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Old 02-05-06, 10:45 AM   #1
Mad Scientist
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Music Anyone?

I am considering getting a portable music player to listen to during my commute. I am wondering how many of you listen to music while riding, what kinds of music players work best for you, and what the drawbacks are (i.e. is it too dangerous because you cannot really hear cars approaching).

I am much more interested in listing to FM radio than MP3s or CDs -- so there is no need to turn this into an MP3 player debate.
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Old 02-05-06, 10:59 AM   #2
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I've seen people with handlebar mounted radios on their bikes and even glorified boom boxes attached in strange ways. I don't listen to music while I'm riding, though it is perfectly legal in this state. I would think as long as you don't have it up too loud and you aren't wearing crazy cover your ears earphones, it wouldn't be much different than having the wind blowing in your ears. Some units have external speakers that do not require earphones. I'm not sure if they work well or not. I have a cell phone that plays FM radio too, but it drains the battery too fast.
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Old 02-05-06, 11:14 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Scientist
I am much more interested in listing to FM radio than MP3s or CDs -- so there is no need to turn this into an MP3 player debate.
Sure there is. I often stream and record unattended FM broadcasts off the Internet and save the shows in .mp3 format to listen to at a more convenient time and place (like bike commuting). A week of Radio shows that easily get burned on to one CD for me include Crossroad Blues and Beale Street Cafe, Thistle and Shamrock and two additional hours of other Celtic Music from WNKU Cinncinati, and Prairie Home Companion from WOI Ceder Falls. I'm seldom able to listen to these shows when originally broadcast.

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 02-05-06 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 02-05-06, 11:30 AM   #4
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I probably paid too much for the radio I use. It's a panasonic/nike sports radio with simple-touch buttons and a 10 station memory (digital natch) and I listen to NPR or the local indie radio most often.
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Old 02-05-06, 12:18 PM   #5
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I use an mp3/fm radio one. It also plays audio books.
http://www.memorysuppliers.com/sasae11gbmp3.html

I got mine cheaper than that, like $90 bucks canadian from costco. Its cheap enough that if i go for a tumble and destroy it, i can buy another. Its also expandable to 3 gig and I actually use to transport files from work to home.

Hearing traffic : Earbuds (the ones you jam inside your ear) i dont like, they work too well at blocking out ambient noice, ie traffic. I use a cheap pair of panasonic waterproof ones that clip over the top of your ear. No foam to get sweaty, and i can hear traffic fine.

http://www.dealtime.com/xPC-Panasoni...istant_Clip_On

In cold weather i wear these
http://www.oneeighties.com/sub_categ...ABKRUZ70256F00

As to wearing and listening to music in traffic, the only drawback is if you play it too loud you cant hear traffic . Play it at a rate where you can still hear traffic, and its awesome. I know I go uphill a lot faster with some good tunes happening.
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Old 02-05-06, 04:17 PM   #6
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Awesome -- thanks for the links!
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Old 02-05-06, 07:36 PM   #7
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I listen to Bob & Tom on my commute. I have a podcast of thier daily shows setup and it's downloaded into my iPod Shuffle.

Since it's mono, I use one earbud.
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Old 02-05-06, 07:51 PM   #8
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i use one earbud (with hook, the reg. ones don't stay in). i use the right only, and just put left one in my shirt.

i have the xm portable satellite, i've had for about a year and love it, has NPR shows, BBC, music, and can record shows at certain times to playback, but if giving a recommendation i say just get an mp3 player and download your music or subscribe to whatever podcasts please you.

the past three weeks i've been listening to my spanish lessons on a small mp3 players, so if anything's distracting me it's wondering why Pimsluer's Juan and Maria went to the Restaurant Columbia with solo siete pesos y ocho dolares. no puedemos compra una cervesas! Entonces van al hotel y ver dos mujeres. este mujera es grande pero ese mujera es pequino!

give me six months. i'm getting better every day.
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Old 02-05-06, 07:53 PM   #9
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don't do it! use your hearing as 0ne of the senses of your surroundings(sp).. time will come later to listen to music. after a close call in 1982 in staights of Kansis, walkman blaring SexPistals "anarchy in the UK" , i pocketed the tunes. there is a time and a place, not while you're riding!
spin safe!
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Old 02-05-06, 07:54 PM   #10
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My daughter had some semi-earbuds that died; the left channel went out. So I cut the left earbud off and just use the right one. It's perfect. I only listen to audiobooks and NPR talk. I can still hear cars approaching many seconds before they reach me; at least 1/2 mile back.
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Old 02-05-06, 08:33 PM   #11
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OMG. Only one obligatory "don't ride with headphones you will die" reply.

5...4...3...2...1
thread degenerates into the standard for or against listening to music argument

I'm thinking about picking up a mp3 player someday.
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Old 02-05-06, 08:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Sure there is. I often stream and record unattended FM broadcasts off the Internet and save the shows in .mp3 format to listen to at a more convenient time and place (like bike commuting). A week of Radio shows that easily get burned on to one CD for me include Crossroad Blues and Beale Street Cafe, Thistle and Shamrock and two additional hours of other Celtic Music from WNKU Cinncinati, and Prairie Home Companion from WOI Ceder Falls. I'm seldom able to listen to these shows when originally broadcast.
This monkey thinks you have pretty good taste in radio.

I don't listen on the bike but sometimes I sing. "Running Against the Wind" by Bob Seeger and "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf are favorites. And of course "I'm a Monkey" by the Stones.
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Old 02-05-06, 09:21 PM   #13
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I don't personally like to listen to music while I am outside and in motion, as it were; walking around or riding with headphones in my ears doesn't have a whole lot of appeal to me.

That said, it isn't something I have anything against, either, and I have done it. My experience is mostly pretty good, though I found that the kind of earbuds that hook over your ears can really amplify wind noise, so you may want to avoid them. It can be fun to crank along to a good song that I particularly enjoy, so I think there's something to be said for wanting to ride with some music in your ears.

As for drawbacks, there seem to be few. Quite frankly, I don't think that hearing is a primary sense for riding on a bicycle. It's useful for general perception, but its actual 'resolution' in terms of determining direction and distance is pretty unreliable. Hearing will tell me that a car is somewhere behind me, far away, closer, or really close. To know anything more detailed about it, I have to look at it.

To the extent that there is a correlation between wearing headphones and losing awareness of the situation, I think that this has less to do with the actual physical interference with the ability to hear than it does with the person's simply getting lost in their own little world. Listening to music through headphones can be a bit of an isolating experience. I wouldn't worry about your physical capability to hear being impaired, I would just remember to be mindful of your spatial situation at all times, and just have fun riding, whether with tunes or without .
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Old 02-05-06, 09:32 PM   #14
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Using one ear bud works fine, but I put mine in the LEFT ear.
I'd rather hear the gears shifting then the car noise.
I can still hear the cars just fine.
Tis why I block the Traffic side.
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Old 02-05-06, 09:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesdenver
the past three weeks i've been listening to my spanish lessons on a small mp3 players, so if anything's distracting me it's wondering why Pimsluer's Juan and Maria went to the Restaurant Columbia with solo siete pesos y ocho dolares. no puedemos compra una cervesas! Entonces van al hotel y ver dos mujeres. este mujera es grande pero ese mujera es pequino!
This is hilarious! My wife and I love Pimsluer's. She had our children learning German for a while before switching to Japanese. The first time the announcer asked them to say excuse me, they responded Entschuldigen Sie!
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Old 02-06-06, 12:12 AM   #16
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never used to ride with tunes... but with the advent of the ipod, and now with podcasts, I'm in heaven.
I'm a Pro musician ( drummer) and recording engineer as well, so my "listening for fun" time is really only on the bike now.
If I ride on the road with tunes, I always have a mirror- that helps alot.

I'm using some wizz bang custom molded ear monitors ( Ultimate ears) and they are amazing.

Love to have different playlists for different commutes, Night/ day- and for mtn biking it's amazing.

highly recommended, and yes, probably not so safe.
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Old 02-06-06, 08:34 AM   #17
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I'm torn on this subject. My riding has always been decompression time and thus no music. However I do miss listening to Braves games on summer evening rides. And I miss listening to NPR on the morning commute.

I unexpectedly got an iPod nano for Christmas and I've become quite taken with it. It's super small and I got a completely waterproof Otterbox case for it. I've loaded it up with nearly a years worth of Science Friday podcasts. And best yet, a company here in Atlanta has an iPod-formatted copy of the Stoke's guide to bird songs. I'm going to install that sometime this spring and I'll be all set. A very small interactive bird song guide pushed me over the edge on this issue. I doubt I'll listen to it in traffic, but it's going in the seat bag for longer trips in the country.
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Old 02-06-06, 08:37 AM   #18
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ONE plug is not that bad ... check your six at all times without crashing is the challenge, headphones or not
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Old 02-06-06, 09:14 AM   #19
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Not really a smart idea IMO.
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Old 02-06-06, 09:28 AM   #20
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Earbuds aren't bad, just steer clear of the "in-ear" type (i.e. the ones that create a plug). I make sure never to crank the volume past halfway, regardless of traffic noise because I want my hearing when I'm 50. The only reason I may stay clear of an FM player is the temptation to fiddle with it when you're looking for a better station, but thats just cause I have ADD and can't sit through commercials....
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Old 02-06-06, 09:51 AM   #21
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To each their own. I do not. Your option except in states that regulate them like Colorado. The only time I quietly leaned on a rider with earbuds was at the start of a Bicycle Club of Irvine ride years ago. I asked him if he was going to keep using the radio during the ride? "Yes, why?" "Well one, did you come on this ride to socialize or to listen to the radio and, two, I don't feel it is safe so I do not want to be in any group you are in." I never saw him on a club ride again. My problem is I often focus so intently on any one thing that everything else fades out. More power to you multi-taskers.
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Old 02-06-06, 10:00 AM   #22
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I look at it as a compromise, same as every other aspect of riding.

Riding on the road is more dangerous than some bike path thru the trees since your subject to cars. So you should only ride on designated paths

Riding at night, even with lights, your vision is reduced, therefore you should only ride during the daytime.

Riding in the rain lowers your vision and reduces your traction, so you should only ride on sunny days.

So if we only went for times when we were at 100% max safety, we'd only ride on bike patths during the day on sunny days only.

How does reducing your hearing a slight amount, no more than the above examples, some how rate higher ? Now in a group ride.....id rather hear and talk to the people.
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Old 02-06-06, 11:02 AM   #23
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Opinions are like...well, nevermind, everyone has one.

I listen to Greg & the Morning Buzz in the morning and to Baker & Stoney in the afternoon (love the Binger Break) on WHEB.

The amazing thing is that, if necessary, I can pull the earbud out.
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Old 02-06-06, 12:35 PM   #24
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Sometimes I'm tempted to ride with music, but I've never been tempted enough to actually do it. I'm usually glad I don't...I love watching for birds and other wildlife, and I've spotted more than one really cool critter only after hearing it first.

Another reason: dogs. I wouldn't have thought it until a few months ago, when I was chased by a big german shepherd at night. Now THAT was scary. I just heard a faint jingling sound behind me, turned around, and there was Ol' Roy. Hollered at him to go home, and he paused for a second then resumed the chase. Yikes! No barking or anything! Needless to say, I dialed in 400 watts at 19mph!!! I could have been dog food if I'd had an ipod.

To get my music fix, I'll just listen to some of my vinyl collection before I go. I'm a big fan of music in my head, I can make songs last as long as I want, add parts...pretty cool.
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Old 02-06-06, 03:05 PM   #25
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I actually listen to books-on-tape during the commute on my cheap-o walkman that only side one of the earphones actually work.. No problems here..
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