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Do you wear headphones when you ride?(31 posts)

Do you wear headphones when you ride?spankdoggie
Jun 29, 2002 3:08 PM
I always wear headphones when I ride my Serotta over the Golden Gate Bridge... I love listening to
music on my headphones...

The Golden Gate Bridge has two walkways; one on either side of the bridge. The West side of the Golden
Gate Bridge is bicycles only. It is wide enough for two way bicycle traffic. The East side of the
bridge is for tourist and/or walkers/joggers...

One can see how wide the lane is considering it is a bridge here:

Here is another picture of the bridge:

I think wearing headphones while riding brings additional enjoyment to the whole experience. I would
not advise a beginner or clutz to ride with headphones. Throw in 20 years of city riding experience,
and making every stupid mistake in the book, and living to tell about it; then ride with headphones...

I am going on a bike ride now... Good day.

I always wear headphones with a CD player.undercoverbrother
Jun 29, 2002 4:49 PM
I am surprised that this topic came up. I always wear headphones when I ride. Nothing like some music and a bike ride to make your day!

re: Do you wear headphones when you ride?Skip
Jun 29, 2002 5:24 PM
Damn, if I did that, I wouldn't be able to understand the voices in my head.
So you're that guy who can't hear me when I passKerry Irons
Jun 29, 2002 6:04 PM
Look, it's a bad idea, alright? I've ridden with a few guys over the years who claim "I can still hear OK with them on," but they can't. Even with just one ear plugged in, there's no way you are as attentive as you should be. Ride with headphones all you want, just don't ride near me.
Why is it a bad idea? There are no absolutes, sir.spankdoggie
Jun 29, 2002 6:19 PM
Kerry Irons, with all due respect, there are many things that I consider a "bad idea."

1. Hang gliding.
2. Parachuting out of an airplane.
3. Motorcycle racing.
4. Surfing in a storm to get bigger waves.

All of those things may be a bad idea to an unskilled person. They may be completely safe and reliable to someone trained in the matter...

I can ride with headphones. I make no claims to hearing anybody "passing me by." I see you when you are a quarter mile behind me; I am a hammerhead, and you will not pass me. For me, riding with headphones is a safe, fun way to ride.

For you it would be extremely dangerous, apparently, and being close to anybody on a bike with headphones would also jeopardize your safety. So for you, sir... I will pull over and allow you to pass safely without any fear of getting hurt.

Ride safely,

Keep the rubber side down,


I think it's a bad idea as well...JBurton
Jun 29, 2002 6:39 PM
Maybe not for my safety, but the person with the phones.

1. Can't hear cars
2. Can't hear dogs or other animals that may topple you
3. Can't hear other riders

I don't care if you or anyone else wears's your life. The same applies to helmets. But, if they ask for advice, as you seem to have, or at least asked for opinions, I will give mine.

Incidentally, it is illegal for motorists to wear headphones in some states. I'm not sure of the legality of headphones and bikes, but some states' motor vehicle division obviously thinks it is unsafe for motorists to be distracted or hindered in this way. On a bike? I'm going to be as attentive as possible...always.
Obviously no reasoning with youfiltersweep
Jun 29, 2002 8:34 PM
...and it is fun and safe to draft cars...

First of all, how can you hear anything with all the wind noise while you ride... you'll go deaf from having the music cranked loud enough to hear.

I'm not going to tell you what to do, or how "dangerous" it is (it is not inherently dangerous, or you wouldn't be among us anymore), but there are certain lessons in life that I do not feel compelled to learn the hard way.

I've never hit my head in a crash. I've never had a serious crash. Does this mean I don't wear a helmet? Is not wearing a helmet dangerous? Or do I simply have enough SELF RESPECT to wear one?

Do whatever you want. There have been plenty of people who have argued that it is better to ride against traffic (illegal or not, it simply isn't a good idea). Wearing headphones while riding a road bike can't do much to further other motorists' respect for you- it lacks all dignity and it looks completely moronic.

Ironically, your little tag line is "ride safely" ?

I have yet to see a hammerhead ride safely... they go insane when someone passes them. I passed an idiot just today who a quarter mile later blew through a stop sign (riding to the left of traffic through the intersection) I had stopped at when there was heavy traffic, and he definitely didn't have the right of way... he didn't even slow down. A mile later as I'm waiting for an opening in traffic to pass him, he blows another, then another, then he suddenly pulls off the road as if to state "and you will not pass me." It is juvenile and irresponsible (the only game he plays is with himself).
how do you hear cars? (nm)ColnagoFE
Jul 1, 2002 8:13 AM
Wearing headphones = natural selectionNiwot
Jun 29, 2002 6:52 PM
Just my opinion, of course....
Bike riding is natural selection too...undercoverbrother
Jun 29, 2002 7:19 PM
Bike riding itself (without headphones!) is stupid and dangerous according to my wife. We have a happy marriage, and I ride all the time, of course...

but listening to pleasant music is not a crime while riding bikes in my opinion.

What is stupid? It is a difficult thing to define. What is smart? I would rather ride with an experienced rider with headphones on than some jackass newbie without headphones hitting potholes and swerving. Just my opinion.

Take care,

Stupid is hard to define...elviento
Jun 29, 2002 7:45 PM
But when I see it, I will know it.

Two riders of the same experience, the one with headphones will be more dangerous than the one without headphones.

"Bike riding itself (without headphones!) is stupid and dangerous according to my wife."

If you need to music to make cycling not stupid and dangerous, then you are not a real cyclist.
Why stop there?Niwot
Jun 29, 2002 7:47 PM
You are free to choose, of course, so while you are thumbing your nose at Darwin, why stop at the headphones? You can do more!

Ride without a helmet. Helmets just make your head hot and let everyone know what a scared little wuss you are.

Ride with a blindfold. If you can ride without hearing, you don't need sight, either. The sensory deprivation from the blindfold and headphones will enhance your sense of smell, and if that's enough for a mole to find his way in the world, it's enough for you too.

Ride shirtless in the middle of the day, every day, don't ever wear sunscreen, and soak up every intense ultraviolet ray the sun has to offer. Skin cancer isn't caused by exposure to sunlight, it's caused by a poor diet and too much television.

Bike lanes are for sissies, so ride in the middle of the far left lane on every road, and when the drivers honk and scream at you, flip them off and throw stuff at their windshields.

Ride at night wearing black clothing, black socks, and black shoes, and don't use lights or even reflectors. Be a Stealth Bomber! If they don't see you, they can't hit you!
Niwot, you are an idiot, I use headphones too...speedmaestro
Jun 29, 2002 8:37 PM
Niwot you sound like a jackass. I ride with headphones, and trust me, I am not a sissy. I could kick your ass 7 ways from Sunday. That is not the point.

I think spankdoggie made a good point about what is dangerous, and what is stupid. What is dangerous for one person is safe for another. What is stupid for another to do is fine for someone else.

Riding a bike with headphones scares the pants off of you. That if fine.

Let me take the analogy to an extreme... I would rather be driving on the road with a man with 20 years driving experience and 3 beers in his stomach, than driving with some dumbass sober 16 year old out on the road trying to race me...

Let the man ride his bike in peace with his headphones...

Happy riding
Niwot is not an idiot... no name calling please...spankdoggie
Jun 29, 2002 8:41 PM
Niwot can have his own opinions... I am sure he is an intelligent person

Shoot, to many people riding a bicycle over 30 miles an hour is stupid. Or riding on roads with cars is crazy. It is all relative.

It is fun to ride a bicycle; headphones make the experience that much more enjoyable.

Feel the love,

Yeah, these folks are taking themselves way too seriously....Niwot
Jun 30, 2002 2:04 PM
.... if they took everything in my previous post seriously. Have a sense of humor, folks. Lighten up a bit.
I am sorry Niwot...speedmaestro
Jun 30, 2002 5:25 PM
Spankdoggie, you are right, I should not say such things.

I had 2 and a half beers in my stomach when I wrote that post, and some crazy music was playing on my stereo, and sports was on tv. I ride with headphones. It helps to take me to the next level.

I wish you the best, Niwot,

it's IMPOSSIBLE for it to be "all relative" (nm)zeke
Jul 1, 2002 1:18 AM
Actually you just made yourself look like an idiotcyclejim
Jun 29, 2002 9:15 PM
You'd rather be driving on the road with a drunk at the wheel. Thats nice. Im sure many parents of children killed by drunk drivers would agree with you. Especially when the drunk driver had over 20 years of driving experience. Yes SIR!!

You ride with headphones, AND YOU ARE NOT A SISSY? Im very proud of you!! You can kick his ass too?? You SIR are a REAL man!!
Jun 29, 2002 10:33 PM
I do think it impairs safety to some extent, but I'm not going to bludgeon anyone to death from choosing to wear them when they ride. Admittedly it would seem most important when a car is coming up behind you on a downhill, but with all the wind I usually can't hear cars behind me very well anyway. So I'm obligated to look behind me all the time either way.
But wearing headphones wouldn't feel right to me on a bike anyway. You're out to experience the ride and instead your listening to stuff all closed up in your head. And I outgrew that kind of sound a long time ago anyway. When you're in highschool headphones sound a lot better for less cash than a boombox, but when you get into good stereo equipment headphones get old quick. No sense of spatial depth, limited dynamics and range, the sound is all boxed up in your head, and of course the resolution ain't all that great. Just my taste.
Jun 30, 2002 1:34 AM

Lot's of hostility from members of this discussion over a relatively simple question.

I wear earbuds sometimes when I ride, and don't at other times. I'm a careful rider and haven't had any issues at either time.

More power to those who choose a little music on their ride. Whatever makes one happy when they ride (within reason) is all that matters

Happy Trails..
How about chatting on a cell phone?nova
Jun 30, 2002 4:06 AM
I've never ridden with headphones, although there have been times when I wished I had some music to help keep me motivated.

But I won't ever ride with headphones. That is my choice, and I'm sticking to it!

When I see someone with headphones, it is always, always the weekend warriors who are wearing them. My impression is that most headphone wearers I see are also helmet-less. To each his own - just don't grab my wheel.

What I really don't understand is talking on the cell when riding. Why not just velcro a notebook computer to the handlebars, and update your resume' as you ride?
on your left please.........On Your Left ....ON YOUR LEFT! (nm)gs6769
Jun 30, 2002 4:53 AM
Would you wear headphones while driving a car? (nm)rollo tommassi
Jun 30, 2002 7:30 AM
Would you play a stereo while driving a car? (nm)spankdoggie
Jun 30, 2002 5:39 PM
re: Do you wear headphones when you ride?biker
Jun 30, 2002 9:10 AM
Actually, cyclists wearing headphones do directly effect me while I ride the rail-trails. I constantly need to yell at them when passing them on left because they are blocking my path and have the music cranked up and can't hear.
you absolutely must not ever under any conditionsctisevn
Jun 30, 2002 10:25 AM
I don't wear sunglasses either as they interfere with my optical sensing abilities by making it seem slightly darker than it actually is and conceivably prevent me from seeing motor vehicles. I also won't use a negative rise stem as it forces me to position myself on the bike in a manner that makes observing traffic around me difficult.
do what you want. don't listen to f$%knozzles that make anything absolute. if it works for you, cool. It sometimes works for me. just like my helmet sometimes works for me. and sometimes it sits at home. sometimes I ride my single speed fat tire bike with bmx pedals and sometimes I ride my fixie with skinny tires and 1 brake. blah, do what you like man.
Yes, in very select instancesDuane Gran
Jun 30, 2002 3:56 PM
I used to claim that there was never a good time for wearing headphones, but lately I've been doing some very specific TT training. I use the headphones (and a selection of kickin' music) as a form of encouragement. I plan to use the headphones in an upcoming TT and I hope that it will help me create a mood of intensity that I desire.

I never use headphones on a multi use trail or for any light recreational rides. I only use them on a lightly travelled road where I do my time trial practice. I may be marginally safer without them, but I think I have specific and pursposeful parameters for using headphones.
re: Do you wear headphones when you ride?PeteWorc
Jun 30, 2002 5:42 PM
If you rode around here (and I am not talking riding one mile over a bridge and back) you have to pick and choose those times where you decide screw it and roll over that stuff (be it rough pavement or sand) on the shoulder or move out in the road a bit and go around. Without my ears being on the alert for traffic noise behind me I would not last very long with this sport.

Bike paths and such are fine places for head phones and music on your bike. 3 to 4 hours out on country roads with traffic is not...
I don't think so Tim.Soultrain
Jun 30, 2002 5:52 PM
I sure wouldn't,
I think that I would be placing myself in a compromised position for safety. In the right enviroment in the right company I could see it as relatively safe though, if all were controlled. The most important thing for me would be having my surroundings controlled.
Jun 30, 2002 6:00 PM
The argument can be summed up in your words soultrain. San Francisco is very, very bike friendly. Extremely so. We all seem to be bike riders... Cars move away and slow down to ridiculous speeds around us bike riders...

My 20 mile route probably has only a few miles where the headphones must be torn off...

In many parts of the country, there are so many idiots, and they really are stupid, thinking that they can play games with their cars against bike riders... It is safe where I am.

It can be dangerous somewhere else. Where I ride, cars have a phobic response and respect for bike riders... I see myself doing it everytime I ride a car; I give mad respect and right of way to automobiles...

Thanks Jeff.
No Problem(nm)Soultrain
Jun 30, 2002 6:11 PM