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  1. #1
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    Listening while riding (music, etc)

    I think it would be neat to be able to listen to my favorite music as I ride (I'm a classical musician, but that's beside the point). My daughter bought me an iPod for Christmas and we shopped together for some open-air head phones (found a pair from Philips - good sound, and you can still hear stuff from the outside).

    My problem is that, when riding at speed, not only does wind noise drown out the sound of the music (I could live with that - you can't have everything), but that same wind noise is so intense that I know it can be no good for my hearing (I am super sensitive to anything that will damage my ears).

    The best solution that I've found so far is to wear a sweat band over the ear phones. I am convinced that it not only insulates against the wind, but redirects it in such a way that it doesn't produce so much noise in the phones. Unfortunately, I find the arrangement very uncomfortable - and, of course, I look like a dork who doesn't know to keep his head band on straight.

    Has anyone else dealt with this and come up with a better solution.

    I'm not expecting super fidelity on the bike - would just like to be able to include this other passion of mine as part of the biking activity.
    Caruso

  2. #2
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Good morning, Carusowi

    There have been a couple of folks who rigged up speakers of some sort mounted somewhere directly on the bike, rather than earphones. It has been described on the BFN, but I don't even know how to search for that.

    Haven't a clue how they did this or how it works. Actually, right around here I have even seen a couple of radios jury-rigged to the bars.

    Other than that, do they have brain implants? You could just plug yourself in.

    BTW, what do you play?

    How is your cadence doing?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  3. #3
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    Yea, right, Dnvr - a sonic boom bag, LOL . . . and, a good morning right back at you. I play the piano and brass instruments (area of concentration was the Tuba - I don't play it while riding) . . . but my formal training was in voice - my two grown children are also musicians (a cellist son and a vocalist daughter). These days, I spend more time helping them with their musical aspirations than on my own stuff (they are both Juilliard grads and their careers are just now starting to bear serious fruit - it is an arduous task.

    As for my cadence, I just this week fitted my bike (and my feet) with the Candi Ti clipless system - and that seems to have disciplined my stroke a great deal so that I can increase my spin rate (this seems especially so during climbs). I still don't think I ride at anything approaching the 80-90 rate reported as average - but, at least now, I can see how that might be done.

    For downhills, those clips really seem to give me an extra set of legs - one of my favorite slopes where I used to struggle to get to 45 mph I was able to reach 50 yesterday - such a shame, though, at the bottom of that hill is a bridge with a terrible transition from asphalt roadway to concrete bridge - so, as I descend, my mind is constantly weighing whether I should swallow my pride and slow down to protect my wheels or take advantage of my momentum and hit that bump full speed.

    That spot would throw the wheels on my old Schwinn LeTour out of round every time if I hit it full speed. The wheels on my Cannondale (the stickers on them say Mavick Open Pro) seem to complain far less.

    Oddly, on the old Schwinn, I could always make 44 - 48 on that downhill, even on platform pedals, but, the new Cannondale always seems to require more input to reach speed - I don't quite understand that - it bothered me so much when I first got the bike that I considered returning it to the shop for something else - but, I believe I've made my peace with it, now - it will be a year old on Father's Day.

    Also, I don't remember if it was you or someone else exhorting me to get a helmet, but, I broke down and got one of those as well - I feel a little dorky in it, but, I wear it and forget that it's there after a while. When I mentioned the thread where we had that discussion to my kids, they both jumped on me that I should go out and get one - my daughter went with me to the LBS when I picked it up.

    So, as you can see, it doesn't take much to get an old guy like me to run way off topic - what was it that we were talking about??

    I doubt that I'd hook speakers onto the bike - however, it might be a neat thing for mfr's to do - put efficient little speakers into the bar ends or stem header (is that what you call it??) - maybe put some in the spokes somewhere so you could experience the Leslie speaker effect (Leslie speakers were made for electronic organs and featured a rotating horn that gave a unique (that's the generous adjective) pulsating vibrato effect to the sound).

    I plan to keep working on this earphone solution. The headband worked ok during the winter - I just don't see myself covering my ears during 80 degree weather - and your sonic boom bag, while a powerful solution, looks a little hot (make that "hot") to me also.

    Thanks for the reply. The weather here is really nice, today. I think I'm going to take a really long ride.

    Have a good one.

    Caruso

  5. #5
    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi
    Has anyone else dealt with this and come up with a better solution.
    For communication with the team director the pro cyclists use ear buds that are gently taped to hold in the ear. Have you experimented with several types of earphones? The obvious solution would be to slow down so the music quality is better, although I can think of many pieces where hammering away to the music would be great.

  6. #6
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    I can understand your wish to listen to music while riding, but I think that it is much more important to be able to use your ears to help your eyes to detect cars approaching from the rear.

    Leland

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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadnsnh
    I can understand your wish to listen to music while riding, but I think that it is much more important to be able to use your ears to help your eyes to detect cars approaching from the rear.

    Leland
    I think that battle has been lost.

    About 40% of the bicyclists I see (we have a lot of bicyclists) now are wearing some sort of earphones.

    So, the question now seems to be, "What earphone gives you the best additional hearing outside of the music." (or something like that)

    Personally, I would never wear earphones. BUt I live in an area where there are a lot of birds and other nature noises. To me, that is the best music.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  8. #8
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=DnvrFox]I think that battle has been lost. [QUOTE]

    DnvrFox: I hope you're wrong about this. Where I live it's against the law to ride on the road with any earbuds, headphones or the like. And, yes, I still see people doing it. However, I'm optomistic that the 60% who don't wear them will become an even larger percentage. Cycling, while a great joy to me, is still an activity that demands one's full attention. Currently, there is an informal debate brewing where I live. The local bike trail (now over 40 miles in length) has signs that say, "Ride right; pass left. Give warning when passing." Which is good thinking, however, those folks with the earbuds and headphones can't hear you when you do give warning. Last summer I saw one accident and several near accidents caused by folks with earpones drifting to the left when someone was trying to pass. Although, DnvrFox, I suspect I'm preaching to the choir in your case.

    Carusoswi: Please reconsider your riding habits. It's simply safer for you and the rest of us.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  9. #9
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I don't think I am wrong - the battle has been lost and the percentage wearing them has increased markedly. It is the "cell-phone" phenomenon in another dimension.

    In a Walter Mitty fantasy, I have been considering placing signs at our local strip mall, "Please don't talk on your cell phone while driving to protect your life and others." Yeah, sure. I wonder if a ban against cell phone use while driving would be passed on an initiative?

    We have no law against earphone use that I am aware of, especially on MUPS. EDIT: [PARTLY WRONG - please see next post!]

    Almost all walkers wear them. It creates a challenge to get through that blasting music with a bell or with "passing."

    Fortunately, we don't have a lot of walkers at the times I ride, and most are pretty well educated to stay to the right, being as they are typically regular walkers.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 05-28-06 at 08:26 AM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  10. #10
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I stand corrected. Colorado law states:

    1410.
    1411. Use of earphones while driving. (1)(a) No person shall operate
    a motor vehicle while wearing earphones.
    (b) For purposes of this subsection (1), “earphones” includes any
    headset, radio, tape player, or other similar device which provides the
    listener with radio programs, music, or other recorded information
    through a device attached to the head and which covers all of or a portion
    of the ears. “Earphones” does not include speakers or other listening
    devices which are built into protective headgear.

    1412. Operation of bicycles and other human-powered vehicles. (1)
    Every person riding a bicycle shall have all of the rights and duties
    applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this Code, except as to
    special regulations in this Code and except as to those provisions which
    by their nature can have no application. Said riders shall comply with the
    rules set forth in this section and section 221, and, when using streets and
    highways within this local government, shall be subject to local ordinances
    regulating the operation of bicycles as provided in section 42-4-
    111, C.R.S.

    I guess it just isn't enforced!

    I wonder if this applies to those "earphone type" cell phones?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  11. #11
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    "We have no law against earphone use that I am aware of, especially on MUPS."

    I believe that if you check your local motor vehicle codes you will find that it is
    illegal to operate with your hearing obstucted in any fashion. You will also find
    that bicycles are defined as vehicles just as car because they operated on public
    hiways & roads.

    Failure to observe this laws could place the foolish rider in jepordy of not only
    a moving violation but also loss of medical coverage in the event of an accident
    due the possible interpretaion that the rider was attempting suicide by blocking
    of their hearing. Far fetched?? Maybe, but insurance compaines are always looking
    for ways NOT to pay.

    I rigged a set of battery powered mini speakers to my handle bars with the player
    in my bar bag to have all the tunes I want........so that I can hear and ride legally.

  12. #12
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    In California you can ride with 1 ear
    plug in your ear as long as you leave
    one 'open' to hear oncoming or traffic
    approaching from the rear.

    As for the Wind issue, I took the little
    nylon cloth like covers off the pods and
    stick the thing deep in my ear and it
    seems to work ok.

    There are a couple of songs (by the
    Grateful Dead) that have drum solos
    that I can't hear well, but I figured if
    I really wanted to, I could amplify those
    songs in dbAmp free software (or more
    professional software I own) to make
    the songs louder.

    But riding with the mp3 player
    is a blast, and I swear it enables
    me to pick up the pace of my cadence.

    Rocking to my favorites from the 60s,
    70s, and 80s just seems to bring out
    the best.

    I too, enjoy classical once in a while,
    but unless I was leisurely riding
    Yosemite Valley or coasting through
    lush vegetated areas it just wouldn't
    work for me.
    Ned Goudy, Glendora, CA USA
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    I used to wear them a lot and enjoyed them to a degree, but don't now. They scare me, especially out on a busy road. I appreciate being able to hear traffic and (better yet) the sounds of nature. We have a rule against them for club rides, and they are against state law. I hate to be a "kill-joy," but I think they're not a good idea from a safety standpoint on regular roads. On a bike path, off road, or a trainer they might be just fine.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    I used to wear them a lot and enjoyed them to a degree, but don't now. They scare me, especially out on a busy road. I appreciate being able to hear traffic and (better yet) the sounds of nature. We have a rule against them for club rides, and they are against state law. I hate to be a "kill-joy," but I think they're not a good idea from a safety standpoint on regular roads. On a bike path, off road, or a trainer they might be just fine.

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    You wear earfones, talk on a cell when riding,or otherwise not tuned into external sounds, my organ donor card specifically excludes you from benefiting from my organs

    Yeh I know alot of folks are riding with earfones, and they will be the ones loudest in proclaiming "biker rights on the roads" ;no sympathy from me

  16. #16
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travelinguyrt
    You wear earfones, talk on a cell when riding,or otherwise not tuned into external sounds, my organ donor card specifically excludes you from benefiting from my organs

    Yeh I know alot of folks are riding with earfones, and they will be the ones loudest in proclaiming "biker rights on the roads" ;no sympathy from me
    From a trucker: DITTO!

  17. #17
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    I use ear buds occassionally on solo training rides. I would agree with the concerns about damage to your hearing. Because of the wind noise you have to crank up the volume some. I'm SURE it's not good for your hearing particularly if you were to do it regularly.

    I've had my hearing tested and have some hearing loss with some frequencies.......

    Like others, I really enjoy riding to classic rock. It helps to pass the time and I find I'm pedaling to the cadence of some of the songs.
    Last edited by jppe; 05-28-06 at 11:50 AM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Red Baron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travelinguyrt
    You wear earfones, talk on a cell when riding,or otherwise not tuned into external sounds, my organ donor card specifically excludes you from benefiting from my organs

    Yeh I know alot of folks are riding with earfones, and they will be the ones loudest in proclaiming "biker rights on the roads" ;no sympathy from me

    Ditto from Me Also - had enough close calls with cell phone folks in auto's. Wish it were against the law!!!!!!!!!!!! Just cause they do it doesn't mean we gotta condone idiot behavior. Only instance I'd wear headphones is on a stationary trainer. (Guess you know how I feel about it).
    **Fate is a fickle thing, and in the end the true measure of a person is not fate itself, but how they master it**

  19. #19
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    As far as being on the roads are concerned, I think the only things headphones, of any kind, would be useful for would be to blank out the sound of the car that kills you.

    Offroad..yeah, I can see headphones for some people although I don't care for them. But on the road? You're kidding, right?

  20. #20
    Mmmm, Blue Salsa.... BubbaDog's Avatar
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    Do a Google search for 'Bicycle Speakers' and you'll find lots of ideas for a speaker style system that will be much safer than riding with and earbud....

    B'Dog
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  21. #21
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Baron
    Ditto from Me Also - had enough close calls with cell phone folks in auto's. Wish it were against the law!!!!!!!!!!!! Just cause they do it doesn't mean we gotta condone idiot behavior. Only instance I'd wear headphones is on a stationary trainer. (Guess you know how I feel about it).

    Ditto from me too. Grr! Almost every near miss for me featured a car driven by a cell phone user, almost every pedestrian I have nearly hit while trying to pass on a MUP had an MP3 player on and didn't hear me YELLING (in some cases) BIKE PASSING ON YOUR LEFT.

    I can't imagine wearing earphones while cycling. I see the appeal, but for me, no way, no how, no no no!
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    In the 80's when I was first into road bikes,I used to go to a little park where I was alone and ride in a mile loop with a walkman I loved it but I think It is too dangerous to ride where there are cars or other bike riders with music.I ride a busy beach biketrail daily,and the people I pass with headphones seem oblivous to all around them.

  23. #23
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    I think some of you should lighten up a bit - and you should also read my initial post a bit more carefully. I was clear in stating that I selected a pair of open air ear phones that allow me to hear outside sounds as well as whatever is playing on the audio system.

    These are tiny little earphones a little smaller in diameter than a quarter - and they are open air - designed so that they do not block your hearing. You could, of course, crank the music up to a point where you wouldn't hear anything else - and, in short order, you wouldn't be able to ever hear again. I made it clear in my previous post that I don't do that. I stated that I can live with the fact that wind noise will at times block out the sound of the music.

    My concern about the wind noise isn't that it overwhelms the music - my concern is that the noise the wind, itself, makes while rushing over the ear phones is loud enough that I am certain that prolonged exposure would compromise my hearing.

    I don't play the music loud enough to be heard over the wind noise - loud music will also damage my hearing.

    I discontinued use of the phones while riding soon after trying them out - not out of concern for safety, but, because I couldn't stand the wind noise.

    I didn't have any problem hearing cars, car horns, etc.

    Their use while riding is probably against the law here in PA also - but I don't think it should be. We have far too many restrictive laws as it is.

    "What earphone gives you the best additional hearing outside of the music." Most any open air phone (not the closed buds that are so popular) will allow you to hear external sounds. The ones I have fit deeply into the ear, but are of open design.

    While you all go back and re-read my initial post (I know you will), you might want to asses the tone in some of your posts as well - seems like some of you would outlaw ear pods even for pedestrians - to describe their use as "idiot behavior" and "every pedestrian I almost hit while yelling" and headphones are only useful "to blank out the sound of the car that kills you" and on and on seems a bit extreme to me. I mean, really, what do you all do when you hear a car approaching from your rear? Do you crane your neck and assess the driver to decide whether this is the one who is going to kill you? I hear almost every car that overtakes me - and the fact that I'm about to be overtaken by a car does absolutely nothing to alter my riding style - I ride steadily in a straight line all the time - to the right of the painted shoulder line where there is space available. Exactly how does hearing an approaching car alter your riding style? Just curious.

    It really pains me that I ask a simple question about integrating my music into my cycling and the thread gets turned into a referendum on whether or not ear buds should be permissible while cycling.

    I will figure out a way to safely integrate listening to music with my cycling - whatever I do will be safe for my hearing, safe for me as a cyclist, and safe for those around me, and will enhance my riding pleasure in the process.

    Not unlike some of you, I enjoy listening to birds and waterfalls and leaves rustling in the wind. I like music, also.

    Like most of you, I've been around this old earth of ours long enough to take credit for my age, so, please . . . lighten up a little, ok?

    Caruso

  24. #24
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Caruso,

    You asked a question, and you got some answers. You don't like all the answers, seems like. Okay, take the ones that please you and move on. You're entitled to your opinion, and we're entitled to ours. I don't remember seeing any personal attacks, just strongly held opinions.
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  25. #25
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    Ok, my two cents:

    Anyone who wants to listen to music while riding, welcome to it, I'm sure you know you are increasing your risks by some (maybe small) amount. BUT to me, one of my major enjoyments of riding is being part of the outdoors and that includes hearing the sounds. Nature, wind, the hum of my own tires, the whir of the chain, etc. I really cant fathom why someone would give that up but that's just me. I'll listen to music while at home.

    Not to get into a rant here, but I am shocked by the number of young attractive women out walking on MUP's alone with music players going. The bad guys could sneak up behind them and they would never know till it was too late. Now that is scary.

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