Guest Article: Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!

We’ve remarked many times on the connection between the pained musician and the Cyclist. Layne Staley and Marco Pantani being a prominent example of a reflection in a pond of mental strife. Perhaps something about finding strength – or at least some kind of peace – through suffering is a personality trait that Cycling shares with being an Artist. But sometimes it is much more simple than that. Sometimes, you just want to get psyched to get out and ride. Or to stay in and ride, as the case may be. @blackpooltower lets us in on his own dirty little secret.

Yours in Cycling, Frank

Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and the other assorted Ramones like Linda (yes, really, I checked) might not look like God’s gift to the performance-minded cyclist, despite Johnny’s quite aero hair, but in fact they’re practically a secret weapon.

I’d love to say that my training is all Man-With-Hammer-seeking epics and Moser hill repeats but frankly I live in central London, an hour from anything resembling countryside so, whisper it, I do also spend some time on the turbo. Filthy habit, I know. Sorry.

Although, you know what? Graeme Obree did a fair bit of indoor training and if it’s good enough for the JK Rowling of cycling (which is to say: made it with no one’s help, on welfare/benefits, therefore a total hero) then it’s good enough for me.

Of course indoor training is a bleak prospect without music. And it can’t just be any music. It has to be the right music.

So, if there wasn’t a band whose entire output was recorded at between 90 and 100 bpm, with irrepressible energy levels and just the right blend of anti establishment individualism (totally fake in Johnny’s case), catchiness and outright dumbness to keep an underperforming wanabe racer spinning those stupid fan blades round for one more effort … you’d have to invent them, no?

But no need. The Ramones, AKA punk rock pot belge, exist. Or at least their music does, and that’s the bit you need.

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84 Replies to “Guest Article: Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!”

  1. The East Germans reportedly had their racers pedal on a turbo trainer facing a brick wall and ride for hours to build “mental toughness.” I suspect it might also build extreme weirdness. Music would undoubtedly help in both regards.

  2. WTF??? All right… I’ll bite. But to be certain I can go upstairs and plug in a classic Les Paul (no I don’t have a friggen Mosrite) to an ol’ Marshall right now and rip off one Ramone’s tune after another and never raise my HR above that of me sitting on the sofa right now.

    I have tunes I like to listen to when I ride. It’s not often and it’s certainly not in groups when I ride with earbuds but there are times when I do. And you know what? I can imagine that Beat on the Brat might be a real good ride. I Wanna be Sedated?? Maybe not on the hills but I could enjoy. A lot actually. A classic indeed. I’m thinking if were gonna be an all out effort then it’d have to be Blitzkrieg Bop that’d I’d wanna lay down the hammer with.

    This web site is goofy. Cheers.

    Hey Ho, Let’s Go.

  3. The Ramones rule.  Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue makes any climb go quicker

    And a little Joy Division for the descent.

  4. 30 some odd years ago, a cassette of “It’s Alive” was permanently ensconced in the huge yellow “sports” Walkman dragging down my wool jersey. Pretty much every song from the first three albums, but they played so fast live you could fit the entire double LP on a 60 minute tape. Insane tempo, but with a break every half hour to flip the cassette.

  5. Stiff Little Fingers. And I ain’t talking about my own podgy digits after 90 mins looking at The Sufferefest.

  6. I find listening to Blue Monday for 7:30 minutes at 132 bpm pretty well fucks me up. Even worse on a turbo-trainer.

  7. @pistard

    The demise of the cassette was followed by the epidemic of ADD. Coincidence? I think not. I did a 10 day bushwalk with Ritual de la Habitual on one side and Vs on the other. No need for the bic pen rewind that trip.

    Fast forward to today, downloaded a Tabata interval track set to Turning Japanese and inserted it into multiple roller playlists. It’s way ahead on my “frequently played” list. I’m now afraid that if I hear it in public I’ll sprint for 20 seconds then rest for 10.

  8. There should be a rule prohibiting earphones on the bike–unless your DS is screaming at you on the other end. At which point, the coolest thing you can do is flick the bud out of your ear and bury yourself to the sound of the hell hounds screaming in your brain. Without hijacking this thread, music on the bike could be the single most dangerous thing a cyclist does. I’d wear boss orange socks or ride without a helmet before I impaired my hearing outdoors. On the trainer is different, but prepare the way you would ride.

    To the point of the article, however, I find my bigger problem is keeping the faster beats in my head. How many rides have been endured with Frightened Rabbit’s “Acts of Man” or Bob Geldof’s “Great Song of Indifference?”

  9. i do “ramones intervals” in the winter. First 4 albums set on shuffle. Delete a few slower songs. You alternate full gas and rest for each song. The beauty of it is the effort and rest are random in length. Time flies by.

  10. The Ramones, AKA punk rock pot belge, exist

    Punk rock pot belge…yes please. A line that has never been written before on this planet. That is excellent.

  11. Great stuff, punk rock pot belge!

    I bought Rocket To Russia (vinyl of course) in about 79 or 80, played the shit out of it, then discovered Radio Birdman. Never really went back to the Ramones after that.

    77

    07

  12. @nobby

    Stiff Little Fingers. And I ain’t talking about my own podgy digits after 90 mins looking at The Sufferefest.

    SLF! Just got a box set of their first five albums. They don’t make music like that these days kids.

  13. Think the vocalist in Radio Bird Man needs a good shrink or a bike …

  14. @markb

    I find listening to Blue Monday for 7:30 minutes at 132 bpm pretty well fucks me up. Even worse on a turbo-trainer.

    THIS. Perfect rhythm for a cadence of about 90 in the big ring and the 13-14 sprocket. Add Temptation, Ceremony, Love Will Tear Us Apart to the playlist and go find a long stretch of road.

  15. @frank

    It just doesn’t get more classic! That’s nice. Very. Complemented w/Tube Screamers and Leo’s G&L. @shilzy Ohhh that’ll go to 11 yes. The list of rock n roll and heavy metal that was made with 80’s 50w JCM Marshall stacks goes on long. Tom Morello’s music with Rage Against the Machine just might be on top of my list. Along with Slash’s classic GnR work. My experience has been that most of those older JCMs when they show up nowadays in guitar stores are just plain beat up. If I stumbled on to a clean half stack like that looking for a new owner I’m guessing the music room would have a new add’n. Very cool.

    My Marshall set up contrasts big time being an early 70’s 20w lead-bass head coupled with Mesa Boogie 1×12 Thiele EV cab. It’s an unusual combo. Nice and tidy and perfect for home. After the tubes have been cooking for 30 min’s it’ll sing. Regret however that the amp, being all original, as in like everything including wire and solder joints (but not tubes), no surprise, does need some tlc as attenuating the power leads to tube issues. I haven’t been prepared to turn over a classic and original hand wired Marshall head from England to just any amp tech.

  16. @Steampunk

    >>> music on the bike could be the single most dangerous thing a cyclist does <<< Except, maybe riding at night ? or with your eyes closed? Or drunk ? Or w/o hands on bars ? Or racing a Cat 5 crit ? Just jokes on that one (now, racing with moto’s and team cars in the mix ???) but still… No denying that riding with ear buds is generally not safest way to ride a bike. Agree. And that’s too bad because I do on a rare occasion enjoy it though. Cheers

  17. @sthilzy

    Yes, it goes all the way up to “Registers on the Richter Scale”!

    @TMJM

    @sthilzy

    I recognize the Tube Screamers and the Swollen Pickle, but what are the two pedals in the middle?

    A couple J Rockett Archers. Chris Van Tassel and Jay Rockett were involved in the mythical Klon Centaur pedal design and build this pedal. It’s all hand-wired, and badass as shit. Very similar in function to the Tube Screamer, but it changes the base tone of the amp less, not to mention that they are incredibly harmonic. Fact is, my favorite is to use one Archer and one Tube Screamer together for a really great, growly tube overdrive.

    @wilburrox

    @frank

    It just doesn’t get more classic! That’s nice. Very. Complemented w/Tube Screamers and Leo’s G&L. @shilzy Ohhh that’ll go to 11 yes. The list of rock n roll and heavy metal that was made with 80’s 50w JCM Marshall stacks goes on long. Tom Morello’s music with Rage Against the Machine just might be on top of my list. Along with Slash’s classic GnR work. My experience has been that most of those older JCMs when they show up nowadays in guitar stores are just plain beat up. If I stumbled on to a clean half stack like that looking for a new owner I’m guessing the music room would have a new add’n. Very cool.

    My Marshall set up contrasts big time being an early 70’s 20w lead-bass head coupled with Mesa Boogie 1×12 Thiele EV cab. It’s an unusual combo. Nice and tidy and perfect for home. After the tubes have been cooking for 30 min’s it’ll sing. Regret however that the amp, being all original, as in like everything including wire and solder joints (but not tubes), no surprise, does need some tlc as attenuating the power leads to tube issues. I haven’t been prepared to turn over a classic and original hand wired Marshall head from England to just any amp tech.

    That is a unique setup, although I wish they made the 800’s in a 20W head for some less ear-bleading overdrive.

    I love using overdrive pedals in pairs as you can see, SRV-style. The two Tube Screamers are both set to pure boost (full level, no gain) and the Archers are a bit different; one is set to about 10% gain and the other to about 30% gain.

    The head is a ’87 2205, which is possibly the best unmodified head Marshall ever made; it was the first time they added channel so you can have some variation in the tone. I actually have the drive and channel volume high (8ish) which gives some great tube compression and then have the master volume as low as I need to keep the complaints from coming from the neighbors. I love a cleanish tone that breaks up! I wish I could have that as my clean tone a full Marshall gain tone for the second channel but I suppose I could do all that with the OD pedals…

  18. @TMJM

    @wilburrox

    Remember that if you’re really going to emulate Johnny, it’s gotta be all down-strokes.

    There’s a great quote in this educational video that Tommy Morello did on how to play his songs…at one point he gets into this thing about up and down strokes (or chucks, as he calls them – up-chuck or down-chuck)…so he wants to show the big difference between the sound and demonstrates. Then he finally says, “OK, it sounds the same. You can chuck whichever direction you want.”

    I have always been a downstroke guy myself.

  19. @frank

    “Yes, it goes all the way up to “Registers on the Richter Scale”! ”

    Dan has a scale ?

  20. The Ramones, got to see them in the mid 90’s at a festival. It was about 40 degrees (over 100 to some of you). The leather jackets stayed on and they played about 50 songs in 50 minutes. 1,2,3 – 1 minute song, 1,2,3 – 30 second song, 1,2,3 1.30 minute extravaganza. I don’t remember there being any talking except the song count ins. Awesome.

    Music on the trainer is interesting, when I’m starting to suffer the earphones come out, it just seems to annoy me. A sure sign I’m approaching the red zone.

  21. Also, I listen to Megadeth pretty much exclusively while on the turbo.

  22. @dyalander

    Saw the Ramones in 92 for the mediocre “Mondo Bizarro” album. Social D opened. Still the best concert I’ve ever been to hands down. Still have the concert tshirt. Gabba Gabba Hey.

  23. Saw the Ramones just the once – a gig called The Longest Day at the disgusting Milton Keynes Bowl in 1986. Line up was Faith Brothers, Billy Bragg, Spear of Destiny, Ramones, REM and U2. All for (in today’s dollars) well under $100. Typical Brit festival: bottles of piss being thrown around and it rained for most of U2’s set. Almost missed my bus home too. Good times.

    Saw Still Little Fingers once in 1983 – the last show they played at the notorious Glasgow Apollo. Wildly popular in Glasgow they were.

    Bob Mould (solo) and Husker Du are good for the turbo. Public Service Broadcasting too.

  24. @markb

    I find listening to Blue Monday for 7:30 minutes at 132 bpm pretty well fucks me up. Even worse on a turbo-trainer.

    The Orb’s Blue Room at 40 minutes is a bit like that on the turbo. You either completely zone out and time flies or it stops time completely and take the battery out of your torch when you’re at the very back of the pain cave.

  25. @wiscot

    @nobby

    Stiff Little Fingers. And I ain’t talking about my own podgy digits after 90 mins looking at The Sufferefest.

    SLF! Just got a box set of their first five albums. They don’t make music like that these days kids.

    Some of my buds just saw them locally. Fuckers didn’t drop me a line about it and I’m still bitter.

  26. I left my rollers at my parent’s house when I moved 1000 kms south four years ago. Haven’t done any riding indoors since. While I miss winter sports, I don’t miss rollers.

    As for music…I just realized “Holiday Road” from Vacation is not Kenny Loggins but Buckingham! How have I been going around thinking that for this many years?

  27. @Matt

    @wiscot

    @nobby

    Stiff Little Fingers. And I ain’t talking about my own podgy digits after 90 mins looking at The Sufferefest.

    SLF! Just got a box set of their first five albums. They don’t make music like that these days kids.

    Some of my buds just saw them locally. Fuckers didn’t drop me a line about it and I’m still bitter.

    Not suprised you’re bitter. There should be a law against that sort of shit.

  28. For me, it’s a lot of Between the Buried and Me. Their more recent concept albums tend to clock in around the 70 minute mark, which is just about my tolerance for the rollers. And the albums themselves are incredibly varied, mostly thrash/death metal, with some jazz-flecked interludes for a little break here and there. And the fact that they’re recorded to sound like a single, transitionless track helps me get lost in it.

  29. @wiscot

    Saw the Ramones just the once – a gig called The Longest Day at the disgusting Milton Keynes Bowl in 1986. Line up was Faith Brothers, Billy Bragg, Spear of Destiny, Ramones, REM and U2. All for (in today’s dollars) well under $100. Typical Brit festival: bottles of piss being thrown around and it rained for most of U2’s set. Almost missed my bus home too. Good times.

    Saw Still Little Fingers once in 1983 – the last show they played at the notorious Glasgow Apollo. Wildly popular in Glasgow they were.

    Bob Mould (solo) and Husker Du are good for the turbo. Public Service Broadcasting too.

    I was at that gig too;actually every one I went to at MK bowl it pissed it down.

    The worst events for bottles of piss being thrown was the Monsters of Rock festivals;I ‘may’ have received a direct hit at one of them,,,

  30. I think U2 has now sucked for more years than they were good for. Man, they’ve been putting out shitty music for too damn long.

  31. @Ron

    I think U2 has now sucked for more years than they were good for. Man, they’ve been putting out shitty music for too damn long.

    U2 did good stuff?

  32. @chris

    @markb

    I find listening to Blue Monday for 7:30 minutes at 132 bpm pretty well fucks me up. Even worse on a turbo-trainer.

    The Orb’s Blue Room at 40 minutes is a bit like that on the turbo. You either completely zone out and time flies or it stops time completely and take the battery out of your torch when you’re at the very back of the pain cave.

    Apropos of nothing, did you catch the Radio 1 Ibiza Prom – live orchestra playing many favourites from the 90s? Faithless’ Insomnia is particularity hypnotic on a turbo.

    Insomnia
  33. @Daccordi Rider

    @Ron

    I think U2 has now sucked for more years than they were good for. Man, they’ve been putting out shitty music for too damn long.

    U2 did good stuff?

    I could probably name 4 or 5 good U2 songs. All of the rest of their recorded output basically sounds like a bad covers band doing those songs.

    I may cause ructions saying this, but I feel the same way about the Rolling Stones…

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