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Old 02-20-16, 04:45 PM   #26
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I never comprimise any of my senses while cycling. Maybe on a trainer. Never in the real world.
This. Only ever on an indoor bike or trainer.
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Old 02-20-16, 05:57 PM   #27
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Do y'all listen to music while cycling?
Yes, with a handlebar speaker system. But I ride on rail trails only. Probably not a good idea for street riding.
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Old 02-20-16, 06:14 PM   #28
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No listening to music (or using/answering the phone) for me while in motion. Can't tell you how many times I had to frantically wave at cyclists (plus skate boarders and pedestrians) about an emergency vehicle coming down the street sirens blaring and lights flashing while they are either listening to music or on the phone.

Maybe some of you can do multitasking safely but many can't in an urban/high density setting. There also seems to be a tendency to crank up the volume to drown out any outside noises, so it appears to me their concentration is clearly elsewhere.
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Old 02-20-16, 06:34 PM   #29
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Can't tell you how many times I had to frantically wave at cyclists (plus skate boarders and pedestrians) about an emergency vehicle coming down the street sirens blaring and lights flashing while they are either listening to music or on the phone.
That really must be a picture!


What made you think on all these occasions that the cyclists plus skate boarders and pedestrians were unaware or in danger from an emergency vehicle coming down the street with sirens blaring and lights flashing?
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Old 02-20-16, 06:45 PM   #30
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Unicycle and You can Play the Accordion at the came time ..
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Old 02-20-16, 07:18 PM   #31
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I've been known to put music on before. Normally if I have anything on, it's an amateur radio transceiver, suitably squelched so I'm not listening to the hiss of a FM discriminator seeing noise.

I have been known to use that transceiver to listen to commercial radio (it'll do WFM in mono, and will receive AM broadcast with the HF antenna), or sometimes I'll use my phone.

The headset in my helmet connects to both, and is a reasonable quality stereo headset. No it won't match the quality of audiophile headphones, but then again you don't want that sort of experience, since the primary activity is the cycling, and for safety's sake, that has to take priority.

As to the genre, my music is the sort that was mainstream from 1960-1990. There's a lot of artists there, and the tempo varies quite a bit. I'm not a fast cyclist, so sometimes a bit of Pink Floyd goes well. Other times I've been known to be flogging the bike through backstreets to the tune of Deep Purple.

I never put music on when I'm in heavy traffic, it's always when I've gotten out of the "danger area" and thus can relax a bit. It helps that I have good mirrors, and good visibility, thus I'm not reliant on "hearing" the car coming, and they'd have to be legally blind to not see me from behind.
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Old 02-20-16, 07:27 PM   #32
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I don't listen to anything when cycling.
Sometimes its because I prefer the sounds of cycling, sometimes its because I find it distracting. Either way, at best I'm not really into music, and find much of it to be nothing more than annoying noise. The worst of it is when people broadcast their horrible noise in the few remaining places left where one can appreciate the "music" of nature.
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Old 02-21-16, 12:38 PM   #33
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Huh, I knew there were people on the forum who were firmly against music and such while cycling, but I'm honestly surprised by how polarized it is.

For my 5 mile commute, roughly 4 of it is a trail, so I feel pretty safe having music playing. Plus, I have just the right earbud in, and the volume pretty low. I can count on one hand the number of times I've encountered an emergency vehicle. Plus, emergency vehicles are damn loud when you aren't in a car. Most of the time, I feel like I react before the drivers around me.
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Old 02-21-16, 02:43 PM   #34
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The music/no music thing has been hashed out here many times before. We all ride in different situations, so people have different ideas about whether music is something that adds joy to the commute or something that injects danger.

I don't mind the debate as long as people don't start insulting each other or playing G-d with their opinion. I am 53 years old and I have been riding the same roads since I was about 8. I know the rough spots, the dangerous corners, and the places I need to really focus. I choose to wear a helmet all the time and i choose to listen to music (via speaker) when I know it won't hinder my ability to concentrate on traffic and when I know it won't upset anyone's quiet moment.
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Old 02-21-16, 03:15 PM   #35
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Huh, I knew there were people on the forum who were firmly against music and such while cycling, but I'm honestly surprised by how polarized it is.

For my 5 mile commute, roughly 4 of it is a trail, so I feel pretty safe having music playing. Plus, I have just the right earbud in, and the volume pretty low. I can count on one hand the number of times I've encountered an emergency vehicle. Plus, emergency vehicles are damn loud when you aren't in a car. Most of the time, I feel like I react before the drivers around me.
I don't care if others listen to music with ear buds if they maintain adequate awareness, unfortunately some don't. Personally I don't like cutting off my senses.

Music played louder than a conversational voice is an entirely different matter. IMO, its nothing but pollution no different from littering.
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Old 02-21-16, 05:11 PM   #36
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I'm in the middle of the political spectrum of this topic. There are too many people who are unaware because of their personal sound systems, and I don't want to be like them. I sometimes listen to spoken word with one ear in traffic, but it feels a little risky, so I prefer not to in heavy traffic. On the bike path, I'll use both ears. Spoken word seems to use less of the sound spectrum, and ambient sounds can still penetrate my headphones. Also, I deliberately wear leaky headphones. I like the cheap bluetooth type that wraps around the back of the head. It's easy to hook them onto one ear or both.

I'm thinking of getting one of those bike-mounted speakers. And no, they don't seem annoying to those not enjoying them. Cyclists using them zoom by me, and it's just a quick blast of sound. Not annoying, at least not to me. If someone were right behind me or ahead of me with loud, annoying music, that could be bad, but it hasn't happened so far. On my path, people are careful not to tailgate.
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Old 02-21-16, 06:03 PM   #37
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I guess I feel like if someone is going to be a dangerous driver, then there really isn't much I can do from my bike to protect myself. Whether or not I have a single earbud in isn't going to make a huge difference.

As an example, last June I was in an accident as a cyclist. The driver and I were both heading north. I was keeping a pretty close on her, as she was staying even with me to my left, instead of just passing me. As we came to a through intersection, she began turning right. Out of reflex, I turned with her and ended up getting grazed instead of hit. I hit my head and left side pretty hard on her passenger door/window. At first, she was really kind. Then she admitted to not having her phone, wallet, or purse on her. She had no proof of ID, license or registration, only her car insurance card. As soon as the cop turned up, she said I was to blame because I didn't signal I was staying straight. She also claimed to have honked at me but that I didn't hear because of my earphones. The cop took my phone, listened to my (still playing) music and said he could hear just fine over it. So in the end, I was in an accident while I was listening to music, but 90% of it was out of my control and the driver's error. (The cop and insurance company agreed. Her insurance paid for a new helmet, my x-rays at the ER, plus a day of missed wages).

However, I'm not going to stop being careful. Actually, I'd say I'm even more careful and more of a "defensive" rider. I've changed my commute to a safer route, regardless that it adds roughly a mile onto it.
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Old 02-21-16, 06:05 PM   #38
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The thing I can't get my mind around (probably because I have a Boombot on my bike, and it's on whenever I ride solo, so about 13 hours a week) is the repeated claims of preferring the "sounds of cycling" or any similar assertion. When riding with others (even if just my wife) the speaker is generally off, so I get to listen to those "sounds of cycling." That is, wind/traffic noise, and chain/freehub noise. That accounts for about 90% of the sounds during a typical non-speaker ride. While I certainly have some small degree of hearing loss from years and years of too-loud audio in my past, I guess I just prefer background sound (music) while riding over background noise.
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Old 02-21-16, 06:50 PM   #39
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The last three posts are interesting to me because they illustrate my point from five threads back so well. NoGlider lives and rides in Manhattan. Hanna is from Rhode Island. And DrIsotope is a So-Caler.

Having ridden in all three of those places, I can say that the bicycling experience is completely different from one to the next, and that's why these music-or-no music debates don't have black and white conclusions. Everything from the amount of traffic to the patience of motorists to the average climate of each place affects how bicycles and cars co-exist. And this has some bearing on whether listening to music is safe, not safe, annoying, not annoying, etc.

New York City is a joyful melange of noise every minute of the day. You need to be super sensitive to distinguish the constant noise from noises that might warn you of danger. I NEVER use my speaker when riding in Manhattan.

On the rural back roads of Rhode Island, let's say that area around the junction of 112 and 91, all I remember are long periods of dead silence and rustling grass with not a vehicle in site until, out of nowhere, a pickup or landscaping truck would whiz by me and almost blow me off the road. Even with my music at top volume (which is not very loud at all) I could always hear them coming a minute or two before they caught up with me. Same thing anywhere else south of Providence.

And while LA and San Diego are vaguely similar to Manhattan, the places in between are so laid back I can't remember ever having a close call on the bike. People there often drive with their windows open, which makes them that much more sensitive to what's happening on the road outside.

Bottom line: None of us has the definitive answer. Do what feels safe and responsible to you. Fate will ultimately let you know if you were right or not.
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Old 02-21-16, 08:33 PM   #40
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The thing I can't get my mind around ... is the repeated claims of preferring the "sounds of cycling" or any similar assertion.
I feel the same way about Kanye West, but some fans love him almost as much as he loves himself.

It's as difficult to explain the preference for ambient sounds as it is to explain any preference for music outside of the Top-whatever pop songs. One of my Facebook contacts loves jarring atonal music that defies categorization. I keep trying to grok it, but can't. Meanwhile, I'm a fan of found sound audio collages, weird remixes, the sorts of industrial ambient sounds underlying David Lynch movies. Some folks wouldn't hear any differences between my FB friend's tastes and mine, but to us the two genres are entirely different.

Besides, I've always enjoyed photography and continually watch for opportunities while riding, so I don't want to be distracted by music or podcasts. The world around me is the continually evolving show, not something that needs distractions to be tolerable.

I listen to music and podcasts at bedtime, which other folks might find annoying.
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Old 02-21-16, 11:29 PM   #41
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One of my Facebook contacts loves jarring atonal music that defies categorization.
I too greatly enjoy Aphex Twin, Venetian Snares, Squarepusher, Autechre, etc.

And much prefer it over the lulling rumble of traffic on the nearby interstate, or the sound of a chain relentlessly moving over gears. Music is not a distraction on the bike-- it's part of the experience... maaaaaaaannnnnn.
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Old 02-21-16, 11:34 PM   #42
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No. And I never feel comfortable passing riders with headsets on. I have no idea if they heard me call out ro what they are going to do.

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Old 02-22-16, 12:54 AM   #43
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I listen...

Sometimes from 1 earbud...

Sometimes from a little clip-on speaker...

I like having a soundtrack to my life...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exercise_and_music
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Old 02-22-16, 01:10 AM   #44
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...Venetian Snares, Squarepusher, Autechre, etc. ...
Hadn't heard of those, I'll check 'em out. Thanks.

I'm listening to some of my FB friend's recent playlist. Our tastes are pretty similar in some ways. We both seem to like odd cinematic music. And artists that sound influenced by Sonic Youth. My favorite Cat Power stuff is still mostly her early rawer SY influenced work on Myra Lee and Dear Sir, although I'm a sucker for her slick Memphis sound stuff on The Greatest.

But I still just want to hear the world around me when I'm riding. The way road noises reverberate slightly differently off a curb, the different buzzing and humming sounds of the pavement depending on whether it's smooth asphalt, chipseal or concrete. I'll sideswipe bits of gravel just to hear them skitter across the pavement. After heavy rains a couple of months ago I could hear the tinkling sounds of flood runoff in the open pastures. It's all music.
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Old 02-22-16, 09:26 AM   #45
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But I still just want to hear the world around me when I'm riding. The way road noises reverberate slightly differently off a curb, the different buzzing and humming sounds of the pavement depending on whether it's smooth asphalt, chipseal or concrete. I'll sideswipe bits of gravel just to hear them skitter across the pavement. After heavy rains a couple of months ago I could hear the tinkling sounds of flood runoff in the open pastures. It's all music.
And for some of us there's also the sounds of nature, birds singing and such.
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Old 02-22-16, 09:29 AM   #46
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Tow a Bike Trailer with a really High Watt battery amplifier and speaker set, with a sub Woofer ,

with an I Pod dock in it, and really let everyone, for Blocks, Know you are coming..
You mean like this?

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Old 02-22-16, 09:31 AM   #47
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My commute is super long by most people's standards. I make the time go by faster with a bluetooth speaker and a weekly 2-hour music podcast from Above & Beyond. At max volume it doesn't really block out any other ambient sounds. The wind drowns out other sounds far more than the speaker does.
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Old 02-22-16, 09:42 AM   #48
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You mean like this?


If you say so... You See that in Person? , that may be a Guy moving his speaker cabinet to a Gig.

People have built a rig out of Car Shaking Components.
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Old 02-22-16, 09:58 AM   #49
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lol nope that's a legit bike music speaker setup, and my pic. We used to have a monthly night ride called Cycle Memphis and the guy leading would pull that behind his fixie bike. Powered by 8 AA batteries I think. Fun was had by all.
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Old 02-22-16, 10:08 AM   #50
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Do y'all listen to music while cycling?
Only when the voices in my head sing. But seriously, after decades of no entertainment on the bike commute, about 5 years ago I began listening to to spoken word podcasts, one earbud curbside. But I also have a glasses mounted mirror and a handlebar mirror. If the podcast plays music clips, or if they use environmental sound effects or music to enhance a story, it makes it difficult to hear around me. But, plain-old human voice, seems to work for me. I also find I listen to more spoken word podcasts while driving now, too.
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