Listening to music whilst out on a ride

by joc   March 13, 2013  

I like to listen to music when I'm out on my own...
Is it the done thing? it even legal?

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No Andyp,he is not blind,he was a really good club rider,and if he feels because of having to wear 2 hearing aids,and finds them a distraction when cycling and decided to pack in,who are we to criticise?We were young lads when we first raced together,unmarried and travelled all over Time Trialing,now both 66yrs old,I hope you have as much fun out of cycling as we have had,me I,m looking forward to a new season,my Pal he goes Birdwatching!Anyone who listens to music whilst cycling is a PRATT!!

posted by foxyloxy [52 posts]
14th March 2013 - 14:00

1 Like

Another comedy cycling debate like helmet wearing and wearing non-fluro jackets, those that do it think it's fine those that don't think it's ridiculous.

For me cycling is about getting away from the normal drone of everyday life so I don't want to listen to music, if you do go for it.

posted by bike_food [164 posts]
14th March 2013 - 14:16


'who are we to criticise?'
'Anyone who listens to music whilst cycling is a PRATT!!'

Oh, the irony.

posted by andyp [1371 posts]
14th March 2013 - 14:30

1 Like

Ha Ha... Was just thinking that

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posted by joc [75 posts]
14th March 2013 - 14:33


foxyloxy wrote:
Anyone who rides a bike listening to music,is a pratt,to darn dangerous.A good friend of mine who was my 2up TT partner whilst racing for East Surrey RC,has sadly gone deaf and needs to wear 2 hearing aids,and he says he had to stop riding because he finds it hard to hear anything coming from behind!How can you be concentrating on your ride if you are listening to hard rock or whatever? Wink

No disrespect to your mate foxyloxy but at first, I thought this was anecdotal evidence about having the ipod on too loud.

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posted by Joselito [167 posts]
14th March 2013 - 16:14


I use to do it when I first started my 4 mile commute on my old (and too small) MTB, but as I got more and more into cycling and started doing longer rides I stopped because a) I like to just ride, look at the scenery of the surrey B roads an just relax more and b) I could always guarantee that at least 1 ear bud would fall out every mile for whatever reason leading to more annoyance. I can see why people like to, I use to but i can also see the dangerous part and why people don't.

posted by Liam Barr [18 posts]
14th March 2013 - 22:21


I got hit by a bus a few years ago while on my motorbike and the driver had a hands free phone ear piece in.

Was he distracted because of this? maybe but no more than driving a car whilst talking on an in car phone or listening to music.

I personally don't like to listen to music while out riding, nothing to do with safety, i just like the sounds when Im out riding.
I do like to listen to music while driving the car though. guess that makes me a PRATT!! sorry for the shouting and over use of exclamation marks Big Grin

posted by stepho [102 posts]
14th March 2013 - 22:32

1 Like

So basically your right and anyone who disagrees is a PRATT. Quite a small minded attitude really..... Different generation I suppose Wink

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posted by joc [75 posts]
14th March 2013 - 23:52


joc wrote:
So basically your right and anyone who disagrees is a PRATT. Quite a small minded attitude really..... Different generation I suppose Wink

Not at all. A fondness for sweeping generalisations can be a life-long habit.

(But maybe you'll grow out of it. Cool )

posted by OldCog [7 posts]
15th March 2013 - 0:41


There ain't no sweeter music than tyre on tarmac.

Hearing a maniac screaming out of a blind turn into my left shoulder. Or a truck speeding up to do a left hook in front of my face. Not so sweet, but nicer to hear than not so I can do something about it.

posted by Argos74 [347 posts]
15th March 2013 - 8:26


If your music isn't distracting, then it probably isn't worth listening to. Just saying.

David Fong - founder Engineered Bicycles Ltd

posted by Roastie [27 posts]
15th March 2013 - 19:36


I have those headphones that go right in your ears and listen to metal on full volume most of the time when commuting. It blocks out the background noise of all the shit going on around me and helps me keep a rhythm and concentrate on what I'm doing and avoiding getting squashed. I can still hear motor vehicles quite clearly due to their lower frequency and sheer volume.

Going out for a ride is a completely different matter and I would never where headphones, but this is when my mind is more likely to wander.

posted by drfabulous0 [406 posts]
15th March 2013 - 22:31


as much as i love the general feeling of immersion and zen that comes from being out on the bike, there are times in the depths of winter at 5.30am when i need something to distract me from the hour long ride to work in pissing rain, pitch black and howling wind. at this point, a decent soundtrack can work wonders and enables me to maintain motivation and get the miles in. i compensate for the slight reduction in auditory awareness by looking behind a lot more. it's not ideal, but there is no tangible reduction in safety. you can see headlights behind and in front, and at the side (and it's invariably dark). of the 'accidents' i've had, driver error has been the cause and there isn't anything i could have done to avoid them, even if i was using an ipod at the time, which i wasn't.

in summer, when life is better and nature provides a more compelling and cheery soundtrack i tend to not use the ipod.

i fear for the general level of bike handling and awareness people have if they think they're going to suddenly become street pizza on account of blasting out a few Susan Boyle tracks on their commute.

posted by pj [149 posts]
16th March 2013 - 8:24


Argos74 wrote:
There ain't no sweeter music than tyre on tarmac.

^That, +1.

Windless days, silent bike, flying.

The Human Cyclist A blog. Try it, you might like it...

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posted by sm [373 posts]
16th March 2013 - 11:14


People that listen to Susan Boyle deserve to be run over Big Grin

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posted by joc [75 posts]
16th March 2013 - 12:12


joc wrote:
People that listen to Susan Boyle deserve to be run over Big Grin

By Susan Boyle Laughing


posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [732 posts]
17th March 2013 - 10:40


Ha Ha

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posted by joc [75 posts]
17th March 2013 - 11:26


IMHO riding my bikes around London and South East England is either an exercise in tilting the odds towards survival as much as possible, or a matter of enjoying it.

Busy roads, even on Boris blue lanes, are dangerous places (partly due to reckless cyclists) and I'll take every 0.1% advantage I can get. I've been properly mashed once in ten years of regular riding and despite a great service from the NHS its not good, probably with lifelong future joint problems. Dozens of less lucky cyclists have died - the pedestrians and cyclists will always come off worse in a wrestle with a big lump of steel. The human brain is very good at picking up clues and processing them instantly on a "System 1" automatic level, so I don't want to compromise any of that.

Out in the sticks I can't see the point of even partly cutting off the environment, the breeze in the trees, the joy of the birds twittering away whilst winching up a quiet climb, the patter of footsteps as a hedgehog overtakes me etc etc. And, the possible early warning of a mechanical problem from a change in bike noises.

So for me no headphones on the road and personally I would lobby for all of you out there to keep your ears peeled as well when out on the public highway, or on towpaths etc.

Keeps you safer, keeps everyone else safer.

posted by Ralph S [2 posts]
17th March 2013 - 20:38


It's not for me, I love the whole sounds of nature and rush of the wind and tyres on tarmac thing. What do you listen to and why do you prefer it?

Ah! Condor

posted by Bedfordshire Clanger [346 posts]
17th March 2013 - 23:11


I listen to music on the rollers (gotta find some way to entertain yourself) but, for me, on the road music's a no-no. I get enough entertainment from the world around me and, even if I was bored to death, safety first! Rather bored than dead!!! Smile

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

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posted by King of the Mou... [37 posts]
21st March 2013 - 18:08


Anyone tried aftershokz they conduct the music through the bone near your ear?

In my world I can do hills.

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posted by divingrob [26 posts]
26th March 2013 - 22:01


divingrob wrote:
Anyone tried aftershokz they conduct the music through the bone near your ear?

Yes, I tried them. Sound quality was lacking. You only get bass if you hold the speakers against the bone with your fingers, which would defeat the point. Also, the volume was either too low to hear against the ambient noise, or loud enough to drown out other sounds. Neither is good.

One of the lads in the club wears one earphone when riding. On Sunday, he and another lad took the wrong exit off a big major roundabout. I shouted into the wind, and the other lad heard me (maybe 50 metres away). He shouted repeatedly at maximum volume to the earphone wearer less than 2 metres in front of him. No response. That was the last time we saw him. One lad tried calling his phone. The other 6 of us regrouped and took the correct exit.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3712 posts]
27th March 2013 - 10:59


Surprised at the number of people condemning headphones as dangerous. Car drivers, pedestrians and even motorcyclists listen to music, don't see what the big deal is.

Nothing beats storming uphill to a decent dance track - great for your rhythm, motivation and keeping up the pace

let's not allow the health and safety police to take another one of life's pleasures away!

posted by 700c [740 posts]
27th March 2013 - 22:17


As some people have mentioned wind noise is sufficiently loud to be a major problem when going at reasonable speeds on country roads. That is why I'm thinking of getting a mirror. After all no-one would dream of driving a car without one, so why go on a bike without one, although I have been for 44 years. Used to have an iPhone on max volume in my back pocket occasionally but could only hear it if I turned my head a bit, which shows how loud wind noise is, especially compared to modern quiet cars.

posted by Alan Tullett [1581 posts]
27th March 2013 - 23:58


i don't listen to music, but when i have my head band on over my ears in this cold weather I can't hear a bloody thing with all the the wind noise added in.

posted by roly [43 posts]
28th March 2013 - 15:03


Commuting: no way I would listen to music. Morning traffic over here is distracting enough as is.
Training/Rec: Of course! Get a little adrenaline from a great song, catch up on NPR (BBC Radio over here), or listen to what's going to be coming up on you schedule-wise.

I have to say, the concern over the image of cyclists as a whole is impressive. If you really think about it, where else is there such a large community (with loose to no ties to each other) so concerned with their public image?

[custom] '12 Cannondale CAAD10 - Rival

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posted by badkneestom [134 posts]
28th March 2013 - 17:36


Ipersonally dont wear them as they hurt my ears but i found this after searching.

A spokeswoman from Gwent Police’s road safety division says: "There is no law specifically banning the use of earphones while driving."

However, the use of earphones at the wheel would fall under the Road Traffic Act offence of not being in control of a vehicle. .

"It would be up to the officer at the roadside to judge whether they thought the driver's control was impaired by the use of earphones or any other activity such as changing a CD or smoking.

"If a driver listening to earphones was involved in a collision then they could face charges under the more serious offence of dangerous driving."

Also, section 148 of the Highway Code states: "Safe driving and riding needs concentration. Avoid distractions when driving or riding such as loud music (this may mask other sounds)."

I appreciate this is in connection with a car / motorbike but i thought it might clear things up a bit.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

posted by stumps [3214 posts]
28th March 2013 - 18:48


Of course you do realise that your comments are falling on deaf ears Big Grin


posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [732 posts]
2nd April 2013 - 6:57


I ride alone,Im courteous and aware on the road always looking behind, i dont take risks but do i want to hear the screech of tyres of someone just about to send me to kingdom come? Nah rather be pounding away to ACDC's Highway to hell meself if someones gonna hit you they are gonna hit you Smile and its true that without headphones the rush of the wind in your ears inhibits your hearing anyhow! Guess i fall into the Pratt catagorie.
Big Grin

posted by skitza [16 posts]
6th April 2013 - 12:05


I wouldn't do it. I use my eyes of course, but my ears as well to know what is happening around me. In winter I rug up and often have my ears covered. I dislike it. Personal preference of course. If someone I was riding with was listening to music instead of my amazingly gripping and interesting stories I would send them to the front so that they at least shield me from the wind. If they weren't going to do that, I would drop them and ride on my own - they are of no use to me...

I'm riding the 2013 Giro d'Italia for charity! Check it out and follow my progress live at

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posted by Tour Le Tour [91 posts]
6th April 2013 - 16:04