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Know what I find interesting about the radio/music debate?(9 posts)

Know what I find interesting about the radio/music debate?timfire
Oct 1, 2003 10:15 PM
Everytime the issue comes up someone inevidably(sp?) says something to the point of: "I listen to music when I ride- but never in urban traffic."

My opinion is the complete opposite.

95% of my riding is in urban traffic, and I have to say that in general there is too much sound from all around to get any useful information from your hearing. When there's that much sound you're not going to hear a car until it's literally passing you- much too late to avoid an accident if that's what's going to happen. Besides, when you're getting passed by a car every 2 or 3 seconds it's not to take long before you stop listening all-together.

In that environment I believe your sight is more important for avoiding accidents and keeping track of automobiles.

Now, when you're on quieter country streets, that's when I believe hearing becomes important. You can actually hear individual cars. But also on quieter roads the cars tend to move a little faster, and in those situations your hearing will give you a better warning that car is coming up.

re: Know what I find interesting about the radio/music debate?spankdoggie
Oct 1, 2003 11:01 PM
Dude, I ride in San Francisco all the time, and I completely agree with you. I always have U2 or Hootie and the Blowfish or Matchbox20 or the Waterboys blasting in my ears; I don't recommend it for the average rider, as this can be a frightening experience, but for those with some good serious city riding (5-20 years), I would definitely recommend...

I would not recommend headphones for Doug, Kristin, or Spoiler; they might get killed, and I really do love them; for real...

Amen, timfire...


re: Know what I find interesting about the radio/music debate?wily in pacifica
Oct 2, 2003 12:12 PM

I ride with headphones during my commute into SF and when I ride alone. I have never been surprised by anything that would not have surprised me otherwise. Nothing makes the morning commute go faster and smoother than listening to Howard Stern. I listen to a MP3 on the way home.

I Mean, What is the difference between a car that is about to pass you and the sound of a car that is about to hit you. I don't generally look back whenever there is a car back unless I am going to make some kind of move like changing lanes.

Willy in Pacifica
I'll tell you what I find interesting about the music debate.Kerry Irons
Oct 2, 2003 5:00 PM
It's how headphone users keep trying to make themselves believe what they know is not true. I think I learned about this in my high school psychology class - it's called rationalization. The subject of riding with headphones comes up all the time, and all the people who do it say that they keep the music low so that they remain safe. I your case, you're so fantastic a rider that you can let it blast. My own experience in overtaking people with headphones (plus the one time I made the mistake of riding with someone wearing them) tells me that these people are just kidding themselves. You need your hearing to deal with traffic and other riders. Full stop. Even riding on major highways with heavy truck traffic, you can easily distinguish what's going on. Anyone who claims they have full hearing with headphones on is in denial. Anyone who can't get great music in their head without headphones is lacking in imagination.
I'll tell you what I find interesting about the music debate.spankdoggie
Oct 2, 2003 5:21 PM
I don't keep the music low on my headphones. I blast my CD player at full volume. I have never been overtaken without knowing it, but then I know my surroundings.

I don't think anyone is claiming full hearing with headphones on, just that it is not a life threatening endeavor.

What is your position on deaf cyclists Irons?

Wearing headphones always,

I'll tell you what I find interesting about the music debate.wily in pacifica
Oct 3, 2003 10:45 AM
Don't remember anyone here saying they were "Fantastic Riders" or that they wear them at low volume. But if you know your route and ride predictable what real difference does it make if you can hear the car coming up behind you. You can see what is in front of you and I feel I am very aware of what is around me. After years of riding we all become more aware of our surrondings compared to a non-rider. How often have you anticipated the car pulling out in front of you even thou it was stopped. You just knew it was going to happen and sure enough it did and you were ready for it.

It seems like the only time it may increase your risk is for something that you can't see, such as approching traffic from behind. But how would hearing a car come up from behind differ from a car coming up from behind that is about to hit you.

Riding a bike has certain inherent risks and listening to headphones more than likely increases that risk. But not enough to some to make them stop listening to their music. It is what make cycling more enjoyable to some.
Oct 3, 2003 11:18 AM
Even though I believe that everyone who has responded to this post might all be the same person, I will hazzard a response. Recently I was finishing up a ride on a 30 MPH, lightly trafficed street. I heard a car approaching me and could tell something was different. The car was slowing perhaps? And perhaps closer to me than I'd like. I didn't do a shoulder check because I didn't want to risk drifting if someone was right there. Sure enough, a car pulls up within 1 foot of me, slows quickly and some punk-ass 16 year old leans out the window and screams in my face before the car screeches off again.

"how would hearing a car come up from behind differ from a car coming up from behind that is about to hit you?"

Hearing them coming did give me some advantage. I didn't have an opportunity to check them out on approach. In these situations, all you can do is hold your line and hope for the best. But I was prepared to some extent. I'd become alert. If I'd been blasting Hooti, the punk-ass probably would have startled me into a crash that might have sent me under the cars wheels.
Dependswily in pacifica
Oct 3, 2003 1:44 PM
OK, I can agree with that one. There have been a few times when I could hear some abnormality in the sound of something approching me. The one thing I can think of off the top of my head are 18 wheelers. I will move over or look back if I hear one of them coming up on me.

I took my bike to the Big Island and rode a good portion of the way around the island. The road is one lane each way and the bike lane is 3-4 feet wide. In general, there was not a lot of traffic but when a big truck came by it can get close if there is oncoming traffic as well. I have to say I was listening to my MP3 when riding but in that case I was also using a mirror. Even without the music the mirror was a huge help.

Willy in Pacifica
No Headphones Hearchar
Oct 3, 2003 6:02 PM
I create tunes whilst cycling.
Some are good, most are bad but don't need no extracurricular excitement to be dodgin Al Bundy Dodges during the commute, enough E-ticket entertainment already in the SF commute, don't pollute ride.
Try some Electric Hot Tuna on your next CD ride. Jack rides track.

call me charlie