Author Topic: Headphones for bike commuting  (Read 5037 times)

grandep

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 108
  • Location: New Mexico
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

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 880
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

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 88
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Oklahoma City, OK
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.

Debts_of_Despair

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 523
  • Location: NY
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

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 60
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Madtown, WI
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

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 290
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2017, 08:43:56 AM »
I prefer a blindfold.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

EarthSurfer

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 136
  • Location: 5280
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.

PNW

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 17
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

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11834
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 136
  • Location: 5280
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.

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11834
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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 use because they form too much of a seal by kinda going in the ear:
« Last Edit: March 27, 2018, 05:52:07 PM by GuitarStv »

saijoe

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 93

retiringearly

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 341
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2017, 10:33:42 AM »
I prefer a blindfold.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Legit LOL.

moof

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 470
  • Location: Beaver Town Orygun
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.

Just Joe

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2090
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2018, 03:26:34 PM »
An alternative would be to get a smart phone pouch that rides on top of the bike's top bar right behind the handlebar stem (~$12). Let the end of the phone stick out of the pouch (let the zipper trap the phone) and just use the phone speakers for audio. Different phones and different volume capabilities. Mine works well around my neighborhood. Not brave enough to use it elsewhere aka out there mixing with the cars on roads with no shoulders. 

For wireless audio I use LG HBS750.

BTDretire

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2242
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2018, 11:06:44 AM »
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01G8JO5F2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
I've had these about a month. Use them with my phone, they paired up without incident.
They are buds with an over the ear hook to hold them secure. The hold on very well.

frugalnacho

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3154
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Madison Heights, Michigan
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2018, 10:03:29 AM »
I won't use earbuds because I want to hear around me.  I mount my phone to the handle bars and just play music from that.  I get to hear my music, plus I can hear everything else around me.  I can also use it to display gps/maps if I want.

Rubic

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1053
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2018, 03:47:32 PM »
My preference for commuting in traffic is to be situationally aware, so I don't
use earbuds, though I'm not judging anyone else's preference.

For long-distance cycling I would sometimes have audio accompaniment.  I
took a pair of earbuds and clipped one off, so I had only one ear engaged.

For all night rides, I actually found audio books more engaging than music, as
the former helped me stay awake.  But I no longer ride these kind of distances,
so I don't bother with audio anymore.


grandep

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 108
  • Location: New Mexico
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2018, 03:50:15 PM »
OP here - I started my job back in January and have been biking almost every day since then. I don't use any headphones or speakers of any kind, I just bike alone with my thoughts. I do sometimes miss listening to podcasts and I think that would make my commute go by a little faster, but I agree that not having any sound distracting me is probably safest.

slomo85

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2018, 03:43:06 PM »
I often commute with headphones and listen to NPR or something. About 20 miles  each day, half bike trail, half with traffic. I don't understand why everyone is so against it.

I think ear buds or anything that seals off your ear canal is a no go. What I prefer is on ear behind the head band style wired headphones.

Advantages:
-Keeps ears warm when it's cold
-Actually improves hearing when at speed because you're not subjected to the loud wind blowing by your ears
-Not wireless so you don't have to remember to charge them
-Becomes an antenna to you can listen to FM radio on your phone and not worry about using your data
-At the volumes I listen I can pretty much still have a conversation with someone. I can still actually hear pretty faint noises, including my own bicycle.
-Because of the neckband style it's super easy to take one ear off if you need to and rest it below your ear, or even pull both off your ears and rest on your lower neck without taking your eyes off the road. Also doesn't interfere with your helmet.
-Cheap ($18-25 ish)

Disadvantages:
-Legal? Depends on your location. In SD it's legal to have only one ear with headphones while driving on the street, for both cyclists and cars (although I see plenty of car drivers with two headphones in, with windows up)
-Takes approx and extra 30sec to route wire under your shirt to your phone

I have tried the "Bone Conducting" wireless ones but hated them. I'd forget to charge, no FM radio on phone because wireless, had to turn volume all the way up because the wind is louder than the headphones, which is dangerous.

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk


DreamFIRE

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1290
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2018, 04:02:54 PM »
NEVER wear headphones, earbuds, IEM's while riding a bike!  Crazy and careless.  You are a target on your bicycle, and you're putting yourself at even greater risk if you're intentionally masking out some of the sounds around you.  I do a lot of biking and would NEVER consider doing that, and I do almost all of my riding in low traffic rural areas outside of the city.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 04:15:08 PM by DreamFIRE »

slomo85

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2018, 11:24:54 PM »
NEVER wear headphones, earbuds, IEM's while riding a bike!  Crazy and careless.  You are a target on your bicycle, and you're putting yourself at even greater risk if you're intentionally masking out some of the sounds around you.  I do a lot of biking and would NEVER consider doing that, and I do almost all of my riding in low traffic rural areas outside of the city.
See, it's this type of mentality that has me slightly confused. I'm with you 100% about any headphones that seal your ear, like over ear/iem/ear buds/ect... But why against ALL headphones? With the type I describe and the levels I listen, I can still hear the freaking birds chirping around me. Without the headphones all I would hear is the loud wind blowing by. And when u hit traffic or ride with cars you can simply drop the traffic side ear out or if you're worried you can drop them on your shoulders and crank the volume.

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk


GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11834
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2018, 02:16:43 PM »
NEVER wear headphones, earbuds, IEM's while riding a bike!  Crazy and careless.  You are a target on your bicycle, and you're putting yourself at even greater risk if you're intentionally masking out some of the sounds around you.  I do a lot of biking and would NEVER consider doing that, and I do almost all of my riding in low traffic rural areas outside of the city.
See, it's this type of mentality that has me slightly confused. I'm with you 100% about any headphones that seal your ear, like over ear/iem/ear buds/ect... But why against ALL headphones? With the type I describe and the levels I listen, I can still hear the freaking birds chirping around me. Without the headphones all I would hear is the loud wind blowing by. And when u hit traffic or ride with cars you can simply drop the traffic side ear out or if you're worried you can drop them on your shoulders and crank the volume.

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk

I kinda made the same comment a bit earlier.  Listening to something at low volumes with an earphone that doesn't block traffic noise doesn't seem particularly dangerous to me either.  I don't listen to music often on my bike, but when I do I've got no problem at all hearing vehicles around me, or carrying on a conversation with other cyclists.  YMMV I guess.

turketron

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 362
  • Age: 32
  • Location: WI
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2018, 02:25:58 PM »
I have a pair of these that I use for running, they still allow you to hear the ambient road noise around you and would work just as well for biking:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NJ4ARW0

The design really helps them stay in place when running, but YMMV based on your ear size/shape.

slomo85

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2018, 02:43:37 PM »
I have a pair of these that I use for running, they still allow you to hear the ambient road noise around you and would work just as well for biking:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NJ4ARW0

The design really helps them stay in place when running, but YMMV based on your ear size/shape.
I hear ya there. I think these kind, that I'm currently using, work great https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0015AFVBC/ref=mp_s_a_1_17?ie=UTF8&qid=1526330435&sr=8-17&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=sony+headphones

Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk


HipGnosis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1366
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #26 on: May 23, 2018, 08:33:42 PM »
I wear ear buds under my helmet when riding motorcycle.  I wish noise isolating ear buds worked nearly as well as people that don't wear them think they work.
My current ear buds are $15 buds w/with comply isolating tips on them.  The tips (aka cushions) make more difference than the buds.   The comply tips come in many sizes to fit a wide array of ear buds and ears.

Icecreamarsenal

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 491
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Burnt
Re: Headphones for bike commuting
« Reply #27 on: May 29, 2018, 08:58:44 AM »
Just did the NYC bike tour with two airpods in.  For light rides I'll put one in and listen to a podcast where I don't have to listen too intently, maybe a Ramsey debt-free scream marathon.