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Music and mountain biking in Squamish

A Quest University professor is exploring the relationship between the two in upcoming lectures
Jeff Warren got the idea of exploring the relationship between music and riding after spending much time on his mountain bike.

A Quest University professor is exploring a topic that might be especially relevant in a town where mountain biking is a way of life.

Jeff Warren is looking into the relationship between music and mountain biking, and he’ll be giving a talk on it too.

He’ll be looking at how the riding community listens to music.

As a result, he’s been conducting interviews with mountain bikers and observing biking media, such as riding videos that have soundtracks.

‘As somebody who’s a mountain biker myself... mountain biking was my way of getting away from work, but since I care about how we use music in our everyday lives,” said Warren.

“I started thinking more and more...noticing how people used music when they go riding, and how music is paired with the flood of short form videos — the multimedia that comes out about biking.”

While it’s too early in the research to draw conclusions, Warren hopes the findings may be of some use.

For example, the data could be used to paint a picture of how music might create or reflect diversity in the cycling community.

“Coming at it from this music and mountain biking standpoint is what role does music have in creating or reflecting diversity within a mountain biking community?”

Another potentially intriguing relationship would be whether or not music changes the way in which bikers view the spaces they ride in.

In a place like Squamish where there’s often been fierce debate about whether users show proper respect to trails, as well as who has the right to use the land, this potential link could be of great interest.

“Another thing... we’re tied up seemingly constantly these days in questions about land rights and mountain biking spaces,” said Warren.

“My question would then be in what ways does music mediate the ways that mountain bikers think about the spaces they ride in?”

Also of interest to Warren is how the right tune might be associated with ‘flow’ — also known as ‘the zone,’ where actions seem to happen effortlessly.

“Music seems to play a role in how people relate to ideas of flow or their relationship between their bodies and the bikes,” he said.

Warren will be giving two talks on the matter.

The first will be in Whistler at the Whistler Public Library on Jan. 9, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Warren will be coming to Squamish for the second talk.

On Jan. 17, he’ll be speaking at the Squamish Public Library from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“My hope is that those who attend the talk will develop some ways to think about the connections between music and mountain biking,” wrote Warren in a follow-up email.

“While they won’t leave the talk with all of the answers, they should come away with some better questions and some tools for working on these questions.”


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