When I ride (or do household chores, or yardwork, or really just about anything) I like to listen to audio books. On occasion I’ll listen to music, but I’ve always been drawn to reading and audio books allow me to “read” while doing other things. Call it multi-tasking.
Obviously when I do something like riding while listening I only use one ear bud – just wanted to assure everyone I was being safe.
In reading the rules to the Rocheport Roubaix (my first bike race) they clearly stated no earbuds or listening to anything AT ALL. This was a 34 mile ride so I was a little worried about how I was going to manage to get through such a long time span without audio entertainment. I decided to try a bit of riding sans earbuds to see if I could manage. I learned a few things.
For starters – it was nice to really hear the things going on around me. What I had been missing were the therapeutic sounds of the tires rolling down the road and the oddly satisfying clicking sound of my rear cassette. It was also far easier to hear the others I was riding with and to converse with them.
I’m kind of a loner when riding and now know that riding with others can be pretty nice! Especially on long distances where things are more likely to go wrong. Also being able to encourage other riders and to be encouraged has an enormous positive effect.
It kind of reminded me of when I did my first 5K years ago. My sister-in-law ran with me and she would encourage me to keep going with the phrase, “Push, push, push”! To this day I still here her saying that to me on any ride that requires lots of stamina and endurance!
Another thing that happens when you stop adding in audio noise to your long rides is that your brain really starts working in amazing ways. Heck – that’s the reason I started this blog. I wanted to document the many things that came to my mind during my riding. By not being distracted with an audio book while riding I’ve been able to notice parallels between obstacles found while riding and obstacles I’m encountering during my day to day life. For instance, how symbolic a simple Detour becomes.
Will I quit listening to audio books or music while riding? Probably not all the time, but I think I’ll leave the audio entertainment at home at least once a week to see what other kinds of things my ears pick up.