The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

Office DJ: Soundtrack for whirring wheels and clicking chains

Kalley Huang is the data editor at the Daily Tar Heel.

I think best while cycling. 

My head clears when I am alone with whirring wheels and clicking chains. For a moment, I just focus on the road.

To be clear, I am not a particularly good cyclist. I have veered off the road because I was stargazing more times than I remember. I have experienced my fair share of accidents — one that involved a car. Unsurprisingly, I have failed to respect red lights as I ought to.

I also have made some of my sweetest memories on a bicycle: capping spring days with lazy laps through Central Park in New York, gawking at Spanish moss drooping from live oaks in New Orleans, plucking pomegranates from trees lining sandy sidewalks in El Paso, Texas. 

Cycling is how I ground myself in a place, regardless of whether it is the city where I grew up or where I spent the summer. 

Sometimes, when my head is especially clear, I bike without hands. It remains one of the greatest pleasures in life. Try it out during your next ride. When it is safe, pedal steady, ease off your handlebars and sit up straight. Soak in the world around you.

For your listening pleasure, here are a few songs to crank up on that ride. Kate Bush's “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” is great for low gear moments and Arctic Monkeys’ “One for the Road” for long stretches, but any will do for biking without hands.

Don’t forget your helmet!