Do you listen to music while cycling?

I usually like to have music going no matter what it is I'm doing, and cycling is no different. I find music can make things much more tolerable e.g. if the weather on my commute has gone down the tubes or if the job I'm doing is boring and I need extra stimulation.
I use a Panasonic CD Walkmen I have had for about a month now. It has a claimed battery life of 105 hrs, which I thought would be handy when I go on a touring holiday (my previous one had a batt life of 8 hrs - I had to buy a set of alkalines every day - not cheap!). The headphones are some Phillips HS810 wraparound type which also fold down, and have had these for about 18 months. They have been through alot and are still in perfect working order - and they sound OK too. What is also good about the is that they are open - air and I can still hear what is going on around fairly well. Helping this is the fact that all my MP3's are 'normalized' to 89db, which reduces the volume of most modern music.
I'd have to say that I've never really felt at any extra risk due to having music on while riding. This is due to several factors so I'm definitely not saying that everyone else needs to agree with this. One reason is that the roads I commute over are all 'coarse chip seal' on which approaching motor vehicles are most certainly able to be heard. I also don't think I pose a great danger to cyclists overtaking from behind. Due to the unsociable hours I cycle and the fact that its the main highway I go weeks without seeing another cyclist on the road at the same time. In the last 6000 k's I've been overtaken once by another cyclist, which to me means the risk is low.
To be honest I'm not all that sure it matters if I can hear approaching vehicles or not anyway. If they are going to run me down it won't be any better for me that I heard them coming. I don't turn around at each approaching vehicle to check their line of approach. Just my 0.02 anyway. Bottom line for me is I take great pleasure from music and when combined with something else I like (cycling) is enough to (almost) make having a job worthwhile. :)
As to what type of music - mostly laid back indie music from the American and British scenes. I also like to occasionally listen to Tool or Perfect Circle - makes those pedals fly. Would like to try some Trance/Electronic stuff but don't know where to start. I find the problem with a lot of hard rock and trance is the lack of decent lyrics so if anyone can recommend ...
i dont listen to music when out cycling, i prefer the sound of nature, the birds and the wind in the trees etc. plus you goot be aware of traffic around you.

i listen to music all the time when on the turbo...everything from Therion, Paradise Lost, Iron Maiden and sometimes a bit of radio talk.
athoma00 said:
As to what type of music - mostly laid back indie music from the American and British scenes. I also like to occasionally listen to Tool or Perfect Circle - makes those pedals fly. Would like to try some Trance/Electronic stuff but don't know where to start. I find the problem with a lot of hard rock and trance is the lack of decent lyrics so if anyone can recommend ...

Hmm.. lyrics? I generally don't like electronic tunes with lyrics although
the current trend for techno (the sub-genre, not the catchword for all
electronic music) is to have some lyrical content - usually too warped to
understand :)

There's tonnes of eurotrash tunes with cheesy music and house-type lyrics
which you could find by looking for anything with "dance" written on it or "club", etc..
Give the Big Beat sound a go. Artists like Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers and Prodigy are the biggest names there. Quite popular so easy to find.
There's some really cool sampling going on in a lot of psytrance and
goatrance - I really like Astral Projection. Not everyone's cuppa tea though :)
Gee.. I have SOOO much techno it's actually hard to suggest stuff..
The "Trancemaster" series used to be pretty cool (around no. 10)
though it seems quite cheesy now.

You don't need lyrics.. concentrate on the tones..

- kicked **** on the trainer tonight listening to System of a Down's
first album.
athoma00 said:
Would like to try some Trance/Electronic stuff but don't know where to start. I find the problem with a lot of hard rock and trance is the lack of decent lyrics so if anyone can recommend ...

You could say 80% of music created today lacks decent lyrics really, spanning all genres. What do you want, poetry? Lyrics exist in Trance and Techno.

Try DIFM and start with the vocal trance station and you'll get some nice lyrics. I could recommend some songs but I'm not sure of your tastes.

Now I'm goin' ridin', wid' some noo trance to listen too, yeeehah!
Now I used to say I prefered the ambient noise, or lack thereof, when biking. But very recently I started listening to music while running, and then tried it on the bike - and found the experience most rewarding! I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I can still hear cars and traffic and even other bikes with my ear buds in. And the added benefit, much like when running, is that the music can really help you get over the slumps, revv you up for some rhythmic pedaling and whatnot...

My personal fav for now is a group called Zebda, the funky, upbeat rhythms really get me going on the bike. Sometimes when I'm fading, like on the way home from work, it keeps me focused and going...

And I don't even care if I look dorky singing along. Hell, I've never cared about looking dorky.

I always listen to music while riding. Earphones both ears. I also always wear one of those little sunglass clamp mirrors, and I'm in the habit of checking it pretty often. The LBS guys are always reminding me that it's illegal to wear earphones while riding. I ask them, is it illegal to ride a bike if you're deaf? I think not. Just because my hearing is inhibited by the music doesn't mean I'm not aware of my surroundings. Music is a big motivator for me, plus I don't want to hear myself gasping while climbing, it makes me tired.
rek said:
Nice to hear :) I just recently won en eBay auction for a 512MB player at a great price, so there'll be less repetition than my current 128MB one that's got horrid battery life..

Looking forward to being able to actually manage music playlists with WMP and getting it to transfer & transcode to lower quality automatically (with all the ambient and wind noise while riding, I don't think top-notch audio quality is necessary)
I just got back from my first ride with my walkman and ear buds. I primarily stick to talk radio without an occasional switch to music. Made my already fun ride much more enjoyable. Most of my ride is off the road on a multi use path. When I have to get on a public street I either turn the radio off or decrease the volume to almost no noise.
The only thing I don't like is when passing other riders I couldn't tell if they said anything (good morning, hello, etc). I always reply back and would hate to come across as an a-hole to a fellow biker, but I am sure they can see the earplugs anyway.
Sure I listen to music while riding, who doesn't>? I just don't use a player or earphones and such.

"seven-thirty-seven comin outta tha sky, oh won't you take me down ta memphis on a midnight ride I wanna move"

No wires, no battery, selection limited by cranial capacity but i sure know my favourites and i still get to give navigation my full attention.

I hear there's some bluetooth wraparounds just hitting the north american markets though, all the rage in japan for a bit as fas as wireless headsets go. can't remember the dang brand, too lazy to google ;)
Listening to music? It's very dangerous whether you are walking or cycling, I won't take the risk.

I think portable music players are best on public transport.
Never. Not even once.

I understand the transcendental thing, where you find music that perfectly matches a moment, and suddenly it's as if you're in a movie. However, we don't live in a benign world where everything is made right by the perfect soundtrack. There are people out there who mean to do us harm. Some are motorists who don't deal well with stress and see us as easy targets. There are others who would love to knock us over the head for either personal gain or sick thrills.

I have a wife and a boy I like to go home to every night. My survival depends partly on situational awareness, and headphones would interfere with that.

In short, wearing headphones (even just one) while cycling is not unlike wearing an eyepatch - it's cool, but you're sacrificing a higher chance of survival for marginal gains.

Keep you head up and your eyes open,

Your Pal,

Hello all,

Absolutely.. unless I'm taking a ride around the block. j/k Music is essential while I train and ride for distance. My favor, is "house/techno". After 50+plus, it comes in handy when this body is tired. :D BTW, I rarely ride at night, but when I do, NO MUSIC.

I've been away from checking in on you guys/gals, but I'm back. Hope all had a GREAT summer!
I only listen to music if I am on my trainer.

It is unsafe to listen to it while on the road.
b1_ said:
They don't. I use ear plugs and my wrap-arounds over the top. When I was about 25 I started to notice ringing in my ears from the wind noise after rides - it is very loud. Sometimes I will forego the music and leave my player at home and just put the ear phones on to keep the earplugs in and to keep my ears warm. This set up does muffle wind and traffic noise somewhat but never 100% - traffic is plenty loud and can be heard quite clearly over everything except the painful volume settings, much to my frustration.

I don't consider listening to music while riding dangerous obviously. To anyone who does I wonder if you consider listening to music while driving your car dangerous also? And to the guy who listens with only one earphone in, isn't that uncomfortable, even dangerous because of it's perhaps negative effects on inner ear balance? Sounds like the only way to ruin both the music and the riding to me.

I agree. This is one of the reasons I love to ride, because you get to experience the places you ride through more keenly than if you were in a car or a bus. But I think the music adds another layer on top of this awareness. Just occassionaly a song will start playing that fits perfect with the environment you're riding through, and you tear-up, or get major goosebumps, or can't help but smile. Listening to music while riding does not provide this constant flatline enjoyment, it ebbs and flows, and just every now and then peaks when everything, smell, weather, scenery, road incline, your mood, and the right song all come together to provide something I can only describe as a rush. That rush is what I seek when I take my music with me. It doesn't happen often, maybe once a week, more if I'm lucky, but when it does I'm in heaven; and Trance and Techno music seem to provide more "rushes" than conventional music.

I love it, you should too :). Live dangerous ppl ;).
I rided in semi urban area, I would be road kill if I listened to music
There are very few roads where in certain hours there is little if any traffic, so I rarely even think about it. Some of my friends do, but only in those special conditions. Since I enjoy music a lot, I listen to it... in my mind. Helps with the boring sections.
If you're listening to music when you ride, how can you hear the natural, and wonderful sounds of cycling? The dirty chain, grinding against the front deralleur; your pulse, pounding in your ears; the asthmatic breathing of someone ahead of you in the pack; gentle tinkling as your new vredesteins grind over broken glass in the road; the clanging of the rusty wire coat hanger that seems to follow you and throw itself under your wheels; the buzzing of the road through your aluminum frame because you haven't yet saved enough money for carbon or ti; the banging of the ghost shifting you've had since you forgot to clean your cassette, last month; the whistle of the brick thrown past your head by a redneck riding in the back of a pick up truck; the hissing of air coming from your rear tire when you've run out of CO2; The Sound of lawn mowers, line trimmers and leaf blowers EVERYWHERE on a Saturday ride; The bark of a dog on your right warning you of his chase; the bang of a dog on your left who rams your pedal with his head because he failed to bark and warn you; The flutter of a flock of geese you've startled, and proceed to fly across the road leaving calling cards of **** in front of you; the song of the wind in your ears as you look behind you to check on the rest of the peleton; the crash of your front wheel as you hit the pothole you didn't see because you were looking backwards; The gentle tingling of a broken spoke; Followed by your own curses as you see what it's doing to your nice carbon fork at 300rpm and your now bent wheel; the plastic crunching of your cell phone as it hits the pavement when you stop to call your wife for a ride home; the loving voice of your wife as she tells you she's got her hands full and can't you call one of your 'bicycle friends' to help you; the alternating crunch and ping from your cleats as you begin your walk back to the next intersection to wait for your ride; the sound of the cash register's ring at your bike shop as you buy that new Zipp wheel to replace the stock one you just busted; Your own whiny voice as you explain to your wife why you really needed a $500 wheel; the rythmic sound of your powerful lungs, breathing their first waking breaths as you check your resting pulse in the morning - on the sofa where you slept last night.

You see, you're missing so much by listening to music while you ride.:cool:

b1_ said:
Do you listen to music while you ride? what do like to listen to? What's your player?

I've got some wrap around Sony MDR-70s which work well with a helmet on, and an iRiver iHP140. I also wear ear plugs to cut down on wind and traffic noise which still gets through anyway.

I listen to techno and trance and it sure does add to the cycling experience ten fold. Ever toured in a foreign country and crested a mountain pass on a perfect day while listening to trance? - incredible, and highly recommended.

Does anyone else use music as their cycling fuel?
I use my mp3-capable cell phone to listen to tunes (mix of techno and metal) while i'm riding.

The speakers I use are the earbud kind that you stick in your ear. I put the cord down the inside of my shirt, so if I have to pop the speakers out they'll just dangle a bit (not far enough to get caught in any moving parts).

and I do frequently pop them out. usually start the ride with em out so I can hear how the bike is doing. any time i have to stop or cross traffic they come out.

I also glance into my handlebar mounted mirror about every 5 seconds to check for someone sneaking up on me. I feel totally aware of whats going on around me even with the speakers in, havn't been surprised (or hit) yet.

I have to say i'm more concerned about the danger when I'm standing on the pedals doing a hard climb or acceleration, because i'm pushing so hard I lose focus on whats goin on around me, and I lose the angle to my mirror so that I can't see behind me anymore.

Also more concerned about paying too much attention to nice looking female riders, lord knows how many times i've put the tire off the pavement doing that ;)
I listen with one ear, but mostly not to music -- I'm a talk radio addict.

Just recently figured out a way to take my XM radio along on long rides.

Now the possibilities are endless.
b1_ said:
Certainly if you consider it dangerous don't try it, but I definately recommend trying it on a deserted bikepath if you can. Where I live there's an exclusive pedestrian/bike path that goes clear across the city to the coast and you'll often find me on it music blaring.

It pays to find a player and headphones that puts out quality sounds, rather than a cheap radio and ear bud headphones that constantly fall out.

Put your tunes on shuffle, or just listen to your favourite radio station, and when a favourite song comes up you'll find yourself going faster if it's a rockin' track, or getting goosebumps if it's something like Simon and Garfunkel Sounds of Silence cruisy track.

It's just simply an amazing thing, and I created this thread hoping there were others who were keen on it; would be a shame if there weren't. I never feel more free than when I'm riding with my music; it just puts a big smile on my face every time.
Hey B1; It don't get any better then listening to the tunes while cycling, I never ride with out my radio!!!:) It increases my over all speed & the miles
just fly by. I also listen to Talk radio, like BBC, IPR, news,...
I would suggest high quality head phones for the best music & also be looking into your helmet mirror every 3 seconds. Looking back will become second nature with practice.