Interview: The Professor Studying the Connections Between Mountain Biking & Music

Feb 9, 2019
by James Smurthwaite  
Little did he know... Alex had high hopes for this weekend but perhaps not quite that high.

I have a playlist on Spotify that gets shuffled en-route to most rides. Each song takes me around the world - The Bronx's Ribcage to Queenstown with the C3 crew, Pennywise's Peaceful Day to the silty slopes of Mount 7 for Psychosis or Rob Zombie's Dragula to Sam Hill slashing dusty corners in Western Australia. Each one getting me ready to attempt my best impression of their protagonists.

Mountain biking has rhythm, beats and flows in a similar way to music and, for most of us, the two are fairly intertwined. Jeff Warren, a professor of music at Quest University, Squamish, is starting a research project into the links between mountain biking and music that he is hoping to turn into into "at least" a couple of scholarly articles and potentially a book. He began by giving a series of talks on the music in mountain biking videos but has since branched out to thinking about how sound and music affect the way we ride.

We sat down with Jeff for a chat about sounds, silences and shredding:





How did you get on this path? What inspired you to start this research?


All of my past research has been about everyday musical experiences that are often overlooked by academics who are looking for really special musical experiences. I wrote a book about Music and Ethical Responsibility and some of my key examples were singing a lullaby to a kid or the experience of performing music and thinking about food instead.

I've been now in Squamish for almost six years and as I've become a mountain biker here I began to notice that music plays a pretty important role in everyday experiences of mountain bikers. It wasn't until I had a chance to present at an academic conference last spring (and I was getting tired of the book I was writing) that I said, "well why don't I present on this topic?" I wrote 200 words on it and they accepted it so I had to write some more on it!

Would you say that mountain bike is distinct from other sports in the way it uses sound?


There are certain sports where the sound has always been important, just think of the quiet surrounding tennis or golf, which is different to the loudness of a football game. There are also definitely influences between skate, snowboard and mountain bike videos. People who make the videos think about the music in them, Pinkbike commenters make all sorts of comments about music in films but there hasn't been any study about how does this show up in mountain biking specifically.

The crowds here in Queensland know how to make some noise.

People seem to shape their lives around music. Often when we meet somebody might say “what music do you listen to?” and we think we know something about them from the answer. In the same way, we shape our lives around mountain biking. It's important to people's identities and how they spend their time and money. The academic term is 'serious leisure'. So if people do that both around music and mountain biking it's interesting to see when those two things come together.

Has it been hard to get people on board with it?


Whether I'm talking to friends or other academics, usually the first response when I say I’m doing music and mountain biking is, "What? What could you possibly be doing there?" But when I explain a little bit, people who are mountain bikers start telling me stories and academics start making connections in their field so usually after people get over that initial shock there's some point of engagement. The thing that's encouraged me is the more I present the research project and the research questions I have the more I find people are interested and they tell me something I hadn't thought about before, which then can even expand what could be explored.

In your research you’ve tracked changes in the music from a punk rock and hardcore theme in the nineties to a more diverse selection today. Can you talk us through that a bit?


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Yeah, the film I ended up with in the presentation was the Peter Wojnar's, Flow Up, Slow Down. It was actually that video that made me think, “there's something there, I need to do something on this”. There’s now so much variety and so many ways that film makers are working with the music, it's not just the guitar based punk/thrash stuff of the 90s or the kind of Art of Flight electronic music that's been transposed into mountain biking.

It seems that mountain biking edits are coming into their own, filmmakers are really thinking about what music can match with different types of mountain biking. You still see the thrashy stuff but you see hip hop, you see classical music, you see folk music and what I find interesting is that in all of these different edits, there's some sort of parallel between how it's shot and what music is chosen. The ones that really emphasise a rider doing something that's really difficult still seem to have really high energy music, whether that's electronic or hip hop or guitar based punk stuff. But in the Peter Wojnar film there's almost as many shots of the forest as there are in the rider and that seems to be paralleled in this music that's kind of folky and kind of electronic.

HoffFEST 2016
KJ keeping it old school

Is there a reason for the evolution?


I think that the sport definitely has come into its own, there have been reports in the Sea to Sky area here about just how much riding has grown in the past ten years and that there are over ten million mountain bikers in the US alone. Then also the way that people consume and produce mountain bike media has given the media producers a little bit more freedom and flexibility to try out new things with a wider audience. Also the technology of making edits is more accessible now than it was 20 years ago.

I guess the other thing is that we do consume music differently than we did in the 1990s, when it was CD and album based, to the wide variety of music that we can consume by using a Spotify playlist or by using an algorithmic approach.

You talked about Brandon Semenuk's Unreal section too. Why is that significant?



As a researcher I'm interested in what's there in the video and the variety of ways people respond to it. I pulled out the Scott Secco comment that said this was the greatest mountain bike video of all time, which is upvoted more than a thousand times. People like that video and there seems to be that several reasons why.

People either seem to point to the riding or the film techniques but I think that a video that really connects with somebody is one where someone could almost imagine themselves wanting to be the rider, especially if you are a mountain biker.

This edit seems to capture something about what mountain bikers want to be like, to be able to ride that smoothly, to be able to drive to the middle of nowhere to have a perfect trail. You hear all these sounds leading up to the point where Semenuk puts on his helmet and goggles and then all the other sounds disappear and he's off into this other world. That is where the music just takes over and the smoothness of the music seems to match the smoothness of the riding.

Of course, other people might disagree and not like it because it's not gnarly enough or they think mountain bikers destroy the environment and don't connect to nature or maybe they don't think that this is a proper use of this song. So I'm interested in the variety of different views that people have. I found that if you go to Pinkbike there's often a lot of discussion on what makes the edit good or doesn't make it very good. I see a lot that are of the sort that "hit mute on the video and then the film is really good."

A lot of edits are replacing music with raw (or maybe a fake raw). What are your thoughts on this? Is it something we see in other sports?



Bikes are different with all the technology and we have opinions about, for example, whether hubs should be silent or they should sound like Hope hubs and be loud and prominent. There's also something interesting in the Semenuk Raw 100s that by listening to the sounds of the bike and putting those in front, it points us towards parts of what the rider is doing. It's sometime hard to see if a rider is scrubbing a roller or not but if you can hear the scrub happening, the sound points you to that.

I do think we have had this movement over the past two years where we value the raw sound. But, of course, it's not the sound of what you or I hear when we're riding because we hear mostly the wind whipping past our ears or breathing heavy. It’s this idealised soundscape in the same way that playing Buffalo Springfield is creating an idealised soundscape through music. I want my tyres to rip those corners like the sounds I hear in those videos, they don't, but it becomes this ideal that can then actually shape the way that I go about and ride a trail next.

Once you watch enough of those it can start to shape the way that you see that trail and the way you want to interact with it and I think that's what's really interesting about it. Films first try to capture the experience that we have mountain biking but then they also shape the way that people go about and think about biking. It's a co-constitutive relationship - each informs the other, I think that is interesting.

In what other ways can music affect ones riding?


A common experience around music is that time can speed up or time can slow down when you listen to music and that seems like a common experience when biking as well. Everything's in the Flow and you can see things coming like you're in slow motion so it's interesting how music and biking fit with our ideas of flow and time and speed. I wonder if people might have certain songs that might help them unlock sections of a trail in a different way because of the way they perceive it.

Any guesses on the Bulldog s pre-race run music choice

Are we talking about the 'Flow State' here, or what mountain bikers colloquially call 'flow'? Are they quite a similar thing?


They're a little bit dissimilar in that I think we've got flow trails and non flow trails, but it seems like mountain bikers could talk about finding the right flow for something even if it's highly technical. It's also talking about this psychological concept of Flow State where you seem to hit a peak performance moment where everything seems to work. Interestingly the idea of Flow State seems to come from what artists do but then then has also been applied to sports.

Is there research into music unlocking flow and improving performance?


There's a whole bunch of research into music and athletic performance, some of it's really good but some of it is problematic. There's this popular concept that certain types of music will do something predictable all the time. In the early 90s there was the concept of the Mozart effect - you listen to Mozart and it makes you smarter. That went all over the media and went crazy but it was a scientific study that never got replicated.

Some of those assumptions have made their ways into scientific studies but there are so many issues in that because we all have different musical preferences, even listening to the same piece of music doesn't have the same response. There's lots of interest in the topic because athletes in all sorts of sports use music to help their performance and feel like music does help their performance but there doesn't seem to be any predictable way it does so.

What music do you listen to when you ride?


I often don't listen to music, the practicalities of all the wires and headphones stop me from doing that. Also because I have a world that's surrounded by music and I don't mind taking time away from that to take in the sounds of the trails.

I've tried all sorts of things like doing longer races and trying to listen to low tempo music to keep my heart rate down to see if that would work. I also tried listening to the Bon Iver song [from Speed Up, Flow Down] and riding Half Nelson and I loved listening to it but I came to the parking lot and there were some people there just at their cars looking at me really funny. It's because I had a stick in my derailleur and they had heard me coming down the last ten turns but I had music in my ears and didn't hear a thing!


110 Comments

  • + 72
 I think the connection here has to do with achieving the flow state, where thought and action become one and your instrument, be it your bike or guitar becomes a seamless extension of your body. I think we have all been here and it's the search for this feeling that keeps us coming back. The Zen approach of staying focused on the moment alone rings true on my best rides. Both MTB and music exist as an adornment (like a decoration or art) of time. Digging a trail is a lot like writing a song, choreographing a series of emotions within a repeatable and entertaining period of time.

It all comes down to shredding, one way or another.
  • + 6
 So it's not just pedalling and skids? Maybe I need some tie dye.
  • + 3
 @pbuser2299: maybe you do. Every rider's style is unique and riding can definitely be an art form, just watch Brandon Semenuk haha.
  • + 9
 Damn bro that shit you wrote was some deep stuff
  • + 2
 some of my most epic days have combined flowing on the trail in the morning, flowing on stage at night, can't really beat the ammount of endorphins you get from that!!!
  • + 1
 I agree! Have you read Zen kind beginner's mind by Shunryu Suzuki? It emphasizes on the zen aspects of experience and how to cultivate outlets in this case mountain biking
  • + 10
 Riding high with music brings me to that flow state every time.
  • + 1
 Whoa, am I still on pinkbike? Comment of the year already!
  • + 2
 Stimulating as many senses as possible simultaneously is always a winner.
@slayerdegnar: with skiing it's on another level, since ideally everything around you is soft, although you are going twice as fast.
  • + 2
 @slayerdegnar: See i cant do that, tried it once and had to stop barely into the trail and wait to be unhigh, thought i was going to impale myself on a tree
  • + 8
 I'd recommend reading
This Is Your Brain on Music
Book by Daniel Levitin

For me, uphills are the music time,(mostly reggae and jazz) downhills are listening to the bike for clues on how am i riding..
  • + 1
 @slayerdegnar: it's because you're high, the cannabinoid receptors are basically the same receptors that are responsible for sending and receiving endorphins at a neural interface, combined with the satisfaction of riding a bicycle, of course you'll easily enter a flow state. Disciplined to surrender to the flow without the need for cannabis
  • + 34
 I've studied music and worked in the music industry, music is all my life but I never listen to music while riding, i find it disturbing and out of place. I prefer the natural sounds of the surroundings the silence, that gets me " there" focused and in the moment. That being said, when watching edits, I really enjoy music mixed with raw sounds or not. I view music in edits as the state of mind of the rider, probably just because it's part of my day job. Music in "life cycle" gets me everytime, the section near the end with the high pitch tremolo guitar and ( I think Agassiz) triggers some very powerful emotions.
  • + 10
 Interestingly I can listen to music when I commute but find it an unwanted distraction when I'm riding in the bush. I find the tediousness of the boring commute goes faster when listening to music. Riding my MTB requires the focus to prevent the inevitable crash and I think this is part of the reason why I find it rewarding.
  • + 6
 @Blackers: same for me. I usually listen to music while commuting (earbud in one ear only so can still hear traffic). I*never* listen to music while mountain biking.
  • + 2
 Same. Music in the vehicle, tedious rides, videos. Silence in nature...riding or trail working(which I also prefer alone with my dogs). Peace Smile
-was thinking about it over the winter here actually...want to get my bike as dead silent as possible. I need a wheel build anyways..need a silent hub, recommendation? Thx
  • + 3
 explosions in the sky !!!
  • + 3
 @loopie: Onyx racing hubs
  • + 7
 The Earth has music for those who listen.
  • + 2
 @remmiedirt: Thx...I did just take a peek around. So pricey! Maybe DT350's with a good grease...
  • + 2
 @loopie: 350 are quite silent wirh grease but be careful not to put too much or they' won't engage or skip
  • + 1
 @freerabbit: Thx for lookin out...I did read that in the thread I found. Not thick grease and not too much.
  • + 1
 @loopie: DT Swiss 350 with a 18T ratchet if you can live with wide angle of engagement is near silent
  • + 1
 @loopie: It's all about the instant engagement. Trials riders would love it! They really make a difference riding technical ups that could stall you out. The silence is just a bonus.
  • + 1
 I went down the rabbit hole! haha...now I want near instant engagement plus silence...ughhh
  • + 1
 My bike is to loud to hear anything else than smacking the ground. Not really what I want to, my rear hub is not loud Wink
However I don't like edits with music in it because most of them don't get it right.
I did my first only with raw sound and most viewers liked it because most of the videos now are just blasting out loud aggressive stuff who don't fit.

I do love my playlist to go up the mountain, I do better if I have the right tune. Down it isn't that important but also the right tune can enhance my performance.
  • + 15
 The sound of silence is perfect. I want to beat ends of the bell to death who insist on playing noise out of a bluetooth speaker. A noise annoys as my old dad used to say.
  • - 7
flag inked-up-metalhead (Feb 9, 2019 at 13:45) (Below Threshold)
 My Bluetooth speaker is water proof and is designed to fit in a bottle cage. It's awesome for annoying people like you! Though tbf it's only used when we're out on a group ride and are chilling for a bit or just bimbling about, wouldn't use it at a trail centre.
  • + 5
 Absolutely. I live in BC and ride whistler and surrounding trails. It's noisy with people and sometimes even music. Every summer I take a trip to somewhere More isolated in BC. The dead silence on the trail is so peaceful. I love it.
  • + 10
 Personally this hits home for me. I don't ride with music playing but I almost always settle on a song that plays in my head while I'm out riding. I find that when I revisit a section of trail I often go back to the same music in my head that applies while I push, weave, and spin my way through certain parts. Music drives so much of someones day to day actions it's no surprise that it directly relates to cycling!
  • + 1
 Yes, this. I wonder how many people need to have the "right" song in their head while riding, but not actually listen to music. If I have something weird in my head before riding, I'll play a minute of a good song to make sure I'm prepared. I have to listen to music during many many parts of my daily life (like working on the computer), but absolutely can't while riding (same goes for dirt bikes) and trying to have a flow. Unless I'm grinding up some long boring climb...
  • + 6
 I dislike most of the music in mountain bike edits these days.
Only recent ones that I actually liked the music were the 50to01 in Jamaica with all of the reggae and the Fox Ride your $&@ing Bike with all of the punk.
I’ve never been able to ride without music. I have even bailed on rides because I couldn’t find my earphones.
I now use wireless bone conduction earphones when I ride so I can hear what’s going on around me, but still hear my music.
  • + 3
 I always used to listen to music while I rode but in recent years I just started to leave the headphones at home. I find I ride better and have more motivation and focus on the climbs when I'm not listening to music. Everybody has their own ways I guess as long as youre enjoying the ride Smile
  • + 5
 I like the idea of shredding to some good tunes, but ultimately I end up being distracted and disconnected from the ride. I have to hear the sounds, hear the way my tires are digging into the ground, hear the rocks pinging off my bike. I can listen to music anytime really, but you only get so much of the raw sounds that only come from a ride. Plus, not to be all nature boy, but it really is a time to connect with it. Hear the winds blow through the pines, the birds chirp, the creek flowing through the rocks. Everyone is different, but i feel its important to take all of that in.
  • + 5
 Ok, music is quite important in MTB, especially in edits. But i don't see myself riding with headphones. The sound produced by wheels, brakes ect. is a big factor on how you ride. It gives you some sort of a feedback and better sense of surroundings. However at the same time I play music in my head just to keep the flow and rythm (mostly rock). Will certainly read the final version of his reserch.
  • + 5
 Academically speaking (as a humanities prof. teaching in Alabama), I would suggest the project consider how music is a part of how groups construct identity... and then think hard and long about what this might say about how modes of representation, like music, effectively open or close - create or disrupt intersections across social differences - participation in sport to particular groups of people (say... just randomly choosing one.. erm... white males...?)... I bet interesting stuff would arise related social differences such as income, class, gender, race, language, etc.
  • + 1
 @nrloewen Thanks for the comment. Questions surrounding identity are a big part of the wider research project (and by the way, I'm headed to Alabama to teach in a few months).
  • + 2
 @jeffrw: I mentioned this to a friend and heard you were headed to AL. I'm hoping we might meet while you're here!
  • + 4
 That topic hits the spot. As a teen (loooong ago) i ripped the audio tracks of NWD and Krankend movies and listened to them while riding. I still do it today and the mix of classy tracks and pictures in my head set a perfect mood to push me on the trails. (for example nwd5 - cedric gracia - MOP/ground zero , thomas vanderham - grits/ooh ahh)
  • + 3
 Just wanted to say that I went to your lecture at the squamish library a few weeks ago and it was really great! Looking forward to hearing more Smile You touched on so many good points - mountain biking is so meaningful to so many people and I think it really does warrant further study.
  • + 1
 Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the talk!
  • + 6
 I prefer to hear the dirt on my tires. And maybe a moto coming up the trail (safety third)
  • + 1
 Or moose
  • + 2
 I love punk and hardcore, but typically don’t like that style in mountain bike videos for some reason. My three favorite uses of music in edits are:

Church- Viices by Made in Heights
vimeo.com/84103278

Ride the Fall- Vampire Lake by The Builders and the Butchers (seriously an amazing band, this is what got me into them)
m.pinkbike.com/news/Evan-Schwartz-Ride-the-Fall-2011.html

And of course, Remy Metaillier Burns the Whistler Bike Park- Ante Up by MOP (also love their song in Cedric Gracia’s NWD5 part- their style seems to lend itself to loose and fast as hell DH!)
m.pinkbike.com/video/376910

Three very different songs but each one fits the vibe of the video so well!
  • + 2
 Cool article. As a fellow academic I applaud Jeff for combining his vocation and avocation. The Semenuk video was fantastic, and the music is from (before!) my era. I was riding the bike park at Steamboat with tunes. I found myself on the Stairway to Heaven, and way (WAY) higher up in the air than I was used to being. I landed safely and softly, but dialed it back (sigh). The moral of the story is be careful about combining mountain biking with music that got you on the muscle when you were seventeen, unless you happen to be seventeen.
  • + 1
 Well said. It's easy to get too high at Steamboat!
  • + 2
 Could be really interesting to add a section to @trailforks where you can link your favourite tune for a particular trail to that trail entry in the app.

Would be fun to ride listening to someone else's favourite tune on a given trail and see if it changes your perception of the trail and how you ride it. Would also give some hard data to use in this and other studies.

I wonder if we would see any patterns and whether those patterns would "speak" about the trail, the community, the local culture or a combination of all those concepts and more?
  • + 2
 People listen to music when they're doing all kinds of shit. Running, riding motorcycles, exercising, clearing their house(my wife), you name it. Mountain biking has no more a connection with listening to fricken tunes than any other form of exercise and you don't need a damn PHD to see this.
  • + 1
 Do you think Axell listens to music when he rides his 240lbs Kwakasuki 450?
  • + 2
 Flow state, or the state in which mind and body are fully engaged in the present moment, can occur with or without music. It has to do with how you are experiencing the moment. For some, music may distract from the moment and actions of the body and brain. For others it may help focus them and and occupy part of their moment. I've experienced flow with or without music. If my mind is buzzing- I find music can help centre me a little and help me get into the moment. If I am coming into the activity calm I find there is nothing better than just being fully present without music and allowing the sounds of the activity and the full natural sensory spectrum to form the experience. Often times I like a mix- with music up and no music down.

If it is flow state you are after: practice training your brain to sit in the present and become active in finding experiences where the brain and the body meet the challenge, the activity is it's own reward, and time fades. Mindfulness or meditation has a growing lineage of research detailing it's capacity to expand ones cognitive ability to experience joy. It takes practice like anything else in life worthwhile.

“One of the most ironic paradoxes of our time is this great availability of leisure that somehow fails to be translated into enjoyment. Compared to people living only a few generations ago, we have enormously greater opportunities to have a good time, yet there is no indication that we actually enjoy life more than our ancestors did. Opportunities alone, however, are not enough. We also need the skills to make use of them. And we need to know how to control consciousness—a skill that most people have not learned to cultivate. Surrounded by an astounding panoply of recreational gadgets and leisure choices, most of us go on being bored and vaguely frustrated.” (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Happiness)
  • + 2
 I constantly think I'm dancing my bike on the trails! There are certain songs, new and old, that will come through my ears and i instantly start thinking, this song would be perfect for a video of riders ripping steep rooty shoots to flowing super loamy booters! Everyones got their flavor to savor and we all got bikes to be jammin!
  • + 2
 I just read this and I realised that I always used to ride better when I had my headphones in. I had a playlist made entirely of songs from various mtb films and web videos that was named “riding”.

Looks like I need to bring that playlist back and get my headphones back in - for science! tup
  • + 5
 In a flow state I like 90s Portishead and Massive Attack. I'm not even British!
  • + 2
 Very interesting research. I hope there's a follow-up article when his work advances a bit...

I've always found one particular video really cool for the connection between the riding environment, riding, and chosen song, and this was 6 years ago, when the overall creative element of most content wasn't at the level it is now. It captures the mysterious elelments of the North Shore, and that setting projects directly to how we perceive the riding.

www.pinkbike.com/video/297940
  • + 2
 I get it - Since 2010 I have been curating 'moving music' flow, specifically for Skiing and Mtn bike riding. I make a point of almost always riding with music - however I always listen at low volume with open air type headphones - so that I can always hear the world around me. Hear: radioradio.ca/shows/dj-grey_ski
  • + 1
 id love to talk to this guy. im a producer/mixer in LA (all time low, papa roach, basement, hands like houses, the front bottoms, a day to remember, devil wears prada, and so on) that used to race dh, and now just rides for fun.
  • + 1
 I am a mountain biker and a musician, my dream is to one day compose the score to a mountain bike movie, or maybe even have a movie edited around a score. Anyway, I can tell you that I have learnt so much about each discipline from the other from likening riding trails blind to sight reading, risk management, perfecting techniques slowly before playing and riding difficult passage quickly and visualization. The two use my mind in such a similar way. I live in Whistler and was hoping to make it to Jeff's talk at the public library however had to skip it for band practice that evening. I would love to add my experience to the research and I'm very interested by what is uncovered. Incidentally me and my band mates all mountain bike, I think that has an impact on the way we work together in many ways too especially when remembering to leave our egos at the door
  • + 1
 @rorymalkin I'll send you a pm - I'd be happy to chat with you.
  • + 1
 Listening to music helps! It gets me into the ride and out of my daily life/ associated crap of the day.

Music can be used in therapy/ meditation so it’s no surprise ..

Depending on the tunes, I’m more likely to charge those features that are my nemesis. I’ll also ride way faster and flow better..

I like the idea of tunes for specific trails!
  • + 1
 My soundtrack is in my head. I love the sound of the drivetrain, and the subtle clues that it and the trail give to my experience. You have to hear the clues to solve the puzzle and make it down the mountain swiftly and safely. I gauge my tires traction on rock slab more by sound than feel and correct as needed. I can hear immediately if something is wrong with my drivetrain. I don't want to mask that with music.
  • + 1
 I listen to music as it creates a soundtrack for each ride! I hear music that used to be on a cassette player I carried in a fanny pack back in 1991, which still brings me back to the trails I was climbing that specific day. Nothing beats a killer accent listening to Kings X.
  • + 1
 I know so many MTB riders that are also into guitar. There is absolutely a connection between music and MTB riding. Some prominent examples include a certain Jeff Steber and his friend a guy by the name of Aaron Gwin. A dude named Cam McCaul has a Stratocaster fretboard pattern inlayed into his top tube so he always sees guitar frets when he rides. Me thinks there is a connection.
  • + 1
 Everyone and their mum plays guitar though - it's like saying there's a connection between mountain-biking and brushing your teeth
  • + 1
 You're right! I was cast already in the first movie vhs I bought, the Chainsmoke! Like all others who came before the internet, the Terrafirma of Fox, can not remember the Crusty Demons of Dirt with the aforementioned Rob Zombie and everything that is radical in the world of motocross, The Great Pastrana with Slayer, and all New World Disorder scenes linked to athletes in their respective seasons. I could write and talk about it for days, I really enjoyed this publication! I am competing in mountain biking for 25 years and I repair a lot in this aspect, including in races, the sound that plays in the event is very important!
  • + 1
 When I’m really in the zone - my best days - a song always pops my head. I used to windsurf in the Columbia Gorge and on the big days I would be yelling lyrics as I psyched myself up for to hit the next “ramp”. Mtb it’s more subtle, but the music shows up just the same.

Unfortunately, I don’t get to pick the song.
  • + 1
 I listen to reggae when riding- not because I want to though. There’s just always someone blasting it out in Jamaica, even in the middle of nowhere! Exception being early Sunday when the country churches have some fun sounds coming out of them, ranging from extremely harmonic and spiritual to a ridiculous cacophony of unholy noise.
  • + 1
 I believe when music and visuals come together just right, that music and that moment becomes engrained in you. As a visual creator those are the moments I dream of making. This article really got me thinking about those specific times for me. One that popped up instantly is the Kamloops scene in Motive. The way the music builds with the riding, and the reactions of riders and filmmakers is something truly special. A goosebump moment if you will. Mountain bike films are the perfect trifecta for me personally. I love all aspects (riding,filming,sound design). The industry has truly shifted from "here is the grungiest-segment with in-your-face rock music" to "here is the most beautiful way I can portray this amazing sport". I'm all for the way it's headed!
  • + 4
 Blur Song 2 ringing between my ears for every extended downhill the last 22 years
  • + 1
 Always going to be a personal thing,but how about sticking up something you have on a playlist that "just works"on a particular trail,one track on mine is Dan Auerbach, Shine on Me that seems to make a section on a local trail flow even better,find myself looking for it when on it
  • + 1
 Interesting, but I`ve noticed that most of MTB video edits use some shitty musics that make my ears bleed, making me cut the sound pretty often. The soundtrack I definitely prefer is the raw sound of tires gripping the dirt Smile
  • + 1
 Music while riding is like a drummer going into battle with an army. Helps keep rhythm, pumps you up, and keeps your head in the game. The faster BPM helps maintain a fast beating heart especially for those that have to earn their descent and spend 80% of their time riding, climbing.
  • + 1
 '' I often don't listen to music, the practicalities of all the wires and headphones stop me from doing that. Also because I have a world that's surrounded by music and I don't mind taking time away from that to take in the sounds of the trails.''

+1
  • + 1
 I’m always singin when riding trails or DH. Frank Sinatra- Fly me to the Moon is my favorite, as is any 60’s and 70’s disco tune.

When I’m singing it’s a good thing because I’m enjoying my time on the bike.
  • + 1
 Much ado about nothing. Music and a million things seem to make those things better or somehow help executer of whatever thing it is focus more. Insert any sport, recreational activity etc.
  • + 0
 This is an incredible topic to research and write about! Just recently I was watching a Joe Rogan podcast where there was a discussion on the different effects music soundwaves have on the human body at different frequencies. Moreover, I have always been fascinated by one of the most bad-ass anthems out there, Bawitdaba by Kid Rock. Aparantly, what he was aiming for was the pure emotions that one can experience from the entire cadance of a song, no matter what the message is. Bawitdaba has no meaning what so ever, yet the energetic chant, the way it is screamed in a combination of deep voices, accompanied by the instrumentals, well that is just one hell of an espresso kick to enjoy! As far as the first Semenuk video, well it is a marvel to behold, by any standard. Its soundtarck also compliments not just the aesthetic, but also portray's the rider's mental state, being calm, relaxed, in control, flowing seemlessly and connecting such incredible feats of strenght and coordination as if it were simply a walk down the street. Awesome!
  • + 1
 If I ride alone I will toss some earbuds in about 50% of the time, believe it or not when climbing I like country as it helps keep an even cadence. When some high BPM music comes on I find I pedal too hard and "blow up".
  • + 1
 I'm all about the reggae for climbs. Very dependable reggae half-beat is great for cadence. When solo, I wear the buds almost every time unless they're forgotten.
  • + 0
 This dude is trying to study why certain music works or doesn't work with certain edits without realizing that the video is edited to the music (and many times shot to be edited to certain music), not the other way around.There are about a million classes, books, online guides etc. on how to do that. At the end of the day, editing is just like any other art form, you're either talented at it or you're not.
  • + 1
 Immediately reminded of Aggy nodding his head at the Rampage start gate. He later posted what artist he was listening to and when you go back and watch him it seems like the perfect choice.
  • + 2
 Slipknot makes me angry and ride super aggressively to the point of being a hazard to myself. I don't listen to slipknot while riding anymore.
  • + 3
 I'm sorry but this is such a pretentious, fluff piece
  • + 1
 Here's a good study, see how many people hit the mute button on a video when they use either rap, dubstep, or other obnoxious genre.
  • + 1
 My personal top 3 songs from mtb movies: 1. Two Shoes from Seasons; 2. Country Mile from Virtuous; 3. When I Sleep I Disappear from Virtuous.
  • + 1
 Check out my ‘Morzinebaby’ on Spotify playlist for some monster tunes from the best bike edits and tunes to get ya amped for riding. >.
  • + 3
 If I'm not listening to baby shark.. I'm not riding.
  • + 4
 Have you ever tried DMT?
  • + 1
 Let's flow tunes :Thievery Corporation-Warning shots,and Culture of Fear. Riding along and singing out loud while riding :Society-Commiserations. Mic out
  • + 2
 As a drummer I can't listen to music when I ride. Nothing on the trail matches the best of the music and it throws me off.
  • + 1
 Riding down the trails in Brandnertal while blasting Bob Marley on full volume was one of the best experiences I ever had on a bike, music really does it
  • + 1
 my best MTB dvd music line up has to be World Disorder I , I remember buying all the cd's to make my playlist MP3 players back then only handle 50 songs, good times
  • + 1
 Pennywise + Mount 7, I can attest to this being an excellent combo! (though maybe not at the moment)
  • + 2
 Ride bikes. Listen to Ho99o9.
  • + 2
 I saw them live once, supporting The Dillinger Escape Plan. Quite the odd mix of rap and punk rock.
  • + 1
 Let's flow tunes :Thievery Corporation-Warning shots,and Culture of Fear. Riding along and singing out loud while riding :
  • + 1
 There is no link. Who the hell listens to music when they ride? You wouldn't be able to hear what the bike is doing.
  • + 1
 Mountain biking is like playing Heavy Metal
  • + 0
 Absolutely the most badass thing possible?
  • + 1
 Waki doesn't listen to music, the music listens to him.
  • + 1
 Great to see Peter Wojnar's work featured. He definitely gets "Flow"!
  • + 1
 That Semenuk unreal video was harmony to my soul.
  • + 1
 I LOVE THE NOSE MANUAL E.T. IN THE LAST CLIP
  • + 1
 This is cool & all, but where are the Friday Fails!
  • + 2
 TWO SHOES!
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