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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-08-06, 01:29 PM   #1
nedgoudy
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I learned last week that you can ride a bike
with an mp3 player in your ear as long as you
keep one ear free (not plugged in) for safety.
This is in the State of California.

Woohoo! I bought a $50 Creative mp3 player
with an FM Stereo tuner and now have music
as I cruise the highways and byways of my hood.

I love it. And you can download Podcasts off the
Internet of all your favorite NPR shows or whatever
you taste in Talk is, and listen to them while you
go out riding for an hour or two. How great is that!

I can't say enough great things about this discovery.

Ned Goudy
Glendora, CA USA
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Old 01-08-06, 01:51 PM   #2
Nightshade
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Whoa,mate. Back up a bit. DO NOT RIDE WITH YOUR EARS PLUGGED WITH ANYTHING.
It's not safe. Can you still have tunes?? Sure you can if you do what I did.

I bought a set of battery powered mini-speakers and zip tied them to my handle
bars so I can listen as I ride. Works great!!! I can hear all that's
going on around me while I ride to my fave tunes too.
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Old 01-08-06, 02:06 PM   #3
v1nce
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I ride with Headphones blaring quite often, but almost exlusively on roads that i know very well or roads that are very tranquille. When i do have Mp3's on i also anticipate more, use my other senses more and generally ride more carefully. But i am also lucky since i live in the Netherlands and people being used to cyclists and the bike paths make any cycling a lot safer.

Any cyclists using the Nano I pod i am very interested in that one as it is Solid State (flash memory instead of a harddisk that can crash) and has good battery life, a color screen and is small unlike the I pod mini... Any thoughts on this player?
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Old 01-08-06, 02:10 PM   #4
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this debate (listening while riding versus not) has been discussed many times over. i believe if it's legal and an experienced rider is comfortable with the safety issue then it's fine.

personally i listen with one earhook/bud (NOT a plug), on my right ear. i use this on my commute which i've been doing the exact same route for three years and know where every pothole, danger spot is.

on a new route, or just riding around i don't listen, but i enjoy listening on my commute, as it's part of my routine, i enjoy it, and i feel perfectly safe.

be careful, and my advice is not to use PLUGS, but ear buds which do not plug up your ear, they just hang in there, and still keeps that ear open for other noise
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Old 01-08-06, 03:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
Whoa,mate. Back up a bit. DO NOT RIDE WITH YOUR EARS PLUGGED WITH ANYTHING.
It's not safe. Can you still have tunes?? Sure you can if you do what I did.

I bought a set of battery powered mini-speakers and zip tied them to my handle
bars so I can listen as I ride. Works great!!! I can hear all that's
going on around me while I ride to my fave tunes too.
Ditto this sage advice. Wearing a headset = stupid. I'de rather have my ears open as a passive sonar. Even cramming one ear is a very bad idea.

Back when cassette walkmans were the bomb, there used to be a device called the Bone Phone. It was a padded gadget you wore over your shoulders, and it had transducers that vibrated your bones, hence the name. It was the only product on the market at the time that let you jam to your tunes while leaving your ears open.
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Old 01-08-06, 07:29 PM   #6
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Yeah, this debate isn't new. I just got an Ipod and tried riding with it, but didn't find it comfortable. It's not the noise that bothers me, but the destraction of extra wires and gagetry attached to my head. As far as noise goes, I really don't think listening to ear buds is much different than, say driving in your car with the stereo on and windows up. In fact, I think driving in a car with the stereo on drowns out the noise even more, especially if you're in a luxury car with good sound insulation. With my I-pod, at a moderate volume, I was still able to hear all the traffic around me, and the sounds of my bike.
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Old 01-08-06, 07:40 PM   #7
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Well I opened the earbuds that came with my ipod for the first time just for riding. I have a pair of high quality in-ear headphones that rock but block out everything, I mean you could be on the subway with a screaming baby right beside you and you would only hear music. So I ride with the Ipod earbuds and a moderate volume. The tunes give me a noticable boost esp when I'm doing a work out ride. Just got my ipod for christmas but I haven't ridden to school listening to it yet. But I probably will on low volume. I also have a mirror on my helmet so I feel really safe anyways, I probably could even ride with the in-ear phones, but I'd rather er on the side of caution.
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Old 01-08-06, 07:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
Any cyclists using the Nano I pod i am very interested in that one as it is Solid State (flash memory instead of a harddisk that can crash) and has good battery life, a color screen and is small unlike the I pod mini... Any thoughts on this player?
I got a Nano for xmas. I'm new to the mp3 world, but it sure is tiny. I haven't used it while riding because I'm generally against riding and listening. But it's great for days on the train or bus. I just wish that it had a FM tuner so that I could listen to the local talk radio shows in real time.
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Old 01-08-06, 08:12 PM   #9
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Haha glad that doesnt apply to Texas. The only time I dont ride without music happens like 1-2 times a month. For me, music keeps me twice as energized
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Old 01-08-06, 08:39 PM   #10
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I'm also pro-music when biking if the mood hits, but most of the time I don't use my mp3 player because the outside noise usually is too loud. I couldn't ride with just one earphone on. It would weird me out. I'm a huge classical head though, particularly solo instruments or small chamber stuff, so most of what I listen to is acoustic and gets drowned out by the cars or the wind. Solo piano music is especially bad for bicycling around to, but violin will cut through pretty well.

For those warning about how distracting it is, thanks for caring about my welfare (really, thanks), and I really don't want to argue about it, but I'll just say I disagree.

I have a Zen Nomad Xtra 40 GB player. Much bigger and heavier than the iPods, but also cheaper and it has a large capacity.
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Old 01-08-06, 09:23 PM   #11
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I also listen to music while riding, but not that often. When I do i only put the bud in my right ear so i can hear the road on my left. music is pretty motivational.

steve
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Old 01-08-06, 10:05 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=Mtn Mike] In fact, I think driving in a car with the stereo on drowns out the noise even more, especially if you're in a luxury car with good sound insulation. QUOTE]


The only other main difference, is that when you are in a car, especially a luxury car, it is acting as your safety barrier. On a bike YOU are the safety barrier for the bike.
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Old 01-08-06, 10:24 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=derath]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtn Mike
In fact, I think driving in a car with the stereo on drowns out the noise even more, especially if you're in a luxury car with good sound insulation. QUOTE]


The only other main difference, is that when you are in a car, especially a luxury car, it is acting as your safety barrier. On a bike YOU are the safety barrier for the bike.
True that Cyclist’s have more motivation to be safe and vigilant than cagers, i.e. we are vigilant because our lives depend on it.
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Old 01-10-06, 12:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJ123
Haha glad that doesnt apply to Texas. The only time I dont ride without music happens like 1-2 times a month. For me, music keeps me twice as energized
Amen Brother!

I get a charge out of riding with music
and I may pay MORE attention to whats
going on in my line of site and noises coming
from behind me.

I am a BELIEVER in the power of mp3!

Ned Goudy
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Old 01-10-06, 02:20 AM   #15
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I use my shuffle when riding around town. I don't find it harder when to drive/steer/know my surrounding when I'm listening. In fact, the only reason I bought this player was for my bike commutes.
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Old 01-10-06, 01:18 PM   #16
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I don't do music on the bike, partly because it's too much trouble. When I get on the bike, I need to make sure I have my keys, my lock, the stuff I need at my destination... don't want another thing. Music doesn't work too well with the whole slowing-down-my-life thing. I don't want to be doing several things at once all the time. Biking can be a great time to just decompress, and I like to enjoy whatever quiet the city allows me.

From a safety standpoint, though, I don't see a huge problem with headphones. I'd prefer ones that don't go in the ear, but even ones that do plug the ear seem as good for letting sound through as the walls of a car. (the noise of one's own car drowns out the sounds of road hazards some, too.)

If I were a little more concerned about safety I'd buy a rear view mirror. My ears don't tell me where things are behind me.
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Old 01-10-06, 05:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerewa
I don't do music on the bike, partly because it's too much trouble. When I get on the bike, I need to make sure I have my keys, my lock, the stuff I need at my destination... don't want another thing. Music doesn't work too well with the whole slowing-down-my-life thing. I don't want to be doing several things at once all the time. Biking can be a great time to just decompress, and I like to enjoy whatever quiet the city allows...
I'm like cerewa. I've never tried music while riding. I think I got brainwashed with that "Be Here Now" stuff. Riding a bike is this immersive experience like swimming or walking. The wind noise, the sound of your tires, the traffic, that annoying click from the reflector on your pedal, your breathing, rattles as you hit bumps... it all goes together in this tight jazzy sound track. Listen to the way the tire noise and wind noise change in unison as you lean through a corner and sometimes, the edge of your foot scrapes at the apex to provide this emphasis at exactly the right point. You get the visual effect of the earth tilting in time to the changing sound. It all fits together. Any recorded sound track would clash with the experience wouldn't it?

If you frequently ride on a long straight highway with no cars, I can understand if you don't want to get into the passing scenary, listening to some rock 'n roll to match your pedaling cadence, some Skynard or something snappy like that. Or maybe a talking book if you're just killing time? But, even in the boring ride scenario, it seems like you're using the music to separate yourself from the experience.
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Old 01-10-06, 06:06 PM   #18
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I almost always have headphones. I completely tune out all city/car noise in any case since I'm so used to it, so whether or not I'm wearing headphones has no effect on how aware I am of what's going on around me.
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Old 01-10-06, 07:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwd
I'm like cerewa. I've never tried music while riding. I think I got brainwashed with that "Be Here Now" stuff. Riding a bike is this immersive experience like swimming or walking. The wind noise, the sound of your tires, the traffic, that annoying click from the reflector on your pedal, your breathing, rattles as you hit bumps... it all goes together in this tight jazzy sound track. Listen to the way the tire noise and wind noise change in unison as you lean through a corner and sometimes, the edge of your foot scrapes at the apex to provide this emphasis at exactly the right point. You get the visual effect of the earth tilting in time to the changing sound. It all fits together. Any recorded sound track would clash with the experience wouldn't it?
I can dig, but I also like some variety now and then. I'll change it up if the mood hits and throw on some tunes, and I don't feel like I'm missing out on the cycling experience - just getting a different one. Cycling through farmlands with Beethoven's Pastorale symphony filling my ears works for me pretty nicely. Sometimes, on long rides, I'll try to do all nine.
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Old 01-11-06, 08:00 PM   #20
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I put a single ear bud in the right ear, so the left stays open to listen to traffic. When In heavy traffic/area I don't know well, the music goes completly off.
When I'm tired and its cold and rainy, sometimes music is all that gets me home.

I've got a HD-based ipod, and never had a problem with it on the road, on my MTB or snowboarding.
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Old 01-12-06, 10:27 AM   #21
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@ UCSD

Hey Interesting,.. i am a sortoff pacifist vegetarian squatter anarchist biker from Rotterdam. Maybe we should go for a ride or to Eurodusnie sometime.
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Old 01-16-06, 03:19 PM   #22
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With my ipod, i was lucky enough to get a remote on the cheap, so when cycling i left the ipod in my pocket or in the bag, clipped the remote on my shirt, and put all the excess cable down the top of my shirt. It works well because you can pause the music, for parts of the road that you know are busy.

I stopped though mainly because of reading about accidents in this forum and secondly Ive started riding a bit more aggressively
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Old 01-19-06, 12:25 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2wheeledsoul
Ditto this sage advice. Wearing a headset = stupid. I'de rather have my ears open as a passive sonar. Even cramming one ear is a very bad idea.

Back when cassette walkmans were the bomb, there used to be a device called the Bone Phone. It was a padded gadget you wore over your shoulders, and it had transducers that vibrated your bones, hence the name. It was the only product on the market at the time that let you jam to your tunes while leaving your ears open.
shoot, i've been riding with an mp3 on trails and street for 3 years...typically one never needs to have the volume turned up too high, unless there's wind factor...so that you can still here what going on around you....but i keep a very high degree of situational awareness when riding anywhere....it's like driving with a cell phone i guess?!
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Old 01-19-06, 10:52 AM   #24
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I ride with earbuds all the time, the only things I can't here clearly are insults the fat cagers throw my way every now and then. I can hear traffic just fine. Wind tends to drown everything out so when that happens I give up and turn the music off. I'm really tired of the self-righteous folks who have never even tried listening to music while riding telling me what I can/cannot hear. I'm starting to think if they had their way we'd all be riding in full fluorescent coloured body armour and wouldn't be allowed to ride unless its sunny and 20c out.
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Old 01-19-06, 12:45 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrkott3r
I stopped though mainly because of reading about accidents in this forum and secondly Ive started riding a bit more aggressively
Perhaps you'd enjoy your biking more if you paid less attention to the conventional wisdom spouted by self appointed safety nannies on the various BF Forums.
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