Music maestra !

To cover the longest possible distances on my electric motorcycle, my riding style had to be ‘moderate’ to say the least. Or say adagio to fit this post. Riding at 45-60 km/h through ugly suburbs, too much traffic or too much of the same, it is —admittedly— boring. VERY boring at times. If on top of that, sun strikes at +35° and it’s after lunch, NOT dozing off is challenge number one.
Enters one of the best insights I had creating this project: MUSIC !
Not just any music. I wanted suitable music. Music matching the nature of my ride, demanding a fine ear and attention. Over the last few years, I became acquainted with contemporary classic music. Thus it happened: two good friends, composer Annelies Van Parys and mezzo Els Mondelaers, compiled a playlist each. Though some bits became challenge number two, most was JUST right. New worlds unfolded; it was a treat. Gliding through the ugliest urban mishaps, I smiled largely. Their music kept me company on the lone rides and saved me from standing on my head on the saddle or riding backwards.

This video gives a very good impression of how I lived many hours on my silently whistling electric motorcycle, including the music in my helmet.
This was what I heard and saw.


[to have a better quality HD view, please click to watch in Vimeo]

Music: Sofia Gubaidulina
‘Jetzt immer Schnee’ (Теперь всегда снега) on verses of Gennadi Aigi for chamber ensemble and chamber choir (1993)
[no data about the musicians and singers of this particular recording]

Soundscape: Xena, the electric Zero DS motorcycle

Recorded during a ride in Bulgaria on the return leg of my journey.

softly whistling to a gay marriage

My first week was one of testing, wondering, looking, listening. And keeping a sharp eye on the counter of Xena, my electric motorbike.
Day 1 with a fixed appointment in Sedan, France. I rode 226 km on a full charge + recharge of 2 hours (some 10 km to spare, probably). Day 4 : I squeezed 252 km (!) on a 100% charge out of her with some 5 km to spare upon arrival, ups…! Last 50 km I slowed down to 40-50 km/h and tried not to brake even once, as the bike regenerates power when letting her roll to a stand still. In the mountains I managed to regenerate a couple of percentages and smiled accordingly. How special, ‘refueling’ while riding!

As it happened, sun and heat stroke strongly —up to 35° and more in the shade— and riding generally at a grandma’s pace, more then once I tended to doze off…! Came in the MUSIC. For I had taken a box full of contemporary classic music, neatly divided into three playlists: one by composer Annelies Van Parys, one by mezzo soprano Els Mondelaers, and one with bits and pieces I gleaned myself.

I will publish the full playlists later, but here are some bits from playlist 1 :

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And I had an appointment. Friends-for-over-thirty-years, Sandro Romagna and Armando Pederzoli, were having their marriage party on July 17th in Brescia, Italy. They checked my whereabouts every day, feeling ill at ease that I wasn’t simply flying in.

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