The Cycling with Music Debate Continues
The topic of cycling with earphones and music always seems to cause a heated debate. It’s been a while since I’ve voiced my opinion on this subject, so it’s time to unleash the beast once again.
Cycling with music is so taboo that it’s against the law in several States in the USA, as well as other places around the world. This is one law that I just can’t bring myself to agree with. But there are caveats to my belief, and I’ll get to those in a minute.
Yes, I ride with music. Always. No, it does not endanger myself or anyone around me. Guaranteed.
You might not believe this, but I am so accustomed to it that I can sense the vehicles and everything else around me better when I have my earphones on. Yeah, there are times when the power dies and I’m forced to finish off a ride without music. It’s at these times where I don’t feel as connected with my environment.
I’ve always ridden with an iPod or something similar, but the wireless headset that Sony recently sent me totally rocks. No more cord to worry about, and if I need to change a song its super simple. But I’m not here to tell you about what I ride with, I’m here to once again explain why I feel it is totally safe and fine to ride with music if done right.
Open Road / Highways / Country Roads
Instead of arguing as to why I feel it’s totally okay to ride with music on these types or roads, I’d much rather hear those against me explain why it’s not okay. As long as the music is low enough to still hear what’s going on around you, I’m saying it’s absolutely fine. As I’ve said before, there are several times where the sound of the blowing wind in my ears is louder than my music. So if riding with music is to be banned, I guess they need to ban riding in wind as well.
In the City
When cycling on city roads, I say that music is still okay as long as certain criteria are met. Once again, the volume has to be low enough so that your surroundings can be heard. If you’re able to sense when vehicles are coming up behind you, or approaching from other areas….all is good.
If part of your city riding involves pedestrian traffic, then I feel you should turn off your music during this section of the ride. Even with the music turned down low, you’ll never hear a silent pedestrian stepping in front of you or coming near you in other directions.
If you’re off-roading, it really depends on the situation. To be honest, I’m not much of a trail rider…so maybe you mountain bikers out there should tell me what you think. But I’d say that If there’s no way it will mess up the riding of others in the area, it’s cool. Being in nature with nothing but the sound of silence and the environment is awesome….but there’s also nothing wrong with adding your own soundtrack to the experience.
Here’s the kicker. I honestly feel as though I have a sixth sense for traffic while out riding…..and I’ve heard many other cyclists say the same thing. I think if you’ve done it long enough, you can sense when a vehicle is coming up behind….and can also tell how fast it’s going and how close it is to you.
This is what makes riding with music totally possible and safe. If you have this special ability, then I say it’s a thumbs up to cycling with your tunes….keeping what I’ve said above in mind. If you don’t feel you have it, maybe keep the earphones away from your ears when on the bike.
Okay, so let’s have it. I know you have an opinion on cycling with music. Good or bad, speak your mind below.