Turn off the music

There are 2 types of riders when it comes to the subject of listening to music while riding; those who do and those who don’t. Pretty basic. 

But in the category of music listeners there are a number of variants. Those who are reasonably responsible who use just one earbud so they can hear other trail users, those who don’t give a shit about other users and use 2 earbuds ensuring that they are a danger to other users, and the totally self-centered who play their music through a Bluetooth speaker that basically says ‘I don’t care about your outdoor experience, I’m going to impose my crappy music on you’. 

Both of these last 2 suck, but for different reasons. With the 2-earbud rider at least they only piss me off when they do something stupid like turn in front of me as I’m passing them because they couldn’t here me call ‘On your left’. Fortunately, this has only happened a few times and hasn’t been disastrous yet because I expect it to happen when the rider doesn’t acknowledge me. 

The Bluetooth rider is more clueless. He (and it has been a ‘he’ 100% of the time) thinks everyone wants to hear his music. Or maybe – ‘chicks dig it’. All I can promise is that for every 100 trail users he encounters, 100 won’t like his music. Either they don’t want to hear music (or phone calls, or motors, or any of the things they are escaping from) when they are on the trail. Or they just think, ‘your music sucks’. I can’t choose NOT to hear your music – you can choose to turn it off. 

So – just turn it off – don’t be a wanker. 

Henry Coe Beauty

One of my favorite places to ride in the Bay Area is Henry Coe State Park. It’s a rugged and varied park with fun trails and always-challenging climbs. But the real reason I go is the sense of solitude and the feeling of being in a wilderness on the edge of a huge city.

Most days I’m either above the valley fog if it’s early or baking in the heat late in the day. However, today was unique with fog clinging to the ridges throughout the day lending an air of mystery throughout my ride.

The Spring is dominated by wildflowers and green grasses but during Autumn, before our rains come, it’s all brown grass

HC panorama

and the occasional Tarantula looking for a mate

HC tarantula
When it was time for lunch I found a nice spot nestled below a ridge and out of the wind. The little knoll was covered in Oaks and large boulders with thick carpets of moss

HC boulder

Getting to the spot I walked through 10 yards or so of grasses. I had forgotten that the fall grasses have a nasty sticker that cling to everything

HC socks
I’ll probably spend 15 minutes just getting all those out to save my socks, but I’ll remember my Sunday at Henry Coe a lot longer.

Best Part of My Day


Last night I had one of those perfect moments on the bike that I get only rarely. Left work a little later than usual so it was full dark and cold – just about 40 degrees. Not cold for most of the rest of the country but bracing for the ride home. After the first couple minutes I was at temperature and feeling good just as I hit the bike path on the edge of the Bay in East Palo Alto. Nobody on the path tonight except a little gray fox I’ve seen twice this week. And it was quiet. I only have 2 miles or so on this path and it’s such a relief from the busy streets that make up the rest of my ride. I’m on my converted POS MTB fixie and pushing just the right cadence where it feels effortless but still fast. Night riding away from the city lights always feels fast due to the tunnel vision you experience and this was perfect. And fixies are so quiet – I’m just gliding. I think about one thing at a time instead of having multiple things bounce around in my head like usual and I breathe.

I just got an offer for a better job. As I’m riding I realize the only downside is the commute. Sure it’s closer – 7 miles instead of 10 but it’s all on city streets. I would have to go way out of my way to ride a bike path on the edge of all this quiet. Should I keep my job because I like my bike ride so much? Has anyone ever done that?