Preloading The Brain
Brett’s fine Nick Cave article got me thinking about music and cycling. We spend lots of time alone on our bikes. The bike is on autopilot, it stays upright from second to second, freeing up our brains to consider anything or nothing. Music might be the only riding companion we have but it has to be the right music.
Being as Pro as possible is not necessarily a good thing. Pros tend to blow through all stop signs and they care not a damn about Rule #62. As adamant as I am about sock length and color, I’m more of a hardliner about Rule #62. It is one Rule I have positively never broken, honest Father. Half my friends do though, oh I see them with their wires and ear buds. I get it, I just don’t ever do it. I want to know what’s coming up the road behind me. I also like to hear the world as I ride but I really want to hear that dog or cement mixer before they are right HERE. And I sometimes enjoy the voices in my head. They get me.
Before you go for a long ride, preplan your music, don’t just turn on the car radio as you motor away to meet your riding friends. A moment of inattention and you could be riding three hours with The Carpenters. My wife and I have a pact when riding together. Neither is allowed to sing aloud whatever terrible jingle or 80’s anthem song is plaguing our brains. Sharing such things is not good for a marriage.
It is the early morning riding where my brain is most susceptible to contamination. Wrung out from a night’s sleep, my brain will absorb anything. I have to saturate my brain with good music before something terrible gets in there; once it is in there, it is not coming out without a fight. I had an early morning teeth cleaning and while captive in the chair, their office music programming played nothing but Cher for thirty minutes. Oh I thought it was amusing at the time. The next day, Cher was still there. I was not amused.
Predawn, rolling along in the truck, bike in the back, something great on the stereo, even if the windshield wipers are on, this is how we get up for a ride. There may only be one song in the head for the next three hours but at least if will be a good one.