Thursday, 5 April 2012

Is it safe to listen to music whilst cycling?

Basic kit for a trip out on the bike usually includes something to eat, a drink, probably a small tool kit and my mp3 player for music along the way. Until a year or so ago I'd never really questioned whether it was safe or not to cycle, with a mix of The Lemonheads and Johnny Cash accompanying me along the road, but a discussion with a friend who'd had a near miss prompted me to think a bit more about whether its was a risk worth taking. When I thought back, there had been a couple of times where near misses have been a little too near- and probably a little nearer than they might have been if I'd not been plugged in.

 I've never had a 'serious' cycling accident, but as I'm getting older and more aware of my fragile existence I'd rather not take the chance. I think there must be a difference between the daily commute (where i would tend to wear headphones) and weekends leisure rides where I'm quite often going somewhere new and want to take in my surroundings. Listening to music helps to pace the journey and to some extent breaks up the repetitive nature of the commute to work and for me its probably this aspect- the need to distract myself from a boring commute- that might result in an accident.

 I guess the choices are clear, you can do as i did and take the risk and wear earphones, you could cycle without earphones-which is what i tend to do if I'm off on a leisure ride or you could compromise and either just use one of your headphones (leaving one ear free) or make use of one of the growing bunch of cycling friendly headsets. I've seen a couple of posts about earphones recently and mentioned most often seem to be those offered by Chilli Air ...check out the video

These are quite pricey at £40ish so at the moment I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new piece of kit from the guys at OneGoodBud. Its basically a single earphone which still offers the stereo sound that you don't get when you only use one earphone from a conventional earphone set. Its only £15 so affordable- I'll review it when it gets here.