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Listening to Stuff on the Road

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Listening to Stuff on the Road

Old 09-17-18, 04:53 AM
  #101  
Sy Reene
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I'm pretty sure earbuds would be verbotten on any of the group/paceline rides our club has. I assume they have a reason.
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Old 09-17-18, 05:01 AM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
I'm pretty sure earbuds would be verbotten on any of the group/paceline rides our club has. I assume they have a reason.
for sure. It's be terrible to ride in a paceline with buds. Communication, bot visual and verbal, is needed at times. And even though I can hear people speaking while wearing buds, I would want to hear even better since i am riding with others.

...riding alone though? Well the reasons for no buds are gone.
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Old 09-17-18, 05:18 AM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
for sure. It's be terrible to ride in a paceline with buds. Communication, bot visual and verbal, is needed at times. And even though I can hear people speaking while wearing buds, I would want to hear even better since i am riding with others.

...riding alone though? Well the reasons for no buds are gone.
The OP never said all his riding is or will be solo. Lots of folks saying they can hear their surroundings just fine wearing headphones, yet I'd wager 90%+ of all bike clubs disallow them from their group rides. Where I ride, there tend to be good amounts of other cyclists out and about, so while I may not be always on a group ride, being able to hear another cyclist coming up on my left has been valuable at times. Nobody ever passes Dr. and Rubik, so they're forgiven.
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Old 09-17-18, 08:32 AM
  #104  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
People have accidents because they suck at driving. Or because someone else that sucks at driving caused their accident. I mean, seriously. If all of that is a roundabout way to explain accidents, at some point Occam's Razor has to be invoked.

It's ridiculous to assert that listening to music causes accidents to any more significant degree than absolutely anything else. Part of riding and driving is dealing with distractions. That 747 landing on the runway adjacent to the road, the car crash on the other side of the highway, the screaming from a child in the backseat, the scalding coffee coursing down your pant leg because you hit the brakes when a dog ran out in to the road....

That's part of driving. That's part of cycling.

As has been alluded to above, people can do more than one thing at once. Listening and riding or driving is certainly an example of that.
People suck at driving because they're doing it while texting, listenig to music, putting on makeup, eating soup (I've seen it), having a conversation with someone. Cars put people at risk just by being on the road. Engaging in any activity in a car other than focusing on driving should carry similar penalties to drunk driving IMO. Sort of torn as to whether music should be lumped in there. Probably not, but hey, slippery slope and all.

Some people are just genuinely bad at driving. Not many though. The masses are just careless/negligient, and view their breakfast and texting as more important than the lives of other people.
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Old 09-17-18, 09:35 AM
  #105  
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I have a riding buddy who was fooling with his Garmin as he rode down the street and went right into the back end of a car. He was injured so badly he was off the bike for 6 months. He's still not totally OK. All distraction is bad. Stop if you want to fool with your Garmin more than just hitting the right arrow. Even make sure you have a clear 50' in front of you before doing that. Sort of the biking equivalent of texting. One of the cool things about tandeming is the Stoker has responsibility for that sort of thing. All I do is drive.
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Old 09-17-18, 09:40 AM
  #106  
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Every example you give is nothing more than anecdotal. It proves absolutely nothing. Last year, a guy here on BF ran into a gigantic black and white gate-- stretching across like 5 lanes-- he admitted he had just been disengaged-- simply not playing attention.

Some people-- and I know this might shock you-- can switch between multiple activities very quickly. I typed this post while drinking tea, and somehow miraculously never spilled my tea once. Which would be pertinent, if music was a distraction. It's not algebra. I can listen to a song and ride a bike without crashing headfirst into a first car that comes along.
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Old 09-17-18, 11:28 AM
  #107  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Every example you give is nothing more than anecdotal. It proves absolutely nothing. Last year, a guy here on BF ran into a gigantic black and white gate-- stretching across like 5 lanes-- he admitted he had just been disengaged-- simply not playing attention.

Some people-- and I know this might shock you-- can switch between multiple activities very quickly. I typed this post while drinking tea, and somehow miraculously never spilled my tea once. Which would be pertinent, if music was a distraction. It's not algebra. I can listen to a song and ride a bike without crashing headfirst into a first car that comes along.
I don’t think anyone would argue that cycling while listening to music would lead the rider to cause an accident. However, it may leave the rider less aware of his surroundings than if he weren’t. Thus leaving them more susceptible to being blindsided by a distracted driver.

I like that the op specifically asks for advice on a one-ear listening option, so he can still at least tell if there’s a truck coming up behind him. I’d still advise against listening to music at all, but each to his/her own.
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Old 09-17-18, 11:47 AM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I ride with ear buds basically every time I ride. Most is gravel road riding with hardly any traffic ever.
the rest is on county roads/highways and trails. I hear as much as i want to, even with music playing. Just last week I had a short conversation with a guy from across an underpass/tunnel, so 40ish feet away. Music playing and all. Magic, I know.

as for hearing cars coming...i think there is limited benefit to knowing cars are coming. When i am riding along, what does it matter if a car is approaching from far behind? I will continue to pedal and the car will pass me as soon as they can. Me hearing it from 300 yards or 100 yards makes no difference. I don't ride differently when i dont have ear buds in.

Seems like it's not just cars from behind that I want to hear - I also like to hear any cross traffic that I may have to give an advance warning at intersections, or if there is another biker who wants to pass me and give warning. I am interested in the BT speakers that people are putting in their water bottle cages, this seems like a nice compromise since they won't cancel noises...

The Platronics Backbeat Fit works very well for me when running. I think you could just pull it out of your left ear and leave the right ear in. So - I'm a newbie and can't post a URL, but if you go to bicycling.com and search "headphones" there is great article about wireless headphones that may be helpful.

Last edited by swimmer_kyle; 09-17-18 at 11:50 AM. Reason: wanted to add a comment that was more relevant.
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Old 09-17-18, 11:48 AM
  #109  
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Apple's airpods automatically switch from stereo to mixing the two channels to mono based on whether you have one or two pods in your ears. I find one pod (since I'm US based, usually the right) lets me hear everything in the environment as well as the phone (music, podcast, whatever). In addition, it's legal (in many states, using both are prohibited for vehicular use).

During my decades of motorcycling, mostly in California I wore custom ear moulds. At the time, it wasn't legal to use earplugs or two eared 'pods, but custom moulds were legal. Made no sense to me; but the Legislature is "right" by definition. Once had some fun with a CHP officer. In the end, he conceded that my reading matched his (or perhaps his superiors) and wasn't vindictive in the slightest ;>
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Old 09-17-18, 11:49 AM
  #110  
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I am using the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium bone conducting earphones. They are a bit on the pricey side. They do allow me to listen to my audiobooks I get from the public library.

The only time I have difficulty hearing with them is when I am waiting at the traffic light wanting to cross U.S. 1, a six-lane highway at that light. Since I am just sitting there, I can move the sound part closer to my ears. Doesn't eliminate all the traffic noise, but I can hear the book. Once I pass that intersection it is secondary neighborhood roads with little to no traffic until I get to the bike trail. The trail is adjacent to a very busy road, but I am far enough away, I can hear the book.

I do not experience wind noise using them. However, when a call comes in, I have to pull over to speak. Not that I can't hear them, but they complain about the wind noise.

My ride takes about three hours per day, not certain I would enjoy it without listening to a Jack Reacher story or something similar.
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Old 09-17-18, 01:08 PM
  #111  
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Trekz Titanium Bone conduction headphones. Worn outside the ear so you can still hear everything around you. Bluetooth connection to iPhone. I have been road biking for over 50 years and find that more important than your a ability to hear traffic approaching from the rear is actually being able to see traffic with a rear view mirror. I have been using a helmet mounted rearview mirror for probably the last 15 years. I started out with the one that clips to the sunglasses but found the clip would eventually break. My current model clips to the helmet visor and is metal with a wide fully adjustable mirror. It is marketed as “The take a look cyclist mirror”. I can see what is coming up behind me, without having to turn my head, in order to plan when I need to be on the edge of the shoulder, ride single file, or prepare for a left hand turn. I won’t Cycle without it. We are used to driving a car with the windows rolled up and not hearing traffic but imagine driving a car with no rearview mirrors at all.
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Old 09-17-18, 01:15 PM
  #112  
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There a number of handlebar-mount speakers, so earphones not needed. One can easily hear the traffic while also listening to music. here's one example: https://www.amazon.com/Bluetooth-Wat...speakers&psc=1
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Old 09-17-18, 01:22 PM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
yuup. life is too short not to blast the boc, sabbath (pre dio) and deep purple. rock and roll on.
Good choices... I have them on my list!
might I suggest you check out Mother Engine, Naxatras, and Samsara Blues Experiment?
More modern, but the same sounds. Mother Engine in particular it is amazing the sound they get out of 3 guys: Main, bass and drummer.




Favorite sprint song, when he starts hammering those cymbals, you sprint!

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Old 09-17-18, 06:24 PM
  #114  
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Originally Posted by avole View Post
Indeed. Using ear buds or headphones is dangerous and really should be legislated against.
Riding a bike on the same road as cars can be dangerous, too. Do we really need laws against everything that’s dangerous?
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Old 09-17-18, 06:39 PM
  #115  
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Awesome

I wear a hearing aid in my right ear, so I can’t use earbuds or headphones in that ear. I tried just using a single earbud in my left ear (and tucking the right one into my shirt collar), but I was missing half the music. I switched to a Bluetooth earpiece, which gave me both right and left channels and I could answer my phone on the road, but I couldn’t get enough volume in the wind. So, I talked myself into Apple AirPods, and I couldn’t be happier. Kind of spendy, like all things Apple, but exceeded my expectations, like all things Apple.
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Old 09-17-18, 07:57 PM
  #116  
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Before you Listen and Ride

Im not hard over on enforcing the law here ... just passing along information.

Many states make it illegal to ride on the road with headphones. Virginia allows bicyclists to ride with one earpiece. Riding with ear piece in both ears is illegal.

YMMV
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Old 09-17-18, 08:15 PM
  #117  
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Originally Posted by suttonjp View Post
I wear a hearing aid in my right ear, so I can’t use earbuds or headphones in that ear. I tried just using a single earbud in my left ear (and tucking the right one into my shirt collar), but I was missing half the music. I switched to a Bluetooth earpiece, which gave me both right and left channels and I could answer my phone on the road, but I couldn’t get enough volume in the wind. So, I talked myself into Apple AirPods, and I couldn’t be happier. Kind of spendy, like all things Apple, but exceeded my expectations, like all things Apple.
do a search they make stereo to mono ear buds. You get all the sound but in just one ear. I wear them and I still have one ear for other sounds.
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Old 09-17-18, 11:42 PM
  #118  
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I'm not flexible enough.
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Old 09-18-18, 03:51 AM
  #119  
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I'm another Trekz Titanium user. I find them great for listening to podcasts and the like when riding.
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Old 09-18-18, 06:21 AM
  #120  
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A lot of people with some amazing abilities in this thread.
Riding a bicycle with all of the accompanying wind noise they can tell if a vehicle approaching them from behind is on a safe course to pass them or it is heading right for them. A difference of about 36”.
And they can process and react to all of this in the matter of a couple seconds that it would make a difference if the vehicle is travelling over 25 or so mph.
Yep. Listening to any type of music on a ride is deadly
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Old 09-18-18, 10:30 AM
  #121  
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
A lot of people with some amazing abilities in this thread.
Riding a bicycle with all of the accompanying wind noise they can tell if a vehicle approaching them from behind is on a safe course to pass them or it is heading right for them. A difference of about 36”.
And they can process and react to all of this in the matter of a couple seconds that it would make a difference if the vehicle is travelling over 25 or so mph.
Yep. Listening to any type of music on a ride is deadly
There's nothing amazing about hearing a car behind you. When you hear it you can turn your head and use your eyes to look at it.

It's true, if the car is very quiet you won't hear it over the wind noise. But loudness is a scale, and playing music will raise the threshold for which cars you can hear. I choose to keep that threshold as low as I can. I have a family who rely on my income.
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Old 09-18-18, 10:59 AM
  #122  
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Originally Posted by memebag View Post
There's nothing amazing about hearing a car behind you. When you hear it you can turn your head and use your eyes to look at it.

It's true, if the car is very quiet you won't hear it over the wind noise. But loudness is a scale, and playing music will raise the threshold for which cars you can hear. I choose to keep that threshold as low as I can. I have a family who rely on my income.
You turn your head to look at every car that approaches you from behind?
Very cool.
Either way you somehow missed the obvious point that hearing a car behind you does not inherently make you safer. We all regularly hear cars behind us and do not turn around or change our course. You would have to be able to hear the car and at the same time judge exactly where it is within about a 36” radius and that is impossible. And that is not even factoring in wind noise which makes it even harder.

Last edited by downhillmaster; 09-18-18 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 09-18-18, 01:49 PM
  #123  
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post

You turn your head to look at every car that approaches you from behind?
Not to mention that now the rider isn't looking at what is in front of them. Also, turning one's head can make the bike move that direction. I think I feel better knowing what I might hit in front of me rather than the severely remote chance that I could dodge a car approaching from behind.
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Old 09-18-18, 02:02 PM
  #124  
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Originally Posted by Tbobx View Post
Im not hard over on enforcing the law here ... just passing along information.

Many states make it illegal to ride on the road with headphones. Virginia allows bicyclists to ride with one earpiece. Riding with ear piece in both ears is illegal.

YMMV
Same in California.
West's Ann.Cal.Vehicle Code § 27400
§ 27400. Limitation on use of headsets, earplugs, or earphones; exceptions
Currentness
A person operating a motor vehicle or bicycle may not wear a headset covering, earplugs in, or earphones covering, resting on, or inserted in, both ears. This prohibition does not apply to any of the following:
(a) A person operating authorized emergency vehicles, as defined in Section 165.
(b) A person engaged in the operation of either special construction equipment or equipment for use in the maintenance of any highway.
(c) A person engaged in the operation of refuse collection equipment who is wearing a safety headset or safety earplugs.
(d) A person wearing personal hearing protectors in the form of earplugs or molds that are specifically designed to attenuate injurious noise levels. The plugs or molds shall be designed in a manner so as to not inhibit the wearer's ability to hear a siren or horn from an emergency vehicle or a horn from another motor vehicle.
(e) A person using a prosthetic device that aids the hard of hearing.

Veh. Code, § 27400
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Old 09-18-18, 02:03 PM
  #125  
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Originally Posted by Trsnrtr View Post
Not to mention that now the rider isn't looking at what is in front of them. Also, turning one's head can make the bike move that direction. I think I feel better knowing what I might hit in front of me rather than the severely remote chance that I could dodge a car approaching from behind.
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