I try to start most days by reading Frazz. Even when it has nothing to do with bicycles, it’s one of the most entertaining and clever comic strips around. This one was one of my recent favorites.
To listen to music, or not listen to music while on the bike. It’s a question that ensures—no matter what your answer is—you’re gonna piss somebody off.
Personally, I think anyone who gets bored bicycling without music is probably in the wrong sport. Besides, stuffing earbuds in your head and then climbing on a bike is a dangerous thing to do unless you happen to be fighting sleep deprivation during an endurance race in the middle of nowhere and have no chance of encountering traffic. Why compromise one of the senses that can keep you alive?
Hell, you might as well smear globs of Vaseline over your sunglasses, too. Go ahead, order the big plate of glaucoma with a side order of deafness. That way, you won’t be distracted by the sight of the ground rushing toward you as you wonder what that hot, roaring, metallic thing is that just attached itself to your ass.
Cyclists who ride with headphones or earbuds remind me of people who decorate their cars and pickups with little money-wasters like brake light covers. I mean, think about it: Do you really think the words “brake light” and “cover” should ever be combined? They’re brake lights, dammit. Visibility is the whole point. If I’m about to rear-end your pickup in the foggy darkness of winter, I’m not going to be comforted by the soft glow of a Dodge Ram logo in the final microsecond before impact.
When I ride, I’ll tune in to the Inhale and Exhale show. And I'll listen to all that other good stuff—like my tires humming on the ground, the wind in the trees, the gurgling creek, the birds singing, and that mud-splattered pickup that's rolling up behind me with a table dancer-silhouette sticker in the rear window and a half-dozen Budweiser cans rolling around in the floorboard.
My iPod will be waiting at home.