Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sound of silence

I was out for a short ride the other day and came up behind a couple riding a full dresser. Maintaining a respectful distance, and over the sound of my exhaust and theirs, as well as 80 kilometre wind noise I could still hear their stereo – not clearly, but enough to recognize the occasional song.

Now I like my tunes, but when I’m riding the only sounds I want to hear besides the reassuringly steady rhythm of a big twin are the ones in my head, ideas for blog posts, thoughts on future projects, what I’ll do with my big lottery winnings sure to come any day now, or general and random contemplations on life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. And if I feel the need for music I’ll bring up something from the memory banks, perhaps Lindi Ortega’s Jimmy Dean, or Richard Thompson’s 1952 Vincent Black Lightning. I won’t remember all the words, but I will remember the music and enough of the lyrics to carry me for miles, even if it does sometimes sound like a stuck record - red hair and black leather, my favourite colour scheme … click … red hair and black leather, my favourite colour scheme … click … red hair and black leather, my favourite colour scheme... like an ear-worm burrowing itself even deeper into your subconscious.

I have tried listening to music when I ride: the Electra-Glides we rented in Las Vegas for our trip 2 years ago (how time flies!) were all fully equipped. I played with the stereo for a while until I figured out how it all worked. Then I turned it off, and didn’t turn it back on for the duration of the trip. My brother, on the other hand, had his going full bore for the entire week. To each his own.

So enjoy your 8-channel stereo systems, your communication devices and Bluetooth connections, your iPods and amplifiers, if you can. All I want is silence and the space it gives me to simply think and enjoy the ride.

17 comments:

  1. I have no desire to listen to music while riding. I find the movement, the wind and the scenery entertaining enough. And to be honest, besides trying to listen to my on bubbling thoughts evolving while on my bike I need all available senses on the road. Well, maybe sometimes I sing... to myself... into my helmet where nobody else can hear it ;-)

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  2. Canajun,

    I have moments where I feel the need to listen to music, but for the most part I usually go dark in my helmet, I need to get away from the phone, constant noise and auditory stimulation, I'm a dictatypist so I get a lot of talking in my ears all day long and sometimes all I want to hear is the purr of the engine. I have been beside people who have radios blaring on their bikes and quite honestly I think its a little presumptuous to blast a radio and have loud rumbly pipes and disturb others.

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    1. I agree. I also spend a lot of time listening with headphones on (also a dictatypist - or should I say dictarecorder as I use voice recognition sw) and would prefer to spend my leisure time in relative silence.

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  3. I listen to music. For me riding and music join each other. There are a lot of times I do without it also, but I like the choice. Unfortunately, being outside riders will hear other riders' radios, music, etc., just because of the open air and the way sound travels. Normally, if there is someone I don't want to ride next to, I take another road.

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    1. Taking another road is always an option if it's obnoxious, but I generally don't find it to be so, it's just not for me.

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  4. Canajun, for the most part I'm with ya ... I spend a lot of time planning how to spend my lottery winnings, wondering if I might have anything worthwhile to share and just enjoying being alone with nobody talking at/to me inside my helmet with the exception of my beloved companion Garmin Dan. But I have to admit, on long, straight stretches of super slab, I've found listening to a few tunes seem to keep me from drifting off to inattentiveness ... but I keep the tunes to myself, via Dan's own ear bud.

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    1. Don't do much super slab riding these days, but I can understand having some distraction from the boredom.

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  5. I much prefer the sound of the exhaust and the occasional whistle from hubby coming through the Sena.

    I've never understood why the larger bikes have stereos blasting away with noise pollution - they have to be so loud for the riders to hear it.

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    1. And the quality of the sound is usually awful when it's played that loud.

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  6. No music while I ride, at least that I don't make myself. I do sing to myself when in the mood though and that happens a lot.

    When non-riders ask me what I do when it rains I always reply.."I sing show tunes....I'm riding in the rain, just riding in the rain, what a glorious feeling..."

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    1. Great, now I can't get that tune out of my mind. :(

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  7. I'm the same way, I would rather have my mind and ears on the road or thinking about my blog, life, art, whatever. That's one of the things I enjoy about riding...the quiet. No phone, no fiddling with the radio. Just the hum of my bike, the call of a bird....

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    1. We're so connected these days it really is nice to be able to have that time just to think, without interruption.

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    2. We're so connected these days it really is nice to be able to have that time just to think, without interruption.

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  8. The only tune I need when I ride is the one the engine and exhaust makes!

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