Bending the Unspoken Rule

We all know that you shouldn’t wear ear buds for iPods or MP3 players on the bike. It’s dangerous because you aren’t able to hear the noises around you, in particular vehicles coming up behind you. And you NEVER want to wear them on group rides.

How many offenders of this unspoken rule do you see?

I tend to see a lot. Most are riding solo. (Note: many of these people also aren’t wearing helmets.) However, I do know of at least two local racers that use them. One was at my house one day prior to heading out for a ride.

I have actually tried this before. It was early in the morning so not much traffic to worry about. I find you can’t hear much with the wind noise around your ears anyway unless you turn your head to one side to listen for traffic. (My husband joked that because I saw Chris with them that must have given me permission to use them.)

Since then, I have been using my phone on solo rides, which has the ability to store and play some music. I found a single “hands free” ear bud with a microphone that plugs into my phone. With just the one ear bud I can just put this in my right ear, still leaving my left ear available to listen for cars behind me, which is usually the ear I turn back anyway. I run the cable down my back under my jersey and slip the phone into my back pocket. If needed, I can pull the ear bud out of my ear and let it dangle in the yoke of my helmet strap and insert it again easily when safe to do so.

Has it made my rides more productive or more enjoyable? Probably not; though sometimes it is nice to have a little tempo music playing when climbing a long stretch.

My preferred music for these climbs are songs from the Ultra Chilled CDs, Madonna’s Ray of Light and Music CD’s, Jose Gonzalez, Gomez and Andrea Bocelli. Surprisingly enough, music that I have on my iPod that I need for motivation when on a run is not the kind of music I like on the bike. I prefer something more ambient to let my mind just drift off.

Do you use ear buds on your rides? What kind of music motivates you on the bike?

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2 responses to “Bending the Unspoken Rule

  1. I have an iPod, loaded with all kinds of music, but I do not use it when cycling. If I’m in a congested area, I don’t want any distractions while I’m dealing with traffic. If I’m out in the country, the scenery is diversion enough.

  2. This is a blurb, http://www.jhu.edu/news/audio-video/brain.html, about a Johns Hopkins study on brain activity, divided attention, and response in subjects given both auditory and visual stimulation. It makes me not want to bike/drive while talking on a phone, or even listening to an iPod.

    My husband survived being hit by a car after a fifty mile ride due in part to his quick cat-like reflexes and split second decision on what part of his body was going to take the inevitable hit of the left-turning car. I have wondered what might have happened if he’d been wearing an ear bud.

    Just putting it out there because I really care about my friends (you!) and want to keep riding with them when we are old ladies!

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