Riding my bicycle across Vietnam
I am, admittedly, no purist. I need something to listen to - music, podcasts, something to occupy the mind (in addition to the constantly gorgeous surroundings) and stir the soul. The hardcore, by-the-book cycle tourist might disagree, saying that immersion should be just that. Fair, but my ass is chafed and my legs are sore, and while that is fun to think about after the ride, it is the present that needs some mental tonic. Importantly, I have to be able to hear surrounding traffic while I’m on the bike. Before my trip, I acquired this really awesome helmet (Coros) that has two little speakers on either ear strap, they play into the air immediately surrounding the ear, but the speakers are not in-ear.
This has produced a really fantastic result, starting with the fact that I can hear the traffic. But it’s more than that - the wind, the reciprocating motion of my legs, breathing, and the metal-on-metal whirring of the chain. And the birds, and the tarmac beneath my tires, and the infinite “hellooooos” from schoolchildren being let out for lunch. It’s this feeling of absolute connection with surroundings, made all the better by The English Beat, The Clash, Brian Eno, Buck Owens, Flaco Jimenez, or JJ Johnson, to name truly only a few. Climbing the steep gradients, it’s the punchy music that drives my legs into the pedals. On the flat stuff, it’s the melodic that carries the momentum.