Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Musical Distractions and my Mom

Music is a distraction to the studying mind. At least that’s what my Mom used to say when I was in the eighth grade. Then it turned into to: “Walker, you and that damn music better get out of this house. I can’t hear myself think.” A couple of years later, my Mom opened up and accepted the fact that my level of concentration sometimes was amplified by the music in my tuner. Maybe it was my youth. Maybe it was the fact that I was really good at sitting next to girls who had great note taking abilities.

Now, I’m older. I have a house. I eat sugar cereal whenever I feel like it. However, I don’t have the music blasting anymore. In fact, I removed the musical components from a very important portion of my life. I’m referring to the ubiquitous Ipod and outdoor activities like, um, mountain biking.

I’ve found that my Ipod is very distracting. I know I’m being heretical here, but I can’t stand messing with the wires. If I don’t like a song I sometimes spend two or three minutes – off my bike, off the trail – just trying to find a new song to ride too. If the conditions are windy, I struggle to hear even the loudest bands. Is it my old age (29)? Am I becoming more like my Mom? What is to become of me and the music craze so many people seem to be into these days.

I wanted to pose the question to you, my dear readers. Do you listen to music while you ride? If so, do you ALWAYS listen to music, or have you begun to “forget” the Ipod, on occasion? If you don’t listen to an Ipod, where you ever an Ipod addict?


Bintrim said...

I was trail running yesterday and my Ipod died halfway through my run. The only difference it made is that I could now focus better on the thoughts in my head. I realized at that point I didn't even know what I was listening to. It was just noise in my ears. It was also refreshing to get those sweaty things off my ears. I think I'll leave the Ipod at home tomorrow.

In college I studied with the radio on all the time. Now I can't read the Home Depot add with the music too loud.

Age - 31

walkert said...


Maybe you're on to something. When we get older do we lose the ability to concentrate? Or is it that we focus more on the important things?

Thanks for the comment!

bb said...

I have always loved music, but Ipod doesn't belong outside for me most of the time. I mainly enjoy it as a means to carry the bulk of my music collection with me in the car, or quickly browse albums and podcasts on my home system.

Outside is a time to forget about technology and all the other disrtactions of everyday life. The less shit I bring with me the better.
At age 30 I still enjoy music deeply, even loudly on occasion. Just not on my favorite trail, or at the crag.

BUBBAJ said...

I'm not to sure I could bear the thought of Johnny Cash not being there for the ride. Its flat as hell up here, and i gotta have something there for the rideto distract me from the falt ass farm land.

Age 30

walkert said...

Bubba J,

I can sympathize with you here. I used to live in Oklahoma. At times, the land is so flat that molasses CAN move uphill in the winter (what the hell am I talking about, it is early).

Cameron said...

I will say that it is impossible for me to focus when I'm listening to songs I am familiar with. If it's something I don't know, it separates me from distractions, most of the time.
On another note, I believe the ability to keep our worlds mobile(mp3, laptops, cell phones with Bluetooth, etc) has decreased the fun of random encounters and the personability of just walking around. We all deserve alone time, but it come on. Is it really necessary to eliminate all personal contact? If you must, at least turn it down so that you can communicate with the outside world.

Anonymous said...

To IPod or not to IPod - definitiely a rich man's conundrum. Life is very good indeed if that's the worry of the day!


walkert said...


You're right. I just finished watching a movie about the batan death march. I don't think they had Ipods during their run.

evan said...

Proud owner of two iPods - one 3G and one shuffle - one of which goes with me nearly all the time, including rides. I have a playlist called "Training Rides" that updates the Shuffle every week or so. Or sometimes I'll take the biggun (15GB) out on a road ride and just hit the shuffle button. I have found through experimentation that I love listening to music on some rides, not others. Road riding is nearly UNBEARABLE for me without something blaring in my earhole. Road riding is also nearly unbearable for me if I don't have rush-hour traffic in downtown Denver to play in either, which may give some insight as to why I prefer to have Glen Danzig, Bruce Dickenson or Eddie Spaghetti screaming at me when I'm perched on my Torelli. In contrast, I do NOT like listening to music while riding XC, even if it's a close-by ride that I do all the time. Something about the essence of the trail and the zen of the ride that I like, and music disturbs that. I've ridden/raced mountain cross and slalom listening to tunes as well, and it's fun if the race isn't important or just for fun, otherwise I like the concentration. I have yet to ride downhill with tunes, but I think I will like it very much, since it's almost a necessity to listen to tunes when I ride the moto. And as Cameron alluded to, I don't like listening to tunes on group rides - it cuts out the social aspect of the ride. But when I'm by myself or have 250cc's of four stroke power blaring in my ear, tunes are nice!

Age: 33