Local Current Blog

Is it possible to bike safely to music?

Clad in traditional Briton outfits local musicians play the bagpipes to support the riders in the second leg of the Tour de France cycling classic rode between Perros-Guirec and Vitre, France, 1995. (Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images)

As the weather starts to feel a bit more like spring around the Twin Cities, many formerly snowed-in cyclists are dusting off their rides and re-experiencing the outdoors on two wheels. Nothing beats the sensation of listening to your favorite tunes while riding for exercise or leisure, and studies show listening to music can even increase endurance levels during a workout. One study even found that soundtracking a bike ride can help cyclists create a “sensory strategy” for calmly navigating difficult terrain.

While the practice of wearing headphones or earbuds during a ride is not technically illegal in Minnesota, it is strongly discouraged by the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota for impeding a cyclist’s ability to be fully aware of their senses and ride safely. Foregoing headphones, many cyclists strap on a Bluetooth speaker and blast music from their person, though high noise levels, especially in congested areas, can disrupt and distract others. With these things in mind, gadgets designed specifically for safer riding are available from a variety of sources.

One earbud in, one out

Leaving one ear exposed on the side of oncoming traffic can help cyclists stay tuned in to their surroundings. For the full auditory experience in just one ear, single buds that mix both audio channels are available from Far End Gear and JLab.

Wearable Bluetooth

A manufacturer in China has developed a multipurpose helmet that places Bluetooth speakers just above the wearer’s ears — loud enough to hear, quiet enough to avoid distracting others and let in traffic sounds. The helmet also includes blinking red lights for nighttime visibility, and a crash detection feature that texts friends the wearer’s current location.

Additionally, JBL Soundgear has developed a slightly different way to wear speakers close to one’s ears without eliminating ambient noise. Their U-shaped speaker system fits snugly on the back of the neck and shoulders so riders can project music without disturbing others.

Remain aware of ambient noise

Some ear buds are specially designed to let in outside noise along with tunes. These from Plantronics have an open ear tip, which make it possible for ambient noise to mingle with songs played at a reasonable volume, and experts suggest keeping headphone levels at 60% of the maximum volume no matter what.

Bone conduction

Our eardrums aren’t the only parts of the body capable of perceiving sound. According to designer Gemma Roper, sound waves can travel to the inner ear through vibrational patterns on the top of the bones near the ear, bypassing the eardrum. Roper’s Safe+Sound headphones do just that by hooking onto the wearer’s helmet straps and resting on their cheekbones to transmit sound, leaving the eardrums free to perceive outside noise.

Many other headphone models utilize bone conduction — from those that wrap around the user’s head, to helmets with built-in transmitters. Even Beethoven himself used a version of bone conduction to compose while unable to hear otherwise by biting a metal rod attached to his piano.

The most important things to do while riding, even without a fancy gadget, are to keep music to a minimal volume and remain continuously aware of your surroundings. Keep speakers close to your head as to not disturb others, and queue up songs before leaving, so you never have to adjust mid-ride.

If anything, you can always be like this Bike Forums contributor and go old-school.

Lydia Moran is a music and arts writer in Minneapolis. 

  • Lavonne

    A family vacation to the most fascinating destinations in the entire world with the ones you love and a beautiful house you would like to purchase. Is your present job truly capable of fulfilling your aspirations? In case your answer is no then it is actually time for you to change. We bring to you a web-based job that is certainly as simple as being on any search engine like google or doing copy paste task. It does not need technical knowledge and it does not require anything to sell. It surely is not similar to any fakes that promises to make you “rich over night” and then ended up being pyramid schemes or stuff where you really need to sell to your friends and family. You can easily start and you will receive the instruction guide within few weeks. You can make around $14,000-$15,000 every month. You could enjoy a longer time with my wife and children and can go out for wonderful vacations. This job provides you opportunity to be own own boss and can work from any location. No need to wait for too long, Go and take a look this amazing online job opportunity.>>>>>>>>>>>> http://bubl.be/o

  • Rae

    I actually generate nearly $6,000-$8,000 every 30 days via internet. This is ideal to doubtlessly substitute my earlier jobs net income, specially taking into account I simply just work almost 20 hour or so each and every week from home.I lost my job after operating for the same enterprise for years, I needed very trusted source of income. I was not researching for programs that promises to make you rich in just few days as you can see all over the net. Those all of them are sort of ponzi mlm programs in which you need to initially create leads and then sell something to friends or relatives or anybody so that they will be in your team. The most exciting part of working over the internet is that I am always home with the little ones and also enjoy lots of free time with my family members in various beautiful beaches of the world. Honestly,it is simpler than you would think, all you need to do is submit a very simple form to receive front line access to the Home Profit System. The instructions are really easy, you need not have to be a computer expert, but you must be aware how to use the internet. It’s as easy as being on Instagram. Here’s the easiest method to start ====> http://infd.in/4JDJJP

  • Kimberly

    I basically earn approximately $6,000-$8,000 every 30 days over the internet. It is indeed a sufficient amount to comfortably substitute my prior workplace net income, particularly thinking about I simply just do the work about 20 hour each and every week from a home office.I dropped my job after working for the same workplace for a long time, I required very trustworthy source of income. I was not interested in packages that miguide you to make you millionnare within few days you can find all over the net. Those are all type of ponzi mlm systems in which you need to first make prospective buyers after which sell a product to friends or family members or anybody so that they will be in your team. The most important part of working on-line is that I am always home with the children and also enjoy time with family on different beaches of the world. Honestly,it is actually easier than you would believe, all you have to do is submit a very simple form to receive front line access to the Home Profit System. The guidelines are extremely easy, you don’t have to be a computer expert, however you must be aware how to use the internet. It is as simple as being on Facebook. Here’s the best way to start –> https://yx.si/2ia