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  1. #1
    Member caj808's Avatar
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    Just wondering what people think about listen to music while biking. I am planing on commuting 24 miles a day (on suberban roads) so listening to music will make the experience much more enjoyable.

    How dangerous is it? I figure that if I don't turn it up too loud I should be able to hear horns and such, but I don't think I will be able to hear cars approaching. Does this mater though, since there's pretty much a steady stream of cars during rush hour?

    I'd like to wear my Senheisser HD570's but since they are huge and my helmet won't fit over them I will probably go with cheep ear buds.


  2. #2
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    In CA. (and problably in most states) it is illegal to ride or drive with both ears covered by headphones. Besides confiscation by the police there are a lot of other reasons you don't want to bring any expensive audio devices with on your commutes or other rides. Instead buy a cheap helmet and and midrange set of headphones that you can partially disassemble and thread through a venthole near your ear and in between the plastic outer lining and the styrofoam body of the helmet, reassemble the headphones on the outside of the opposing venthole near your other ear and adjust this geeky contraption so the headphhones are an inch or two clear of your ears. This will look ugly but will be both legal and comfortable (headphones cause your ears to sweat and press on your earlobes and make them sore).

    Always commute with a mirror on your bike or better still, sticking out of that already ugly helmet you'll be wearing. It is my experience that you can hear the first car coming even with the headphones playing music, it's the second and third car following that you have to "watch" for. It is probably worthwhile to invest in an auto-reverse cassette player or an MP3 player if you have a PC, nothing screws up your momentum like stopping to fiddle with your music every 30 or 45 minutes or even sooner if the tape has already started before you start riding.

    [Edited by cvcyclenut on 06-20-2000 at 06:59 PM]

  3. #3
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    yo

    Hey, If you don't turn the volume too much I reckon you should be alright as long as you take it easy. I don't know what the traffic is like down your way - I live Down Under but if the traffic gets a bit scary I'd go without them.
    http://www.geocities.com/nothing4130

  4. #4
    Senior Member Cambronne's Avatar
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    I've worn out half a dozen Sony Walkmen in the past couple of decades. My commute is 32 miles round trip, most of it on a carless levee top road, so the added entertainment certainly helps.

    A couple of tips I could pass along... The "Sports" models hold up well, especially in the cold and wet. They'll take a crash or two, a plus where I ride. The Sports models use very small headband earphones, which will fit under a helmet and stay in place, unlike earbuds. When on the road with motor traffic, you can pull the traffic side earpiece back behind your ear, and listen with just the kerbside ear. This will aid your movement through traffic, and keep the police from bothering you. I recieved a "PV" (Process Verbal, a ticket) in Paris for riding with earphones on... Back home in Georgia, I doubt the cops would even realize it wasn't legal.

  5. #5
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Not for me

    Personally I'd rather go without them. The motorists in my part of the world are dangerous enough as it is (I refer to them as motoring primates), so I'd rather not increase my risks. As for bicycling being boring enough to need additional entertainment... NEVER!!!

    Chris

  6. #6
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    Dont do it!

    After sight, your hearing is the most used item when riding your bike (hmm, legs and lungs would be #1 and #2 I guess), you need to hear those cars coming, honking, yelling, sirens etc. I say go without, I just don't think it is safe, let alone legal to ride with headphones.

  7. #7
    Senior Member pat5319's Avatar
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    headphones

    Riding with headphones is like:

    Sword fighting with a pocket knife

    Rolling dice that are loaded for the house

    Driving in the Montana winter with one snow tire

    Getting in the ring with Mike Tyson

    Riding with Eddy Merckx while on a "Cruiser"

    etc. etc. etc.
    Pat5319


  8. #8
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    Earphones

    I carry a small portable radio in a handlebar Pack. Doesn't impair hearing and offers a variety of sounds.
    ljbike

  9. #9
    aka Sir MaddyX MadCat's Avatar
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    I tend to agree; riding with headphones is nuts. I wish there was a way though. I was at a stereo place the other day listening to Crystal Method on an incredible stereo. All I could think about was how awesome it would be to be able to have that to listen to while blasting through heavy traffic at night. But alas I would not live to see daylight.
    There must be a compromise though. Carrying a small portable stereo would be ok but bulky. perhaps something custom build to fit compactly in a backpack with a couple small speakers close to the head would do. Hmmmm
    Anyone tried anything like that?

  10. #10
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Big deal

    Man, the way some of these cats get so hot and bothered about such small things, you would think bicyclists are all squares instead of just eccentric.

    Ya, wearing headphones may impare your hearing a bit - especially if you have it up loud, but listening to music while bicycling is also very enjoyable.

    The best solution is probably a compromise.

    I like the idea of modifying your helmet to insert headphone speakers. If this worked well, it sounds cool. It would be even better if you could find a way to get rid of the cable that always seems to get in the way.

    I received a handlebar mounted radio from Radio Shack as a Christmas present. It works very nicely. It doesn't sound as good as stereo headphones, but it does make traffic easier to hear.
    Mike

  11. #11
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    Buy a small radio mount it on the handle bar, its better than a headphone, that your thinking of doing, listening on a headphone and biking doesn't go together, it like drinking beer and whiskey its dangerous....
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

  12. #12
    NOT a weight weenie Hunter's Avatar
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    I did i tyears ago and cranked up real loud as to drown out everything. However I was told by Johnny Law one day that if I got hit, he would not hold the motorists responsible. I Va. he explained it is up to the cyclists to make themselves as visible as possible, and we were to follow the same traffic laws. I do not know the law for this in Tx. but I expect nothing less. I do know this. We as cyclists can ride with headphones, relatively safely for the ost part, and motorists cannot drive and talk on the phone.

  13. #13
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    One more time...

    www.bikexprt.com/bicycle/hearing.htm

    about headphones on bikes

    This is the opinion of a very qualified person. However, not everyone shares it. It discusses the value of hearing for a cyclist in avoiding accidents.

    I am open to hear all views, but let me say personally that I don't listen to any music, only because I am too focused on what I'm doing. While listening to music may not be any more of a problem for a cyclist than for a driver, the point can be made that such distractions, whether for drivers or cyclists, can interfere with the concentration needed to avoid the sudden, unexpected
    calamity. Hearing may have less to do with this situation than mental alertness and concentration.

    All said and done, one still must wonder why laws are passed to restrict cyclists in areas where motorists are free to do as they choose.
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 04-15-01 at 12:29 PM.

  14. #14
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Those laws are passed to win votes. Personally I would prefer to ride without headphones anyway. When you're in heavy traffic it's a good idea to hear what is going on around you. When there is no traffic I'd rather here the sounds of the outside world anyway. I can listen to music when I get home.

    Chris
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    I've changed my tune a little since my fist post on this subject in January. I had a couple of close calls with cars coming up from behind me and almost running me over. I didn't even know they were coming until THERE THEY WERE!

    Now, I realize how much headphones impare hearing when bicycling.

    Still, it is so much more enjoyable for me when riding with some music. I now have a radio from Radio Shack that mounts on my handlebars. It doesn't seem to impair hearing traffic like headphones do.
    Mike

  16. #16
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    yes, as I have said before, riding a bike with a headphone is like drinking beer and whiskey, dangerous, and driving your car home your tribe will not increase.....
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

  17. #17
    Ich bin ein Lowlander! toolfreak's Avatar
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    I have a sort of "statement" and was wondering of you guys experience the same thing?
    I always wear earphones at my bicycle trips (work,school and sports) and I've become one with the two black things.

    *If you wear these you can`t hear other traffic users!

    *So your hearing abilities are disabled, its a natural thing that your sight is taking over the task!

    I,am not saying that its a safe way to bicycle like this, but when i ride with music, i feel very concentrated and my eyes are constant moving to search the danger.
    Its like being one with the traffic!
    (+its powering up my speed a bit )
    Does this sounds lunatic or do you experience the same?

    Mark b.
    Mark







    Dancevalley 2th of august 2003 -> JXL, Laidback luke, Sasha, John Digweed, Monica Krusse.....and on!

  18. #18
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Ya, Toolfreak, I sure know what you mean about enjoying riding and listening to music. I just absolutely love that combination. Music and bike riding go together like cream and puff.

    The reason bicyclists are so nuts about safety is that there is absolutely zero tolerance when it comes to collisions with automobiles. When you are a bicyclists, there is no such thing as a fender-bender. Even the slightest collision with an automobile has severe damage to both the rider and his machine.

    This is why experienced road riders tell you that you need all your senses at their peak performance. Obviously, headphones impair one of your most important senses for riding safety.

    I'm trying to figure an alternative to headphones as well. I have a radio on my handlebars now, which is OK, but not as sweet as stereo headphones, plus I can't enjoy tapes or CDs.
    Last edited by mike; 04-16-01 at 06:06 AM.
    Mike

  19. #19
    Senior Member HuffyMan's Avatar
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    I wear headphones and listen to the news on my morning workout. This is on an isolated road with little or no traffic at that time of the morning (5:00-6:30AM). My setup is a walkman with the little "ear bud" type headphones that don't require any modification of a helment and a light tug on the cord will remove them both in a hurry. You can also just use one side to have better awareness of your surroundings. If I get into any serious traffic, the radio stays in the backpack.

  20. #20
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    One has to wonder why motorists can crank up the sound AMAP but cyclists "shouldn't do that."

    On the other hand, we should protect ourselves. I'm just against inequality.

  21. #21
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    Safe or not, it could look stupid, if that’s a concern. I was riding behind a fella who was singing along, “Desperadooooooo, why don’t you come to your senses…”. Off key, as well.

  22. #22
    Love Me....Love My Bike! aerobat's Avatar
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    I'm glad nobody has heard me singing off key, then they'd really hate cyclists!

    I guess the difference between driving a car with the radio on and riding with earphones, is that the earphones are more exclusive of other sounds, being right in your ear. With the car radio on, at least at normal volumes, you can still hear outside sounds.

    Of course they way some people crank the volume on their car stereos, it's just as bad as having earphones.
    "...perhaps the world needs a little more Canada" - Jean Chretian, 2003.

  23. #23
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    I haven't looked into the handle bar mounted radio but, think it might get crowded with my headlight plus radio and speakers. If the quality is even half way passable though it sounds like a good plan.

    I currently ride with a very small walkman type am/fm. It has easy to push, without looking at them, station pre-sets. I use the ear bud type speakers. I use only one at at time, on the curb side and don't crank it up too far. I tape the bud not in my ear to the cord so it doesn't flop around. If the station is coming in well I listen to sports radio. I also really like good music and it helps me keep cranking and cranking faster. I guess it's psychological but, when I was running I flat could not do it without the tunes.

  24. #24
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Has anybody tried making a headphone helmut? I sure like listening to the radio, but don't like dedicating my hearing by wearing headphones.

    The handlebar mounted radio is OK, but like J.R. (Hewing?) from Texas says, the handlebars get crowded.

    I think it might be possible to mount ear-bud style speakers in the helmet.

    Has anybody tried this? Does it work?
    Mike

  25. #25
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mike

    I think it might be possible to mount ear-bud style speakers in the helmet.

    Has anybody tried this? Does it work?
    All the earbuds I've used emit such a tiny amount of sound that even if you could supply enough current to make it audible with the earbud not in your ear, it would be awfully distorted.

    Personally, I find that if I have music going (speakers or headphones or earbuds, it makes no difference) and get to really concentrating on some task, I completely lose track of the music and am unaware it's even playing.

    This leads me to suspect that if I'm aware of the music I'm not really concentrating on my task.

    And when I am cycling I want to concentrate--very much.

    Just my personal view.

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