Thursday, November 12, 2009


Is there such a thing as good music to ride to?

I ask this question because I have serious doubts about the advisability of having earphones or earbuds on or in whichever particular orifice you choose to use for you listening pleasure while out riding the roads. I have been known to wear an mp3 player while riding around my subdivision, but I don’t ever wear one while riding anywhere else. I like having my ears free to listen for approaching cars, dogs, alien spacecraft, elephants, whatever might happen to wander by, really.

There are, however, many people who disagree with me. They say that having music with you on the ride can be very stimulating. Keith, for example, likes to have some good old fashioned rock and roll, and, if he doesn’t have an mp3 player, is likely to start singing. Lisa says that an mp3 player is great, because that way if Jörg and Dave start talking politics, she can simply reach for the volume control and listen to her music instead.

(Editorial note: having a dyed in the wool republican and a yellow dog democrat on the same ride can make some quite interesting conversation, and other people have been known to toss statements out just to get such conversations started. It can be something of a spectator sport.)

(Editorial note on the editorial note: Jörg and Dave are great friends, so the spectator sport is never in any danger of becoming a contact sport, and I find the conversations they have entertaining to a high degree.)

(Editorial note on the editorial note on the editorial note: this post has too many editorial notes.)

But I digress. I was talking about music, and, while a conversation can have its own music, that wasn’t really what I meant.

Music can certainly stimulate you and get your legs pumping, and it just might help you keep the pace high or make your way up that hill, but it can also take your attention away from the ride. I have heard people listening to music say, “I made it up that hill and never even noticed it was there.” They seemed to think that was a good thing, but I disagree. You’re supposed to notice the hill was there, just as you are supposed to noticed the other people on the ride with you, the wind, the deer than just ran across the road in front of you and the SUV that’s coming up from behind. It’s all part of the ride experience, and I generally don’t want that experience to be submerged in music. I can listen to music at home.

If you’re on a ride with your mp3 player and the other people on the road have to repeat what they said to you more than once because you couldn’t hear them over the music, then you aren’t really on the ride with them at all.

However, if I am on a little recovery ride around the neighborhood on the hybrid, I do tend to listen to music. There are only a few miles of road, and I have to go over them again and again. There are also very few cars, and they tend to be moving very slowly.

So, what is the best music for listening to while riding?

I have to give first place to The Tannahill Weavers. If that doesn’t get your legs moving, nothing will.

Beyond that, the Penetrators, the Torquays, the Diamondheads, the Atomic Mosquitos and groups of that ilk are all excellent listening. And, as always, The Ventures.

If you haven’t heard of some (or any) of these groups, then we don't listen to the same kinds of music, I guess.

If you listen to music on a ride, what do you listen to? Speak up. Now’s your chance.

See you on the road.


  1. I agree that having music would make the workout fun, but I've never listened to music while riding. I definitely prefer to hear the cars, dogs, passing cyclists, etc. around me.

    If I did listen, it would likely be a mix of rock, techno and maybe R&B. Anything you can rock or dance to will keep me excited about moving!