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.