Bill Withers rode in with me today.

I don’t listen to my iPod when I ride my bike.  I know many people do, but I like to have all my senses working for me when I ride my bike.  It’s not so much a safety issue with me, although I do believe I am safer when I am able to hear traffic around me, I just like listening to the sounds of the world as I pedal to work.

Although I like to be in the moment, something in my commute usually sparks a song I sing to myself as I ride. Today’s spark was the glorious sunrise that seemed to wish me a good morning as I coasted down the hill through Washington Park on my way to work. With temperatures rising and the days getting longer, the sun’s glow on the snow clinging to the north side of the trees seemed to highlight winter’s the last desperate attempts to survive.

The clouds even had a silver lining. In my endless quest for meaning, I took that as a sign that our Governor’s attempt to use the state budget as a Louisville Slugger to bust up the unions is backfiring.  Even if he passes his budget, it now seems likely that it will be a pyrrhic victory resulting in his recall, a newly politicized middle class and a more united labor movement.

I don’t know if I was giving off a positive vibe or if the sunrise had the same uplifting effect on the rest of the world, but everyone I passed seemed to be smiling and said good morning.  I also saw three really cute little kids on their way to school, all holding hands as they crossed the street at 19th and Vliet.

Isn’t it great how little things like a sunrise on bike ride can be so rejuvinating?   My wife used to ride in with two other teachers who sang together while they biked to school. I used to pass an old man at the same bus stop who would lean out and sing Italian operas to me. How does music fit into your ride? Do you have any memorable examples?

By now I’m sure you’ve already figured out what song I was singing to myself as I pedaled in today, but if you can’t guess, here it is:

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About daveschlabowske

Cyclechic advocate from Milwaukee
This entry was posted in Children, commuting and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Bill Withers rode in with me today.

  1. Tim K says:

    A nice ride to work sure beats a cup of coffee and it’s a lot cheaper! I, like you, don’t listen to music when I ride. Love hearing the birds and the city come alive in the

  2. adventure! says:

    A nice ride to work sure beats a cup of coffee and it’s a lot cheaper!

    Hey! I like a ride to work and a cup of coffee! In fact, that’s what I’ve done! And it’s not that expensive if you make it yourself.

    Love that shot of the sunrise or sunset over the snowy background.

  3. Will says:

    Listening to music is for when you are driving a car!! While on a bike I am too wrapped up taking everything in to listnen to tunes. I think the quote below sums it up… its from an iconic book and written about motorcycles, but I think it applies to all two wheeled transport.

    “In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.

    On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”
    — Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values)

  4. Dave Steele says:

    I always scratch my head when I see cyclists wearing headphones or an iPod. If your ride is so boring that you need tunes to help pass the time, then there is something seriously amiss.

    Plus, for me, it definitely IS a safety issue. I don’t even wear an iPod when I’m walking down the street. Your ears are the closest thing you have to eyes on the back of your head. The careless manner by which most people operate cars (thanks in part to radios and other devices to help drivers “pass the time” when they’re behind the wheel) means when you’re on the street you need your wits about you.

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