Author Topic: Cycling with earbuds  (Read 2447 times)

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2018, 07:42:16 am »
Those who use an earbud in one ear only... you do understand that hearing is stereo, right? If you want to get an idea of the direction sound is coming from, you need both ears in play. (At least, sound localisation is more accurate when using both ears.)

Not that human hearing is hugely reliable in this respect anyway, which is one of the reasons I never trust my hearing to give me accurate information about my environment when cycling, regardless of whether or not I’m listening to music.

Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #26 on: November 30, 2018, 08:14:44 am »
On an audax I'll use headphones as a bit of a treat on longer quiet solo stretches or where a bit of morale is needed.

I've always listened to the radio whilst commuting.   My colleagues take a dim view of this.   Every single accident I have had in the last 20 years has involved somebody or thing stepping out in front of me.   Being able to hear them would make no difference.

Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #27 on: November 30, 2018, 09:02:48 am »
Often. Verge side ear in. Just podcasts/audiobooks.

Sometimes, I'll put both ears in if i'm battling a headwind as it vastly reduces the windnoise over my earholes and enables me to detect vehicles approaching from behind.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #28 on: November 30, 2018, 01:06:42 pm »
OOI, do we have any sodcasters?

Obviously this is de rigueur for Christmas-themed rides, but more generally it tends to be a teenagers-on-BSOs thing. Nevertheless I do occasionally come across a proper cyclist with tinny tunes (or, more commonly, some sort of sports commentary) emanating from their bike luggage.

Potential antisocialness (if you're riding solo away from other people, it's a non-problem) and horrendous audio quality aside, it seems like a good way to reduce the impact on your hearing and avoid the faff of earphones.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #29 on: November 30, 2018, 01:09:27 pm »
Those who use an earbud in one ear only... you do understand that hearing is stereo, right? If you want to get an idea of the direction sound is coming from

In the country lane scenario, if you hear car engine noise and you can't you see it in front of you, there's not a lot of possibilities left.

Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #30 on: November 30, 2018, 01:30:06 pm »
Those who use an earbud in one ear only... you do understand that hearing is stereo, right? If you want to get an idea of the direction sound is coming from

In the country lane scenario, if you hear car engine noise and you can't you see it in front of you, there's not a lot of possibilities left.

Exactly. There are some strange views here concerning the alledged 'inaccuracy' of hearing. I'll take inaccurate hearing over no hearing  ;)

I can't speak for other people and in particular how efficient their branes are at processing road sounds into meaningful information. Maybe I have a very adept brane but I find no difference between my expectations based on hearing and what transpires moments later. 35 years of experience may be a factor.

I do accept that in busy urban situations, it is harder to link sound to actuality...but then I mostly avoid busy urban scenarios. For rural roads, I am 100% correct in my estimation of the value of hearing to me.

Ben T

  • What you saying, then?
Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2018, 01:31:55 pm »
I often have radio on. But I quite like information about places I am going through - to which end I have been working on an android app that receives location updates and reads out information about nearby places from wikipedia. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=georadio.bjt.com.georadio . I have put a small price on it but I think you can get a refund if you uninstall it (not sure).
Unless you put on overalls, boots, and a helmet with a high tech pre fitted lamp - and you dig coal - nope, you don't know me.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2018, 01:39:12 pm »
I do accept that in busy urban situations, it is harder to link sound to actuality...but then I mostly avoid busy urban scenarios.

Ah!

I've been mostly thinking of urban situations.  >95% of my riding on quiet country lanes is done on bikes with mirrors, where I usually see the vehicle approaching from behind long before I hear it.  Hearing is mostly useful for junctions on blind bends, and occasionally for detecting that there's a horse round the corner in front.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #33 on: November 30, 2018, 01:42:38 pm »
In the country lane scenario, if you hear car engine noise and you can't you see it in front of you, there's not a lot of possibilities left.

...and equally limited options available to do anything useful with the information.

Whereas I find speech too distracting when I'm driving (I don't use headphones on the bike).  Music much less so.

Yes, this is something that has always puzzled me about people who rate listening to radio/podcasts as being safer than listening to music. Speech requires attention, music can be treated as background noise - especially if it's music you're already familiar with.

Comedy podcasts are the worst - there have been occasions when I've had to stop by the side of the road because I was laughing too much to stay upright on the bike.

Quote
A hearing person with headphones hasn't necessarily developed the same observation skills as a deaf person.  They're also giving their brain an additional stream of input to process.

That's all about experience. A deaf person is experienced at dealing with daily life without auditory inputs, but an experienced cyclist might equally have developed the ability to compensate for sensory deficiencies/extra input streams (and will also understand the limitations of human hearing when cycling).

Based on my experience, I have come to the conclusion that being able to hear is very low down on the list of safety requirements.

Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #34 on: November 30, 2018, 01:49:41 pm »
@Kim Well that explains our respective positions! I had an incident this week that required me to take evasive action (swinging to left to avoid driver overtaking near a traffic island). I didn't expect the driver to do it as it was such an unbelievably stupid thing to do. It was only when I heard the car accelerate that I realised what the driver was about to do. If I hadn't swerved into the kerb I would have been hit, no question.

In rural settings the concern is drivers accelerating fast round long blind corners. Again, many times I've had to dive for the curb because I know what is coming.

Clearly, in urban settings it is probably traffic ahead of you, at junctions etc, which poses most risk, in which case hearing is unlikely to be of much use.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #35 on: November 30, 2018, 01:50:16 pm »
Maybe I have a very adept brane

Or maybe you are a bat?

I think it is impossible to make any meaningful claims about accuracy of hearing without some kind of controlled test, and I have a hunch that many cyclists (not least ones with 35 years experience) may not be getting as much or as accurate information from their hearing as they imagine - instead their experience is enabling them to build a picture based on a complex set of stimuli, of which auditory cues may be but a small part.

Personally, I don't trust my hearing as far as I can throw it, but I appreciate that my hearing is far from perfect and YMMV.

Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2018, 01:53:23 pm »
Humans do have other senses. Are you suggesting hearing impaired people shouldn't ride bikes? If I'm on my own I often plug in, crank the volume to max and get down to some hard rock. I always go faster when doing so  :P  I've never had a problem not noticing a car from behind....
Those wonderful norks are never far from my thoughts, oh yeah!

Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #37 on: November 30, 2018, 01:53:39 pm »
I can tell you that when a car overtakes me (with the exception of very high or low speed) I know exactly where that car will be on the road, laterally.

That has proved to be useful information.


jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #38 on: November 30, 2018, 02:24:07 pm »
Very often I ride with one ear bud in and spotify on.  I would prefer if there was a way to alter the balance on Android without a root'ed phone so I could improve battery life of my headphones, at the moment I have to make do with setting the accessibility to mono audio and putting it through both headphones...

Google had an app to do this sometime ago, I liked it at first until I was in London a lot and it never shut up and churned through the phone battery...  I think it might have been called "Google Places"

I often have radio on. But I quite like information about places I am going through - to which end I have been working on an android app that receives location updates and reads out information about nearby places from wikipedia. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=georadio.bjt.com.georadio . I have put a small price on it but I think you can get a refund if you uninstall it (not sure).
Regards,

Joergen

Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #39 on: November 30, 2018, 02:42:05 pm »
Never tried it, even on long Audaxes.  Have toyed with the idea of having a small bluetooth speaker clipped to the bars or some such but it just seems like too much hassle and another thing to worry about charging.

Most of the time there is more than enough happening in my head to keep me occupied and stave off boredom.


Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #40 on: November 30, 2018, 02:52:32 pm »
I've never tried it either and wouldn't want to, simply because I wouldn't enjoy it. I don't think it's necessarily a safety issue and to the extent that it is, it's probably more about distraction and mood than hearing per se. Deaf people are allowed to drive, aren't they?
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #41 on: November 30, 2018, 03:02:58 pm »
Deaf people are allowed to drive, aren't they?

Yes.  (Although I think some US states put "must use hearing aid" restrictions on their licences).  I vaguely recall that they have slightly fewer collisions than hearing people.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #42 on: November 30, 2018, 03:08:42 pm »
I do. I've developed a 2/3-hour-a-day podcast addiction which (not coincidentally) matches my commuting time. I find the spoken word less distracting than music for reasons I don't understand. I never used them on Audaxes because I was usually riding with others, or there was a strong chance of being spoken to and didn't want to be rude. Though I may have regretted that once on the stretch between Llandovery and Bwlch on a lovely/lonely Spring night.  I used Aftershokz for a while, but they're not waterproof and became just one more thing that needed charging - oh and somehow I managed to bend one of the ends and the sound quality plummeted - and unlike HF's experience I couldn't notice much difference between the earbuds and Aftershokz wrt to 'outside' noise. Maybe I just have crap earbuds. Also...

I do it because I can't remember a time where my course of action would have been different because of something I've only heard (other than sirens/beeping/etc which I can still hear if I use headphones), or more importantly, didn't hear.

I just haven't had the experience of having had to avoid a collision from behind by diving off to the left. Maybe that's to come...

One thing I can't hear so well with earbuds in is the full glory of a dawn chorus, so on some early summer mornings I might let the podcast backlog grow a little.


quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #43 on: November 30, 2018, 03:10:40 pm »
Listening to music through earbuds whilst cycling - who does it?


So far I've done 2 x 400km Audaxes on my own with no music and it's very boring so I was thinking of giving music a go to lighten the boredom.

So who else listens to music whilst cycling? (I'm assuming just the one earbud in so you can listen for traffic?)

I cycle thousands of kilometers per year with headphones on. I prefer the over the ear neckband style. Tho google suggests this design is going out of style... I can still hear traffic just fine, even while listening to music/podcasts.

All arguments about listening for traffic are IMHO, bollocks.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #44 on: November 30, 2018, 03:24:45 pm »
One thing I can't hear so well with earbuds in is the full glory of a dawn chorus

In a similar vein, I sometimes like listening to the owls when riding at night.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #45 on: November 30, 2018, 03:28:28 pm »
I just haven't had the experience of having had to avoid a collision from behind by diving off to the left. Maybe that's to come...

That's what I was wondering.  Sure, you check behind before coming to a stop, but if you're just trundling along then either:

a) They have plenty of room for a sensible overtake, so it doesn't matter whether you know they're there
b) They haven't seen you / don't care about your life or their paintwork, and are going to drive into you unless you get out of the way first
c) They don't have room to overtake, so have to wait behind you, with varying degrees of impatience
d) There's room for a dangerous overtake, which you might hope to convert into scenario (a) or (c) by changing your road position

So far I've never experienced (b).  I'd argue that scenario (d) can be preempted into (c) by riding in a sufficiently assertive position, unless you're required to keep left by the presence of debris, potholes, etc.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #46 on: November 30, 2018, 03:38:34 pm »
...and equally limited options available to do anything useful with the information.

When there are no cars around I tend to use the full width of the road (or at least not stick to the gutter). When I know there's a car behind me I try to keep left if it's safe to do so and it leaves a sensible width for overtaking.

Who *doesn't* do this?

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #47 on: November 30, 2018, 03:44:57 pm »
Deaf people are allowed to drive, aren't they?

Yes.  (Although I think some US states put "must use hearing aid" restrictions on their licences).  I vaguely recall that they have slightly fewer collisions than hearing people.
It was a rhetorical question. Which doesn't necessarily mean it's not worth answering.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #48 on: November 30, 2018, 03:47:36 pm »
When there are no cars around I tend to use the full width of the road (or at least not stick to the gutter). When I know there's a car behind me I try to keep left if it's safe to do so and it leaves a sensible width for overtaking.

Who *doesn't* do this?

Me.

I take primary position regardless. If there's a car there, & it's not safe for it to over take if I am in primary, it's not safe for it to over take if I'min the gutter. If there is no car, it doesn't matter. I have as much right to be on the road as any other vehicle. I'll take the lane and defend it.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Cycling with earbuds
« Reply #49 on: November 30, 2018, 03:54:57 pm »
Which works really well

...until the day that it doesn't.