I am very fortunate that were I live, I can immediately access miles of rural back roads to immerse myself on my road bike. I spoke earlier about the sense of transformation that is achieved while biking. Here on these winding roads and gently sloping hills, I pass by farm lands, historic areas, woods and beautiful estates. What enhances a great ride is the right music. There is a distinct difference in the selection of music for road and mountain. On the road there is a need to be able to hear your surroundings for safety measures. Hence, my selection is always, soft, slow dancing ambient. My favorite band for a ride is the neo-classical ambient band from Austin Texas, Stars of the Lid. In fact, this has been the most prolific band for me in the past two years. This is aural mastery of the highest order. In contrast, when mountain biking, there really is no need to be conscious of your surroundings. Now your music can flow anyway you like. For the mountain, I prefer long flowing electronic sounds from bands like AES Dana, Bombay Dub Orchestra and Near the Parenthesis, or French Pop artists like Etienne Daho, France Gall, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Alizee to name a few. It is here on the mountain when you need that extra aural drive to push your rhythm to its fullest—to make that climb.
And to achieve a great ride you’ve got to know and trust your bike. I ride a Trek 4300 on the mountain and a Giant OCR on the road. Both bikes have served me well and have maintained their riding integrity in spite of the miles and punishment I have put them through.