August 24, 2012
Every bicycle journey has a theme song. At least all of mine do. A tune that fits the mood of the journey ... or describes the place you are pedaling through ... or sometimes it's just the tune that is incessantly playing on every radio.
"White Bird" by It's a Beautiful Day became the theme song of my first bike trip. Why? Because our Adventure Cycling maps (then Bikecentennial) listed a big climb ahead. White Bird Pass. My buddy Thomas sang a snippet of White Bird six million times before we climbed that pass. It still rings in my head.
Johnny Clegg's Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World was the soundtrack of my five month trip in South Africa. Anyone who listens to Johnny Clegg's music will yearn to travel in that country.
Macarena by Los del Rio haunted us throughout our bike trip in the Balkans simply because it was playing on every radio in Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia at the time or our trip. The one time we had access to a television in Bulgaria, we turned on CNN, and there was Al Gore ... dancing to Macarena at the Democratic Convention.
Kat and I recently pedaled the Golden Circle, a route from Haines, Alaska, to White Horse, Yukon, to Skagway, Alaska. For the first time our trip theme song was provided by live musicians. Bonfire At Home was playing at the Skagway Brewery the night we pedaled into town. Loved their music.
The next morning we encountered the group playing outside the Alaskan Sojourn Hostel. I recorded them playing their tune, Ally's Face.
That tune has already spun through my mind a hundred times. There is a lyric in the chorus, "You went out of your way." I don't know exactly what Andrew and Tyler meant by that line when they wrote the song, but it speaks to my traveler's soul. For that is what travel is all about. Going out of your way to see parts of the world that others speed by.
Thanks Bonfire At Home for providing a great tune to accompany the amazing images and memories of our brief journey in the wild north!
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His latest book Travels with Willie: Adventure Cyclist will inspire you to hit the road and just might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com/.