It’s not any different than carpooling with the radio on. What! I said! It’s not any different than carpooling with the radio on!! Or, is it? I like iRiding, riding with an iPod. Even on group rides, it’s wonderful blissyness. I can’t hear sirens, horns, bells, whistles, cars, people warning me of wheel-eating potholes, rednecks speeding in diesel trucks, tornados, landsides…nothing but the skank of the Long Beach Dub Allstars. I’m completely deaf to the outside world. Call me anti-social.
I heard that.
iRide and iLikeit. Riding with a beat can’t be beat. I’m not the only one making my ride feel like a July 4th movie blockbuster with a rockin’ soundtrack. I see those skinny white wires sneaking through the neck of plenty of jerseys on group rides, up the back of the helmet and into rider’s noggins. It’s mellowing, a distraction without being distracting. I think it hones the focus by taking away some of the chaos and replacing it with a flowing rhythm that ties the beginning of the ride to the end. The hurt hurts less. The pedals turn over easier. WHILE I MAY TALK LOUDER in mid-ride conversations, I still talk with other riders. Last night, it made the 40 minute bullet train hammerfest from Cincinnati to New Richmond feel like 20 minutes. I rode the entire Mohican 100 mountain bike race last year with an iPod and had my best race ever. I credit some of that to the music. The hike a bike turned to a jog. The jarring water-bars became smooth speed bumps. I freaked out less on surprise roots and trees. I haven’t done the experiment yet, but my hypothesis is that wearing an I-pod while riding lowers my average heart rate by a coupla beats. Over a six hour race, a little mellow can go a long way.
There seems to be two keys for iRiding. A playlist on shuffle and repeat is one. I don’t care what you’re into, you don’t want the music to end mid-ride if your playlist reaches the last song. You don’t want the songs to come up in the same order every ride. My playlist last night had a little Paulo Nutini (pictured), a bean of Weezer and a bite of Pit Bull. It was a six hour playlist for a two hour ride. There’s still four hours left for the next ride. A salsa song came on as I bombed a steep downhill at 40mph. Si-si! Reggae, rap, teen angst and eclectic songwriters drove my ride. I have different playlists for different rides. Last night was all upbeat for the weekly fast racer ride. On solo recovery rides, barefoot Jack Johnson and smoky Macy Gray lay down the recovery melody.
Your rattling mis-shifting drive train, a teammate grabbing your ear to organize a lead out, the shirtless river-rat in the mufflerless pick-up truck; obviously you need to hear some outside sounds to be safe, aware of problems and participate in the ride. Just about every iRider I know only puts the bud in one ear. I find the right ear is the best, not because I’m right handed, but because most pacelines rotate with the riders falling back and traffic approaching up on the left. I never have it blasting loud, but I do have it loud enough to hear the music above the rumble of the road. It’s usually at a crack under ¾ volume, plenty quiet to hear the approaching ambulance and you call me anti-social.