How do I Know Biking is Right for Me?

I’ve had a couple of conversations lately, one in person, and one here on my blog, that reminded me of a post I read back when I first started this blog. It was in a post from King of the Hills in which he asked the question, “Are you an externally motivated runner, or internally motivated?” The difference, in his opinion, was whether or not you needed music when you ran. He loves running for the running itself, and therefore doesn’t use music.

A good blog post, in my opinion, is one that you continue to think about long after you read it. I can only hope that I have at least one post that has someone out there thinking about it even now.

This one resonated with me because I have done many things to stay in shape. I was an avid runner for quite a while. My greatest accomplishment was finishing the Seattle Half Marathon.

I ran well enough to complete my one and only Half a thon, 13.1 miles in just over 2 hours!
I ran well enough to complete my one and only Half a thon, 13.1 miles in just over 2 hours!

I will guarantee to you right now though, I ONLY ran without music (discman or iPod) when the batteries were dead! And every time it was a lousy run! I didn’t run for the joy of it, I ran because I didn’t want to get fat. I don’t miss it, and I am not sure, even if my legs would let me, that I will ever run again. I like walking 5 Ks with my wife, but the running days are over!

However, not all exercise for me is like this. When I was a hiker I NEVER wore earbuds for music, I liked hearing the birds and water and wind.

Carbon River Mt Rainier
Carbon River Mt Rainier

Snow shoeing was the same thing, its way to peaceful out in the snow to ruin with music

Chinook pass
Chinook pass
Pratt lake
Pratt lake

With biking, it honestly depends on the ride. On the rollers in the shed, I’d be dead in the water without a movie to watch. I don’t have the concentration nor desire to focus solely on my riding. This is why I finished Game of Thrones season 2 tonight after riding 16 miles during the last episode.

Outside though?  When I rode the Oregon Coast, I rode everyday for 5 days, and only used the iPod for the last 10 miles to my final hotel. I needed the boost! The STP, the first 120 miles, no music, chatted with other riders, and just enjoyed the ride. It wasn’t till I knew I had to kick it up some that I broke out the iPod.

My regular training rides, it just depends on the day, and whether I remember to grab it. I’ve had great rides without it, and sometimes I’ll even bring it and not use it. To me this means I ride for the joy of riding. It has the added benefit of keeping me from getting fat, but after all these miles, it’s still fun. Even on my training routes that I have done time and again, I still look forward to the rides.

I don’t need the music, it’s a nice to have(sometimes) but it is simply not a necessity!  I don’t begrudge anyone who uses iPods while riding, to each his own!  But, since I continue to have great rides without music, I can confirm that Biking really is right for me!

Ride it like you stole it folks!

7 thoughts on “How do I Know Biking is Right for Me?

  1. I’m much the same with running- I dislike it anyway. I think it’s boring and it hurts my knees. With cycling however, I have never cycled with music. Mostly this is from a safety perspective. Do you not find that the music drowns out any sounds of impending danger, or rather just detracts your attention from the road and the environment around you?

    1. I keep the volume to a level where I can hear the cars around me still, but still hear the music. I don’t find it anymore distracting than having the radio on in the car. I use it when I need the boost, but many times I have forgotten it and ridden quiet well without.

      But remember I have been riding for a while, I am not sure I would recommend this to a newer rider….

  2. Very interesting observation/point.

    I’ve never played music through any kind of device while cycling or hiking. Sometimes, though, I’ll hear a song and it will get “stuck in my head.” Last year I did some backpacking on Mt Baker, and for the trip to Railroad Camp (near Park Butte) my theme song was Little Lion Man, by Mumford and Sons. Does that make me a fence sitter?

  3. I’m a cyclist who sometimes runs. I never wear earphones and I guess that’s because for 25 years in the Army, I ran without them and kinda formed a habit. I never wear earphones while cycling because I am afraid I will miss the one time in my life when a kind soul shouts out, “Hey, buddy, the bridge on the other side of the hill is out!”

    My wife is a runner who sometimes cycles. She absolutely hates missing a run and says running helps her clear her head and lift her spirits. She always wears earphones and regularly updates her music list. To her, it’s a big part of the experience. To each his/her own, I guess.

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