Songs that become the soundtrack to our rides


A few years ago, while doing some much-needed yard work, a song came over my ear buds that took me back to a motorcycle ride down “Memory Lane”. The song, “Clocks” by Coldplay, caused me to pause and reflect on a moto-road trip I took with a childhood chum some years back. That song and that band aren’t the first ones that come to mind when thinking about motorcycle riding, but I remember that song playing in my head while riding a long, tranquil stretch of the Natchez Trace Parkway with my friend Lyle. The tune and singer’s voice were almost hypnotic, and it was the perfect backdrop to the state of mind I was in as we wound our way down that gently undulating road through south central Mississippi. I stood there in the middle of my yard, propped on my rake, eyes closed, riding that breathtaking stretch again in my mind, maybe even swaying, not so much to the music as to the memory of the big Yamaha Royal Star underneath me on that long strip of blacktop. I was there again, in my head and in my heart. An acute case of wanderlust was once again welling up within me.

Music and motorcycling just fit together, “like peas and carrots” as Forrest Gump once uttered. It seems like I’ve accumulated memory banks full of songs that hearken back to a certain ride, and vice versa. I’m not sure what dynamic is taking place, but nearly every road trip I’ve taken, sometimes even while local or regional riding, a song becomes the soundtrack that takes me back to that place, that bike, that traveling companion, that experience, every time I hear it. Here’s a few more of my favorites from the road.

A Fat Boy in the Smokies.

This I know

This bluegrass spiritual, performed by Crowder and his band of young musicians playing very traditional instruments, just grips me when I hear it. I’m transported to a stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Autumn, when Phil, Ted, Lyle and myself rode among the showers of colored leaves in mid-October. This song’s bridge, with the two girl’s voices seeming to waft over the Smokies, just slows my heart rate, causes me to take a deep breath, and relive the ride.


The awe-inspiring view of Mt. Adams.

La Belle Fleur Sauvage (The Beautiful Wild Flower)
Lord Huron

This brilliant piece of musical poetry evokes a rare, breathtaking flower high in the mountains, or a breathtakingly beautiful woman. Either way, I love this song, from a band I love to listen to on the open road. This song carries me to a section of the Cascade Mountains in southern Washington State, riding with Ted and his crew when the roadside suddenly opened up to reveal the snow-capped dormant volcano called Mt. Adams. We pulled over, and I stood transfixed, taking in the mass and beauty before me. I can almost picture the coveted “Fleur” somewhere up above the tree line on this magnificent peak.


Crossing into New Mexico, before the epic sunset.

I See You
Rich Mullins

I remember another road trip with my friend Mike, heading west out of Amarillo, Texas on I-40, making for Tucumcari by nightfall. We practically had the interstate to ourselves, as we chased the sun toward the western horizon. Descending off the high plains of panhandle Texas toward the desert and mesas of New Mexico, the setting sun was splashing a kaleidoscope of color across the skies. Behind us, as darkness crept over the canopy above, a nearly full moon was rising behind our right shoulders. With Mike riding lead, his silhouette framed by the sinking golden sun, I fell into a “flow” state. I rode, I sang, I prayed, and I found a stillness, a centering had come over me. It was a mystical, mythical peace, with the setting sun in my face, the wind blowing by my ears, my hands gripping the handlebars, the big Yamaha pulsing out a rhythm beneath me. That particular trip was in late 2010, yet I remember those moments, and many others on that trip, like they were yesterday. And this song by the late Rich Mullins takes me back there, every time.


The old 1998 Yamaha Royal Star, somewhere down in middle Georgia.

Magnolia Road
Allman Betts Band

Formed by three sons of original members from the Allman Brothers, among my favorite artists as a teen, this roots rock band echoes the sweet sounds of their fathers. Their song “Magnolia Road” takes me back to a long meandering stretch of GA 441, southbound across central/south Georgia through dairy and farm country, riding some of the tracks of my father. I rode it on my old Yamaha Royal Star, the big V-4 pounding out a rhythm beneath me on a warm, sunny Southern-fried day. Every time that tune plays over my Spotify playlist, I’m back on that bike, riding amidst the miles of cotton fields and cattle. Even in winter, I remember the warmth of that summer sun traversing South Georgia, and that tune in my ear buds.


The desert badlands of Baja. Stark, harsh, beautiful.

Horse With No Name

This 1970s classic has long been a favorite of mine, years before I ever associated it with a particular ride. But in 2018, that all changed. Riding the entire length of the Baja peninsula south to north, starting in Cabo San Lucas and cross-crossing back and forth from the Sea of Cortez to the Pacific, this song played in my head on a long stretch of MEX 1. Much of the Baja peninsula is arid desert, punctuated with tall, craggy mountains and long valleys. Riding north through the interior astride a Suzuki V-Strom 650, chasing my friends Lyle and Jimmy on a stretch between towns where speed limit signs serve more as suggestions, the song matched the scenery like no other. To this day, when I hear or think of “Horse With No Name”, the stark, harsh beauty of the Baja badlands enters my mind’s eye, and I’m riding it again, in my heart and my head.


Music and motorcycling are inseparable, at least for me. I love riding and listening. The sound and feel of a motorbike under my control, with certain music selections playing in my ears, often call forth emotions that forever cement that moment in time in my memory. Just like the music and riding scenes in the old movie, “Easy Rider”, a movie will often play in my mind of rides past, with my own accompanying soundtrack. I look forward to musically scoring more moto memories this year as well, with unforgettable tunes.

What songs evoke motorcycling memories for you? Share a few with us in the comments below!



NE Ga Motorsports


  1. Steve C Groth

    Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band “Roll Me Away.” I was on a bike trip to Virginia Beach from Oswego IL. This tune always brings me back to that ride. I can’t even remember the exact year. Maybe 1983 ‘cause I was on a Kawasaki KZ 1100. It was 1982 I think?

    • Rob Brooks

      Oh man, I love that song too. Perfect road trip tune.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *