Let’s put aside the question of whether you should or should not be listening to music while riding your bicycle, and focus on the fact that music adds a whole additional dimension of pleasure to what can, at times, be a slightly monotonous activity.
Of course, if you’re riding with friends, riding in Tuscany, Portugal or France with inGamba or out on your favorite loop, there is absolutely no reason to divert your attention from the wind in your hair and the road rolling underneath your tires.
But if you find yourself having to grind out intervals, ramming your chin into some ungodly headwind or just tapping out miles on the trainer in the garage, then there is nothing like a little Rage Against the Machine, Pavement or the Alabama Shakes to keep the pedals turning.
And sometimes, it’s just about mixing your peanut butter and your chocolate. Music = good, bikes = good, ergo music + bikes = awesome. Which is why we’ve compiled a totally random, bicycle-themed playlist, because it’s not always about being pushed to new limits. Sometimes, riding alone, you just want to avoid the Sound of Silence … [No offense to Paul Simon.]
“I often just put my phone on random and see what comes up,” says Ted King, former pro cyclist and inGamba ambassador. “It’s a good time to either enjoy some classics or wonder why the heck I ever downloaded some junk.
“I also listen to NPR a lot,” adds King. “Podcasts are a terrific ride partner: Stuff You Should Know, Freakanomics, and How I Built This are sessioned equally.”
The trick, of course, is matching the music you put into your headphones with the mood in your head – or what your are trying to accomplish on your ride.
Lauren tens Dam, professional cyclist with Team Sunweb, uses music to prepare his slight climber’s body for the grand tours by choosing different sorts of music for different disciplines. He warms up for the time trials by listening to Tiesto, road trips around France are for the rock ‘n’ roll classics, he likes to get massages while listening to Xavier Rudd or some reggae … and has something special called his “Pump the Iron” mix when he’s at the gym.
Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle, bicycle
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like
“Most of the time I only listen when I’m doing efforts in the mountains,” says Mads Wurtz Schmidt, pro cyclist with Katusha Alpecin.”I feel the time goes faster when listening. Also it gives me a few marks during the effort. I usually listen to the same songs, so I know more or less the time of the songs. So when a nice tune is coming I can listen to it and just let the legs do their work. And all of a sudden four minutes have passed by.
“Avicii recently released a new EP and i really like his/this music for training. I’m not into hardcore techno, rock or hiphop music for training – Sean Paul is an exception though. Some nice dance music is perfect for me.”
But listening to music while riding the bicycle is not always about motivation, trying to make the pain less painful, or making the time roll by faster.
“I’m over the days of motivation,” says King, with a smile. “ I ride for fun now, so I don’t need to stoke myself up for an upcoming interval or climb.”
Public Service Announcement: If you’re going to ride on the road with headphones we recommend a combination of the following: low volumes, the one-ear approach and, of course, please no noise-cancelling earbuds.