Road Ride with head phones – yay or nay?

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  • Road Ride with head phones – yay or nay?
  • Riding on my tod tomorrow so what’s the general consensus on riding listening to music?

    Slightly worried about losing some awareness of what’s going on around me but usually I ride in a group and there is some banter so it will be a quiet one!

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    ear phone in left ear only when I do wear them for road rides.


    There is some sort of campaign being run by the mother of a girl crushed by a lorry while she was riding wearing headphones.

    Personally I think it’s a daft thing to do. The roads are dangerous enough without unnecessarily depriving yourself of one of your key senses.


    I don’t, but when I have done, you can easily hear the traffic over the music if you have them low enough.


    I have done it in the past, but am personally not a fan.

    I ride on my tod quite a lot – just enjoy the peace if you get away from the cars etc.


    ….not to mention that you will look like a muppet.

    Premier Icon sefton

    depends if you value your life! personally I need every sense and more when out on public roads (just not worth it).


    I do. I can hear cars approaching from behind just fine – wind is far more likely to make it hard to hear cars

    I also use my eyes to check behind me when I need to – as everyone should, headphones or not


    I use one ear bud when on long solo road rides,(especially night rides as the monsters can’t get me if I can’t hear them). Never when out with a group and not if only a short road ride (unless it’s dark)

    The single ear bud plays both left & right channel through one earphone so stuff doesn’t sound massively distorted and it means I can still hear traffic.


    Yay but only if you have a death wish



    Personal choice, I have no problem with those that choose to, I feel safer not doing.

    BUT it is, like helmets, a bit of ammunition for the drivertrolls isn’t it? Cyclists:

    a) all jump red lights
    b) don’t wear helmets (and that is irresponsible)
    c) aren’t aware of what’s around them cos they’re using headphones
    d) don’t pay road tax…

    Also the local newspapers, you know how someone can be crushed to death under a 20 tonne wagon and the local rag will report that “the rider was not wearing a helmet” as though that makes it their fault they’re dead. Headphones for that effect as well.

    Premier Icon zilog6128

    Dangerous and pointless IMO. Is it not possible to just enjoy the ride/scenery without boredom setting in and having to resort to listening to music? (This applies equally to runners, skiers/boarders, etc)

    I wouldn’t, but wether you should or shouldn’t is up to you.

    Premier Icon bails

    No. If you reduce what you can hear you’ll die. It’s why it’s illegal for motorbikers to wear helmets and why cars don’t have windows or stereos.


    I would certainly not, I want to hear everything when I’m out there and be as safe as i can.

    Also, if something did happen to you, they might point the finger at you.


    Never in traffic.

    But one, low volume, in the left ear only on minor roads that I know have very little traffic.

    I used to be horrified at the idea until I got a motorbike. Most of my pals wear earplugs to protect from the engine noise. You get used to using your eyes/wits/planning/avoiding etc.

    But in traffic on a bike you need all your senses.

    It’s not just the hearing thing either, it’s being able to focus and concentrate properly on what’s going on around you without distractions.

    Omar Little

    It is like helmet use, it is up the individual to choose what they want to do. However unlike that personal choice of wearing a helmet or not (which doesn’t bother me either way) I wouldn’t want to ride in a group with someone using headphones, i see it commuting and i’ve even seen it see it on some sportives and they are away in their own little world and are a liability to other riders.


    Never ever ever ever – you’re vulnerable as it is.

    I wouldn’t be comfortable not hearing anything approaching, no matter how dull the ride was.

    Not sure I’d consider the one ear approach either, but that’s just me.


    Personally no, I want all the senses I’ve got available to let me know what’s around me.

    Premier Icon lunge

    I wear them in 1 ear. I like a bit of music to help me up climbs and the volume is low enough I can hear plenty anyway.


    Yup, only when im riding alone and one ear only mind and I don’t ride in built up areas really.


    I have these two things in the front of my face called eyes that I use to identify risks when on my bike. If a car approaches me fast from behind and is going to hit me then I very much doubt that hearing it a few milliseconds faster is going to make the outcome any less damaging.

    Those above telling you that you will die if you listen to girls aloud when riding are clearly much more hardcore and gnarrr than me. Or more risk averse.

    Personally I need the distraction of music to drown out the pathetic gasping and wheezing of my enemies as I pass them, uphill, one legged, pushing out a billion watts as measured on my custom coloured SRM.


    I do, but I don’t think it’s a good idea.

    Premier Icon nickc

    Really? Ok I do most of time when I’m on my own, no more vulnerable than any other time. But then I mostly don’t wear a helmet road riding either, so probably means I’m going to hell.

    Quiet roads round where I am though.


    Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Only ever when I’m on my own and quite often I’m listening to spoken word podcasts rather than music.

    I also listen to the radio/music in the car.

    With or without headphones, my hearing simply cannot tell if that 38ton truck thundering up behind me is going to miss me by a safe distance or flatten me.

    Mr Woppit

    No no no, you’ll be FIIIINE!

    Do it after dark on a black bike, dressed in black with a hoodie and with no lights.

    For the full effect.

    Listening to music would ruin a ride IMO. Nothing better than listening to a quiet bike on smooth tarmac. Trouble is is finding smooth tarmac.


    Always….I have to drown out ‘the voices’ or there would be a lot more fatalities.

    I’m cycling. Or I’m listening to music. I can’t enjoy both.


    Yes I do and it’s great


    Pretty much always when I’m on my own – have done for the best part of 20 years, starting with a mini FM radio before the days of MP3.


    Yes, always. I like riding with music on. If a car’s going to clean me up on a straight piece of road, hearing it isn’t going to let me know whether it’s going to pass 10ft away or drive over me. Might as well sing and be happy.
    I don’t think I’ve ever me anyone who can tell the closing trajectory of a car / bike from the sound of an engine. We all ride along and hope the drivers don’t squash us!

    Depends on the ride and my mood. But generaly no.

    Only place I almost always wear them is solo rides at trail centers. Mainly because there’s very little other than the trail (no view, no company, no traffic) to process so they can get a bit dull.

    Premier Icon pictonroad

    I listen to audiobooks, sometimes I’m in the woods on my own in the dark and it’s a scary bit in the book. Takes me a while to get the monsters out of my head.


    I do, but very rarely.

    As someone else said above, I have the volume low enough that its only as loud as someone talking next to me, and more often than not, the wind noise is louder than the music so it makes almost zero difference.


    I do, with volume fairly low don’t see it as a problem.

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