and helmet vents heightens your other senses and heavy breathing reminds you that your body is working hard.
All these sounds tell me everything I need to know- if I’m braking too hard, how much grip I have and if I’m going too fast. Remove all these things and the whole sensation of riding for me disappears.
I told this to my friend, who didn’t seem to understand what I meant. So I told him to go back to riding without an iPod. And I wish I hadn’t.
He just wouldn’t stop shutting up as we fired along the trails- calling out all the things I’d mentioned to him. The grip, the chain slapping- even the birds tweeting…
My mute riding friend had turned in to an invasive commentator and I couldn’t stand it- and to top it off he was quicker. I no longer suggest to people about unplugging whilst riding- I let them be and enjoy natures soundtrack myself…