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  1. #1
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    Is it safe to use an MP3 player while mountain biking?

    Okay, it's a stupid question but seriouly how unsafe is it? When I ride alone I find that listening to music make the biking process a lot more fun. I don't turn it up too loud and I can hear cars when I am on the road. When I am on the trail, I can't really hear anything as trails are often quite. This might be dangerous in Southern California as we have mountain lions out there. The MP3 player could be a distraction if there is a big critter hiding in the bushes. Other than that, how dangerous can it be?

  2. #2
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    If I'm riding on the road or some simple single track, I'll wear my headphones, otherwise I'd much rather have the ability to hear what's going on with my bike, drivetrain noises etc.
    I live in Maine and I hate lobster.

  3. #3
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    it depends on the course and the traffic levels... courses that are more technical or have high traffic & require my attention also to my surrounding... then I'll either not wear it or keep the volume turned way down
    The kids love spinning their wheels... it's the best ;-)

  4. #4
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    It certainly can be very safe. It is all about common sense, how much of it you have, and the decisions you make as a result of it.

    Get a remote volume control for starters.

  5. #5
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    I like to enjoy some tunes while I ride.

    I only plug in one earphone, so I've got one ear to hear what's going on around me. At that, it's not one of those plungers that blocks outside sounds, but an external earbud. Volume is generally low enough that the music competes with wind noises if I'm moving at a good clip, even on the flats.
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  6. #6
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    usually i use the one earphone method also. I kinda feel like one can never be too aware of the surroundings.

  7. #7
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    I use just 1 earbud when riding solo. I feel its important to hear whats going on around you. Never know when your drivetrain starts to sound funny.

  8. #8
    local trails rider
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    I just find music a distraction when I am doing something interesting. Also, I like to have a maximum awareness of my surroundings whether in traffic or on trails. No music players for me please.

  9. #9
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    I don't understand wearing Ipods while riding. Isn't riding fun enough without music?

  10. #10
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    I'm not into it either, but hey, to each their own.


    I like hearing things like the birds, the wind in the trees, the waterfalls, etc. It's part of the whole thing to me.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by emilyjaydawg
    I don't understand wearing Ipods while riding. Isn't riding fun enough without music?
    Why don't you make your own thread about what you don't get? This thread is not about what you think is fun or unfun. It is not about what you don't understand regarding music and Ipods.

    The question is if it can be or is safe or not to ride with an mp3 player. i.e., music. His other question was how dangerous it could be.

  12. #12
    VDF
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    Just put in one ear

  13. #13
    dh1
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    safety on your bike while listening to an MP3 player is all about situational awareness. If you tend to get lost in your music or get tunnel vision, it may not be a good idea...but if you can listen to music and pay attention it works fine.

    Since you are asking for opinions, I would say if you are riding in and around other traffic, you should keep your volume down low enough that you can hear people coming up behind you to pass. I only say this because I scared the living $hit out of a woman tooling around on her bike the other day because she could not hear me and she was weaving back and forth on the path. I when I got close enough to get her attention, she was clearly startled to the point she almost went off the path opposite me. I was laughing to myself, but the problem is she was listening to her tunes and completely in her own world.

    That being said, I often wear my MP3 when riding solo. But I keep to the edge of the trail so if someone faster comes up behind me they can pass without incident.

    Think of it this way...deaf people can ride bikes just fine. They just use their other senses to make up for what they lack in hearing ability.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by dh1
    Think of it this way...deaf people can ride bikes just fine. They just use their other senses to make up for what they lack in hearing ability.
    I think this is an excellent point! This is exactly why having the headphones on is a bad decision, because we don't have those heightened senses!

  15. #15
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    I agree with one of the statements above...it all depends on the situation. When I go riding the trails up by the Chattahoochee River near my house...there is plenty of room both on the gravel walking trail and the mountain bike trails up in the woods for folks to pass...etc. I will wear my earphones when I am riding those trails b/c I am still aware of my surroundings...but not concerned with a rider coming from behind on an uphill b/c there is enough room for probably 3 riders side by side to pass.

    If I am on single-track...I usually don't wear um'...or if I do I use the one ear method...simply being I am still a "newbie"...while my skills are vastly improved...I am not the fastest climber or MTB'er in general...so I do get passed by other riders and it is important to me not to screw up someone elses "flow" on the trail and be able to allow them to pass on the narrow track.
    "Havin' a good time, here today...Watching the sun shine, matinee...Never the wrong time, time we stay...Living the moontime, time we play"

  16. #16
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    I use an ipod on my road bike from time to time - at low volume I can still hear traffic coming up behind me from a fair distance.

    Never on the MTBike - I can see it on long fire road climbs, but not on a descent. Too many variables. I've tried to pass riders - " On Your Left" only to get cut off or nearly crash - "Sorry, I didn't hear you!" or better yet come around a corner to find someone stopped in the middle of the trail answering a cell phone or putting an ear bud back in.

    How about personal injuries caused by the distraction? A friend lost his ear bud on the dh, reached up in a flat with his right hand to put it back in, crested the next descent while play with his ipod, grabbed a handful of front brake - broken shoulder & 3 mon. off the bike!

    Be respectful of others on the trail!

  17. #17
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    on the trail, yeah I listen to music sometimes. I don't buy the argument that it's bad on high traffic trails, but the trails I ride on you can't pass without someone stopping and letting you - if you crash trying to overtake a moving bike it's your own fault.

    On the road, with cars, wearing anything in your ear is asking to get hit. I don't care if you keep the volume low enough that you think you can hear, you can't.

    and about the mountain lions, I'm sure this isn't much comfort, but iPod or no, if a puma is going after you, you aren't going to hear it or know it's there until it's too late. They hunt animals with much better hearing than you by stealth.

  18. #18
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    how can you tell how fast you're going if you don't listen to the wind? NEway i always come up on dudes with ear pods on, they have no clue im behind them or that they are in my line, especially if they are stopped.... i vote no i podz

  19. #19
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    For the last thirty years, I've been riding sport bikes, dirt bikes, mountain bikes, and downhill skiing and I find it a true kick in the ass to have a string of my favorite songs setting a, flow. some of my most memorable rides are now connected to (your favorite song here) my music, I ride always with two speakers rigged into my helmet(s) and have never ever had a problem hearing what's happening around me, though I've a well developed sixth sense, or I'd be fertilizing some farmer's crops by now (or dropped out the south end of a vulture).

    Seriously speaking, I do watch the volume and l check my surroundings like a crack dealer in East Oakland...

    Really seriously speaking, I envy those who don't need such a high level of risk taking excitement/behavior to enjoy the outdoors. I do go without the ipod more and more these days, and hope it turns into a trend. Good on Y,all who don't feel any need for extaneous auditory mood altering equipment.

    Peace.

  20. #20
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    I found the Azonic Surround Sound helmet to be really great! You can crank tunes and still hear the sounds around you. I think that is both safe and fun!

  21. #21
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    safe? I'd say no
    you cant hear other riders, and you cant hear things going wrong with the bike

  22. #22
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    In the state of Florida if you wear headphones while riding a bike you can be ticketed. It is against the law.
    http://www.dot.state.fl.us/safety/pe..._bikeLaws2.htm

    Wearing of headsets
    (Section 316.304(1), F.S.)

    No person shall operate a bicycle while wearing a headset, headphone or other listening device, other than a hearing aid or instrument for the improvement of defective human hearing.

    Comment: Use of such devices can be distracting. However, a cyclist should not rely on hearing when changing lane position, crossing intersections, etc. Sounds of an approaching vehicle may be masked by other traffic or, in some cases (bicycle, hybrid-electric car) too soft to be heard.

  23. #23
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan0
    you cant hear other riders, and you cant hear things going wrong with the bike
    <Slightly OT>I've heard of truck drivers who WILL NOT allow music in their trucks because they want to hear if there is anything wrong with it.</Slightly OT>

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jleecong
    In the state of Florida if you wear headphones while riding a bike you can be ticketed. It is against the law.
    http://www.dot.state.fl.us/safety/pe..._bikeLaws2.htm

    Wearing of headsets
    (Section 316.304(1), F.S.)

    No person shall operate a bicycle while wearing a headset, headphone or other listening device, other than a hearing aid or instrument for the improvement of defective human hearing.

    Comment: Use of such devices can be distracting. However, a cyclist should not rely on hearing when changing lane position, crossing intersections, etc. Sounds of an approaching vehicle may be masked by other traffic or, in some cases (bicycle, hybrid-electric car) too soft to be heard.
    That law applies to bikes on the road, not off-road. Most states have the same law.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by 29Colossus
    That law applies to bikes on the road, not off-road. Most states have the same law.
    I agree and figured someone would say that.

    While reading this thread there were references to cars and other "traffic" oriented things. This would imply on-road. The very FIRST post...
    "I don't turn it up too loud and I can hear cars when I am on the road."

    Also a lot of my trails are state owned/operated. Most also connect to "multi" trails. If they wanted they could try to push it as DOT controlled since it is state property. Again do what you want (I'm not your mom), but as far as I can tell safe bet would be no headphones.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by jleecong
    I agree and figured someone would say that.

    While reading this thread there were references to cars and other "traffic" oriented things. This would imply on-road. The very FIRST post...
    "I don't turn it up too loud and I can hear cars when I am on the road."

    Also a lot of my trails are state owned/operated. Most also connect to "multi" trails. If they wanted they could try to push it as DOT controlled since it is state property. Again do what you want (I'm not your mom), but as far as I can tell safe bet would be no headphones.
    I just have to disregard the road comments and cars and road riding etc.. If people are wearing their headphones on the road, they are simply idiots and most likely breaking the law in their state.

    Sorry for my selective consideration.

  27. #27
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    I stopped wearing mine on trails around the Washington DC area, because of the shear volume of people. I almost took out a couple of riders when coming around a blind corner. That was my last time riding with the Ipod.

  28. #28
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    I do it all the time, both ears, music up pretty good. I don't use noise canceling ear buds tho, THAT would be just plain dumb. I'm actualy thinking about getting the Azonic Surround Sound helmet.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by =ChrisB=
    I do it all the time, both ears, music up pretty good. I don't use noise canceling ear buds tho, THAT would be just plain dumb. I'm actualy thinking about getting the Azonic Surround Sound helmet.
    Just so you know. That helmet is junk.

  30. #30
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    Probably not the safest thing. I do it on the road most of the time to relax me on the way to work or school. I live in a small town that has nice bike lanes everywhere. Plus I usually stick to the side streets.

    I used to ride with music on the trail, but recently stopped and really like it. Lets ya know if there are bears around, not to mention other people on the trail.

    Came up on a black bear last week. WOuld of not heard him if I had music on. Thank god I did not have my headphones on. They are hungry this time of year.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeyMT
    Came up on a black bear last week. WOuld of not heard him if I had music on. Thank god I did not have my headphones on. They are hungry this time of year.
    LOL. This could be not very funny if something had gone wrong.

    Last weekend I forgot to bring my MP3 player and I didn't think about it after a while.

  32. #32
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    I hate wearing headphones while riding or snowboarding but really like music while doing both. So I went down to my local Best Buy and bought an "active Ipod speaker case". It is just a case with a built in speaker that pluds directly into and holds my Ipod. I can strap it to my handlebars with velcro strap and I have my tunes. Works awesome and only cost me $8.

  33. #33
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    my two cents... no.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by brubakes
    my two cents... no.
    That only seemed like one cent. I feel cheated... I think.

  35. #35
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    I am really glad someone brought this up. I will comment on the offroad use of headphones, as i don't ride on the road very frequently.
    1) Is it safe?
    For the most part probably not. That's really just my opinion.
    More to the point:
    2) It is just rude.
    If there is a remote possibility that you will pass or be passed by someone on the trail, please just stop the insanity and don't listen to your headphones. I am sure it makes the "experience" 10x better and all, but please just stop. If someone is behind you, they can't communicate if they are passing (this goes for both uphill and downhill), if someone is coming around a blind corner, you won't hear them....etc. I could go on and on, but i think anyone with a high school education can figure why this might be a bad idea. How am i supposed to communicate with someone on the trail wearing headphones...i am open to ideas. Yelling at them works sometimes, but i really don't want to have to resort to that. I think throwing rocks is out of the question. How about a nice tire rub? skidding and coughing doesn't really work.

    I know i am generalizing and some people can listen to their music at a reasonable level that they can hear what is going on around them, and i am obviously not talking to those people, proceed . However, if you are one you listens to your butt rock/techno/new age/self help tapes/whatever, at an obnoxiously loud level on a trail with other people (i.e the bonneville shoreline here in SLC), please just stop this nonsense. I'm begging you. just stop. Can you hear me?

  36. #36
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    I'd say go with the AZONIC SUROUND SOUND helmet... If it fits ya...
    I LOVE mine. I can hear the bike, the tires on the trail, and NOTORIOUS B.I.G. all at the same time...
    I've heard tell of a full face in the works too... That'd be sweet. I've seen guys actually use medical tape to hold ear buds in place with a full face... Now THAT sound dangerous...

  37. #37
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    safe? i live in SO CAL also, and ride alone 80%. i bought a "north american 22long rifle 5 shot revolver that weighs 4.5oz" about 3 months ago it fits under my spandex just like a GU! thats feeling safe!! before i got it i allways had 1 earphone in and 1 out, now i can enjoy 235 different "BEN HARPER" songs on all the kick Ass single track here in IDYLLWILD. and the mountain lion that i have seen 4 times in the past 2 months on the "1st brother" (it is the name of a trail.) dont bother me at ALL... yeah its safe to listen to music "on the trail" side note dont listen in a race not because the other racers (it's all about us") because it takes energy to process music, witch takes energy from your body! proven fact. try to find mellow music and enjoy the ride!

    peace ballistic

    "LISTEN 2 BEN HARPER!"

    fine print (this is my opinion)

  38. #38
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    Well....I'm sure it CAN be safe in a way, but it depends on where you're riding I guess. Personally I can't stand riding/driving/doing much of anything while listening to music (besides driving in my truck/car) because I can't hear whats going on around me. On the trails I can't hear if other bikers, horses, runners, etc are coming up on me (whether I'm riding or stopped). Though I conflict with myself because I'd LOVE to listen to music while doing most of my activities because it keeps me pumped and can help me continue to push myself when I would normally give out, damn conflicting conscience.

  39. #39
    fsf
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    Quote Originally Posted by ballisticwonder
    safe? i live in SO CAL also, and ride alone 80%. i bought a "north american 22long rifle 5 shot revolver that weighs 4.5oz" about 3 months ago it fits under my spandex just like a GU! thats feeling safe!! before i got it i allways had 1 earphone in and 1 out, now i can enjoy 235 different "BEN HARPER" songs on all the kick Ass single track here in IDYLLWILD. and the mountain lion that i have seen 4 times in the past 2 months on the "1st brother" (it is the name of a trail.) dont bother me at ALL... yeah its safe to listen to music "on the trail" side note dont listen in a race not because the other racers (it's all about us") because it takes energy to process music, witch takes energy from your body! proven fact. try to find mellow music and enjoy the ride!

    peace ballistic

    "LISTEN 2 BEN HARPER!"

    fine print (this is my opinion)
    Not to be a jerk, but what is a .22LR going to save you from? Not to mention the fact that it's illegal to have a concealed/concealable weapon most places in CA*

    A bear isn't going to care about .22lr. A mountain lion won't either, but more importantly, if the mountain lion is planning on eating you, you're not going to know it until it's on your back trying to break your neck. If you're worried about getting mugged by a person or whatever, than a .22lr might or might not do the trick, but I personally would feel horrendously underarmed for anything larger than a rabbit.

    *According to the CA Bureau of Firearms, you can carry a gun provided you have a hunting or fishing license and none of the following are true:
    a) A National Park or National Recreation Area
    b) A State Park or State Recreation Area
    c) There is a road, street, or highway within 100 feet
    d) Any member of the public is placed in possible jeopardy by use of
    the handgun
    e) The carrying of a loaded handgun in the area is prohibited by a
    local law, ordnance, or regulation
    f) You are on private property other than your own and have not
    secured permission from the owner to carry a loaded firearm on the
    property

    If you're riding a public place that isn't a national or state park/recreation area, then LET ME KNOW WHERE!, 'cause I'm on the fence about getting a beautiful S&W Mountain Gun .44mag for hiking (not biking), but obviously won't if I won't be able to carry it anyway.

    Thanks

  40. #40
    Chumley for prez!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ballisticwonder
    safe? i live in SO CAL also, and ride alone 80%. i bought a "north american 22long rifle 5 shot revolver that weighs 4.5oz" about 3 months ago it fits under my spandex just like a GU! thats feeling safe!! before i got it i allways had 1 earphone in and 1 out, now i can enjoy 235 different "BEN HARPER" songs on all the kick Ass single track here in IDYLLWILD. and the mountain lion that i have seen 4 times in the past 2 months on the "1st brother" (it is the name of a trail.) dont bother me at ALL... yeah its safe to listen to music "on the trail" side note dont listen in a race not because the other racers (it's all about us") because it takes energy to process music, witch takes energy from your body! proven fact. try to find mellow music and enjoy the ride!

    peace ballistic

    "LISTEN 2 BEN HARPER!"

    fine print (this is my opinion)
    I am pretty gullible, so i'll ask. Are you serious? You must be kidding.
    If so then then thanks for the laughs.
    If not...i just don't know where to begin...There are just so many things "wrong" with this post.

  41. #41
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    it is not LEGAL to ride 90% of the trails!!!! not that 2 illegal things make it right but????????????? its not legal 2 ride with music either!

    peace

  42. #42
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    i am glad u laughed! serious? listen to ben harper!...

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