Monday, June 15, 2009

Riding With Headphones

....Or earbuds. Because rocking these while riding would just be silly. Although the acoustics would be boss.

So here's my stance.

Ride with them. Rock your favorite tunes, turn it up, play it loud, get pumped and have an amped workout. ...But ride safe.
For the most part when I'm riding I'm going straight forward hugging the side of the road. If a car's gonna hit me it's gonna happen because someone's not paying attention not because I'm being a hazard (i.e. riding in the middle of the road). And if they're coming from behind me it's not gonna make much of a difference if I can hear them or not.

However, I think that if you have a tendency to meander around the road or aren't very comfortable on your mighty stead then take heed and stow the buds for a couple of weeks or for the empty road through the countryside.

The best thing that I can say about riding with earbuds is that it almost makes me a safer rider when maneuvering around potholes, manhole covers etc. Wait, wait. Because I've noticed that I look behind me for cars way more often when wearing buds as opposed to not wearing them. And I know, it's because I can't hear the cars behind me, but it's really good practice to force yourself to look back when you're gonna stray from the edge of the road. Think about that.

So in my humble opinion of you're comfortable on your bike and are going to be doing your thing, riding strong on the edge of the road, then rock the tunes. Listening for cars is fine. But more often than not what are you really listening for? I can definitely hear car horns through my buds (even though they have excellent sound attenuation).

So thoughts comments? I have a hard time believing that everyone is going to think like me on this one.


Colin R said...

I think it's moderately dumb, but I do it all the time. People are still allowed to make dumb decisions in this country, right?

In an urban area I think it's fine. There's so much shit going on when you're commuting in Boston, there is ALWAYS a car coming up behind you. You don't need to hear it because you know it's there, and you would never ever swerve randomly into the lane because of the omnipresent traffic. So losing some hearing is no big deal.

Out in the country it's a little sketchier, because you start taking liberties with riding toward the center and then a car sneaks up on you and either (1) slows down and knows you're an idiot or (2) kills your ass.

Sometimes when I'm feeling particularly safety conscious I ride with one ear (the left ear) open so I still have pretty good hearing on the side that matters. But really, I think as long as you raise your attentiveness to compensate for being semi-deaf, it's no big deal. I've been doing it for years and I can't think of a single "incident" that it caused.

Toby said...

Good call on the one ear riding. I've done that a lot too.
Good points.
And as an update, this past week I rode without earbuds and with. And you are definitely more attentive w/o them and can hear the traffic. (I guess that's obvious right)
So if you're gonna sport them, stay heads up.

Jamie said...

If I'm ever going to do it, it will be with only one ear in. Otherwise, I'll play the safe route and just enjoy the sound of the gears and the wind.