Make your road trip 40 percent better with FIST PUMP OUT THE WINDOW

Remember your last road trip, the day you left town? Wherever it was, whenever — July 4th, Memorial Day Weekend, Spring Break — you were driving toward a place where you wouldn’t have to work. You could just play. Biking, climbing, backpacking, whatever. You were going to sleep on the ground in a place you could see stars, for more than one night. And it was all just beginning as you tore out of town on the freeway, maybe the sun was going down on a Friday night. You had a couple friends with you. You had some music playing. Do you remember what it was? Let’s just say it was this song:

Try to remember how it felt. I am going to give you a secret to make this feeling 20 to 40 percent better. It is called FIST PUMP OUT THE WINDOW.



It’s actually a very simple concept. Do you like that song that you’re listening to in the car? How do you express it? Maybe you do a little dance in the driver’s seat. Maybe you’re bobbing your head with the beat. Maybe drum your fingers on the steering wheel. On the freeway at night, maybe you are even singing along, loudly — hell, no one can hear you, or see you.

All these things are good. Music is joy. You are celebrating this joy. You are rocking it, a little bit. Perhaps you would like to ROCK THE SHIT OUT OF IT? If you are on a road trip, about to take a 3- to 10-day vacation from all that stuff that wears you out on a daily basis, of course you want to.

Here’s what you do:

1. Turn your car stereo up as loud as it’s comfortable. Blood should not be pouring out of your ears,  but you should not be able to communicate with your passenger by talking, or even shouting.

2. Roll down the driver’s side window.

3. Make a fist with your left hand.

4. Stick your fist out the window, and pump it. I prefer to pump my fist in time to the beat of the song, but whatever you do is up to you. If you are listening to speed metal, you may not be able to keep up the tempo for very long. You should be making big pumps, like 2 feet in diameter, out the window. Other drivers should be able to see your fist pumps no matter what side of your car they are on –front, back, driver’s side, passenger side. Your fist pumps should be visible way above the roof of your car.

5. If you have successfully completed all these steps, congratulations. You are the car on the freeway that everyone else wishes they were riding in. And you have just made your favorite song at least 20 percent more awesome.

The above photo is from a road trip I took with my pal Nick in 2008. The idea was that each of us would show up with an iPod loaded with a minimum of 8 hours of music, and one guilty pleasure song somewhere in the list. We alternated iPods, playing them on shuffle, and whenever either of those two songs came on, it was mandatory FIST PUMP OUT THE WINDOW. The songs were “Kickstart My Heart” and “Paradise City.” Imagine two 29-year-old men, one going through a divorce, the other wondering if he should take the leap and move in with his girlfriend, trying to figure it all out in the Tetons, Yellowstone and Devils Tower. Then imagine them pumping their fists out the window, yelling at each other things like, “Do you even know what this song is about?” “I think he’s listing off the guys in the band in this verse, isn’t he?” “Sometimes, I pretend Axl is saying ‘Very Nice City’ instead of ‘Paradise City'” and “Do you remember the video for this song? Axl actually has a legit referee’s whistle for that part in the song.”

That was a good road trip.



Semi-Rad is brought to you by Outdoor Research.

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  1. You think I could get in trouble if I teach my kids this? We are going to New Mexico for a couple days tomorrow and 20-40% better would be huge when you are dealing with tots! I think the risk is worth it….!

  2. Love this post. It’s been far too long since I rolled the windows down, let the wind whip my hair into a meringue and cranked the music. Next time, I’m adding the fist pump.

  3. It’s all fun and games until your husband unleashes his Neil Peart steering wheel column drum solo (using the hanging air freshener as tom #2).

  4. LOVE this post! That’s how I roadtrip too, if only in part to help me stay awake (I’ve done 4 solo roadtrips in the last 4 months).


  5. You are amazing. Couldnt have come at a better time. As i drive to Alice Lake in search of not so damp hiking (in lieu of drenched climbing), i will pump my fist with glee at being in this place, no matter what the weather or the activity. :)


  6. One glitch… Rush hour traffic in Boston does not apparently count as a road trip. Got some nasty looks around Revere and went back to steering wheel drumming last nite. Will let you know if the mood is better on a Friday while heading south.

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Article by: brendan