I used to ride without music. Then I rode with ear buds. Then I started scaring hikers and runners because I couldn’t hear them and since they usually have ear buds they couldn’t hear me. Even when the hiker/runner doesn’t have earbuds, mountain bikes are remarkably quiet. On a lower traffic trail it’s easy to slip into Zen mode. The noise of the world fades away and it’s just you and nature. It’s easy to forget that anyone else exists. Mountain bikes slip up behind other trail users like ninjas. The consequence can be a hiker that needs to return home to change their shorts. I’ve seen more subtle reactions from jump scares in haunted houses than when I say to someone, “would you mind if I slip past you?” I was starting to worry I was going to give some older individual a heart attack or cause a runner to break an ankle. I’m not strong enough to pack them out of the mountains.
So I became a trail DJ.
I figured that music would let the world know of my impending arrival. Heck it might even scare off cougars. (I have an irrational fear of a cougar pouncing on me while I’m riding). One of my first playlists contained quite a few songs by the Killers. I love the Killers. One day I was ripping down the trail and when I saw a large group of hikers ahead. I slowed down and found a wide spot to stop and let them pass. As this huge group of teenage girls (part of a church group) walked bike my my speaker blared:
Now they’re going to bed, and my stomach is sick
And it’s all in my head, but she’s touching his
Chest now, he takes off her
In an instance I became a creep on the trail. I smiled to try to cover up my shame. That actually makes it worse and you look more creepy. Thank you Mr Brightside. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great song and the Killers remain one of my favorite bands but the timing was bad. Remembering that my primary goal was to let hikers know I exist and my secondary goal was a soundtrack for the ride I set out to create a new playlist.
No one says, “I hate your loud classical music!” Plenty of people might be bored by it but no one is offended by it. Quite a few hikers have said “thanks for the lovely music. It let me know you were there.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not always that “classical guy.” I have a metal playlist. I’ve got some great 80’s rock with Beastie Boys (Sabotage on the downhill am I right?) and
The ride – Providence Canyon