Music to Bicycle By

March 13, 2010 at 1:59 pm Leave a comment

March 12, 2010
Total mileage:  132

Mr. Spoked and I were riding together last summer on a steamy day when the sun and the hills were relentless. He was getting further and further away with each successive crest. What a machine. Finally, I rolled over the top of one hill to discover he had completely dropped me.  At that exact moment in time, Neko Case’s lilting voice began crying in my ear:

I’m not the man you think I am
I’m not the man you think I am

Enough, already. I pulled the bike off the road, powered down the mp3 player, and stuffed it into the seatbag.

Music can be a powerful motivator, or it can drain you. Many people find that the right songs improve their performance, but just what constitutes “right” depends on the individual. For some it’s heavy metal, for others it’s classical. I love Neko Case, but she doesn’t suit me when cycling. Music should not reinforce your limitations but rather encourage you to surmount them.

This is the time of year I begin serious work on a cycling playlist. The right music for me usually is alternative, but I don’t limit my research to alt music. The playlist tunes can come from almost anywhere–movies, podcasts, friends, even commercials. Whatever strikes my fancy and has a good cadence can find its way onto the player.

So far the playlist has only about ten songs, and that number needs to grow considerably. Still, I decided to take it on a test run last weekend. Field testing is when you discover that the song you loved on the sofa cannot get you up a hill on a bike. For example, I have an old Funk and R&B playlist. I enjoy every song on that playlist, but when I’m pushing the envelope up a major incline I do not want to hear Bill Withers moaning, “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.” Instead, I need to hear James Brown urging me to, “Get up! (Get on up).” The lyrics, the mood, and the beat all work together to get the job done.

Last weekend it quickly became apparent that some songs weren’t going to make the final cut because they actually slowed me down. But there were several others that put a smile on my face and a tiger in my heart.

Here’s one of the 2010 favorites. I’m not pushing for it to end up on any of your playlists.  WordPress supports SoundCloud and I think that’s really cool, so I’m embedding it in this post just for fun.

“Alive Again” by DJ Champion: can’t listen to it without the legs involuntarily moving in a cyclical fashion.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I don’t listen to music while riding in a group, the volume always is set low, and I use only one earbud–in the right ear, leaving the left free to hear approaching traffic.


Entry filed under: Bicycling, Motivation. Tags: , .

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Passionate about Bicycling

I don't bicycle for a living, but I do bicycle to live. It's that simple.

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2012: 3,624 miles total
2011: 1,632 miles total
2010: 3,132 miles total
2009: 2,840 miles total

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