Author Topic: Headphones for bike commuting  (Read 1316 times)

grandep

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Headphones for bike commuting
« on: October 09, 2017, 07:28:15 AM »
I am one of those people cursed with ears that are physically unable to hold a pair of earphones in place without them falling out at the slightest jostle. I would like to be able to listen to podcasts/music/news, etc. on my bike commute to work just as I do when I drive or take the bus, but to do this I need a good pair of over the ear headphones that are sure to stay in my ears while I bump along the road. So I'm looking for recommendations from the largest community of bike commuters and podcast listeners I know.

Ideally, I would like a pair that is wireless (once you go wireless it's hard to go back to dealing with that rat's nest) and that allow some sound to come in, i.e. not noise canceling. For safety, I still want to be able to hear what's going on around me while I bike. Anything "ear bud" like will almost certainly not work (believe me, I have tried so many different brands, models, and styles, and NONE of them stay in my ears...).

Any recommendations?

PoutineLover

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Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 07:42:16 AM »
Check the laws where you live, here it is illegal to bike with headphones on. Plus, I don't think it's very safe. If you do decide to wear them, maybe try the ones that are embedded in a hat, that probably can't be jostled off.

PlainsWalker

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Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2017, 07:47:09 AM »
If you have to have music while riding strap a battery operated speaker to your frame and rock that. You get to have a rolling party every time you get on your bike and you can still hear what is going on around you so you don't get squished. This solution also addresses the earphones falling out issue. I feel like a big part of being safe while riding is situational awareness. With headphones on you've muffled one of your available senses. Also, the number of electric cars swooshing around is constantly increasing and you have to be listening close to hear one of those sneaking up on you.
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Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2017, 03:47:30 PM »
Headphones while riding a bike in traffic is a non-starter.

If you must listen to music while riding, I would try a Bluetooth speaker.  I have a cheap Logitech one about the size of a hockey puck that works well.

cl_noll

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Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2017, 08:27:28 AM »
I see people bike with headphones all the time and just shake my head. You could try the "Bose SoundWear Companion" as a wearable speaker device, but it's $300 and very unmustachian. I'd go with one of those clip-on bluetooth speaker jobbers for under $50.

shawndoggy

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Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2017, 08:43:56 AM »
I prefer a blindfold.


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EarthSurfer

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Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2017, 02:37:18 PM »
As a long term bike commuter, I strongly agree with the no earbuds sentiment expressed here when on roadways and other areas with large vehicles.

My commute is mostly on separated bike ways or "multi use pathways," and I use a pair of the cheap "swan style" earbuds. I found it best to tack on the silicone ear pieces with silicone adhesive.

Here is the latest cheap pair I am using:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01K20I3PQ/

The microphone on these is unusable, but the audio quality is acceptable. These are not for critical listening.

I will admit to riding in the bike lane listening to podcasts playing in one ear, and the earbud out of the ear on the traffic side.
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PNW

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Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2017, 11:15:36 PM »
I agree with the other posters that headphones while cycling is not generally a safe idea. However (!) I did want to recommend the Plantronics BackBeat FIT headphones generally as a great wireless option for those of us with hard to fit ears - I have the same issues as you, all earbuds fall out, but these are great, stay put, sound pretty good, and the bluetooth works flawlessly. I *sometimes* will wear them cycling but with only one bud in and on low volume so I can hear what's going on around me. They aren't the cheapest but the quality is great.

Edited to say I basically agree 100% with EarthSurfer but use a slightly more expensive/better quality version of the headphones he/she uses.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2017, 11:17:37 PM by PNW »


GuitarStv

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Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2017, 08:13:48 AM »
I don't use earbuds while commuting by bike.  I do wear them while cycling long distances (4-5 hour rides on back roads.

Safety while listening to something is a concern, but not necessarily as much of a concern as it's being made out to be in this thread.  I think that the key to safety is to carefully control the volume of what you're listening to.  I set volume levels so that I'm able to hear my bike shift over the 'phones.  This means that going quickly down a hill the noise of wind almost completely drowns out th sound, and while slowly climbing up a hill you hear it quite clearly.  You can easily hear cars approach from behind or carry on a conversation with a fellow cyclist this way.  If you want to catch every word of a podcast you'll probably have to turn volume levels up to an unsafe level.  If you want to listen to some music or radio with it occasionally being drowned out by traffic and wind noise, you can do it safely.

As far as keeping the buds in ear . . . I've found that they tend to fall out because the wire pulls when you move your head around (particularly when doing shoulder checks).  If you tie the wire into a small knot around the arms of your glasses, this prevents the pulling and keeps them reasonably stable in your ear.  When it's cold you can just put them under your headband and they stay snugly in place.

EarthSurfer

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Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2017, 11:16:03 PM »

Safety while listening to something is a concern, but not necessarily as much of a concern as it's being made out to be in this thread.  I think that the key to safety is to carefully control the volume of what you're listening to. ..As far as keeping the buds in ear . . .

I strongly disagree with the idea isn't as much as a concern it is made out to be. (Aka: Bullshit!!!)

As a human, I strongly rely on my hearing to fill in the gaps where I cannot see. Keeping ear buds in the ear canal will substantially reduce the high frequency from ambient noise. That high frequency noise is critical for our ability to place sounds in the space around our head.

Almost silent electric and hybrid vehicles can sneak up on a rider.  In city traffic, I may only hear the crunch of gravel of an approaching Prius in battery mode.
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GuitarStv

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Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2017, 10:04:34 AM »

Safety while listening to something is a concern, but not necessarily as much of a concern as it's being made out to be in this thread.  I think that the key to safety is to carefully control the volume of what you're listening to. ..As far as keeping the buds in ear . . .

I strongly disagree with the idea isn't as much as a concern it is made out to be. (Aka: Bullshit!!!)

As a human, I strongly rely on my hearing to fill in the gaps where I cannot see. Keeping ear buds in the ear canal will substantially reduce the high frequency from ambient noise. That high frequency noise is critical for our ability to place sounds in the space around our head.

Almost silent electric and hybrid vehicles can sneak up on a rider.  In city traffic, I may only hear the crunch of gravel of an approaching Prius in battery mode.

As an alien with a shiny carapace I have surprisingly similar hearing response and ears to humans.

Maybe the shape of my ear is different than yours, but there's no noticeable blocking of sound with them.  I use the ear buds that kinda sit flat in your ear with some space around the edges, not the ones that jam in and provide a seal.  You can easily hear the crunch of gravel and the the whistle of air that an approaching car makes with the former.  I suspect that the latter would block more sound and potentially be dangerous to use.

The type that I use:



The type that I wouldn't probably not use because they form too much of a seal by kinda going in the ear:

saijoe

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retiringearly

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Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2017, 10:33:42 AM »
I prefer a blindfold.


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moof

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Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2017, 02:11:43 PM »
I wear ear buds.  I hear well enough.  If I didn't wear them i would probably have to put in ear plugs due to the deafening road noise on my commute.