Riding a bike should be fun, so many riders take their favorite music with them on the road. After all, it’s so great to ride your favorite bike to a rhythmic tune. But at the same time headphones for biking impede a full assessment of the surroundings. With headphones, the cyclist is unlikely to hear the signal of an approaching car or other vehicle.
So let’s sort it out together, is it okay to use headphones while cycling? And if so, which model is considered safe.
Is it necessary to use headphones while riding a bicycle: pros and cons
As experienced drivers say, the rules of the road are written in blood. Unfortunately, there is no way to refute this. Statistically, there are about 600 accidents involving bicyclists per year. It makes no sense to sort out who was right and who was wrong. However, as life’s practice shows, cycling with headphones on is not very safe. This also applies to runners, who also like to exercise to music.
To be fair, we note that in some countries there are bans on the use of headsets while riding on any vehicle. We are divided on this issue – the rights and responsibilities of cyclists are not respected by everyone. Many would agree that using headphones on the road is generally unsafe:
- headphones don’t allow you to fully immerse yourself in the traffic situation on the street;
- you can not hear a barking dog, a car horn or a screaming child, which is fraught with the risk of an accident;
- There is an opinion that frequent use of headphones affects the sensitivity of the hearing organs;
- Often cyclists make their headphones as loud as possible to drown out the sounds of the city – systematic “noise pollution” can lead to hearing loss.
At the same time, people involved in cycling, argue that there is nothing wrong with using headphones. Now manufacturers produce absolutely safe headsets adapted to the needs of cyclists. Accordingly, such headphones are made with all the nuances in mind, that is, they allow you to hear the signal sounds, but at the same time dampen the overall background.
Types of headphones
Today, with the huge number of proposals on the market to choose a good headset for training is not so easy. Some headphones constantly fall out of your ear, the wire is always tangled in others, some do not provide a good sound transmission, and the fourth issue something like a metal rattle, where there should be clearly audible drums.
Of course, everyone chooses sports headphones according to certain criteria. Take into account the anatomical structure of the auricle, the peculiarities of cycling or specific activities. An important factor is, of course, the price – good professional headphones, adapted for athletes, are not cheap.
Headsets can be divided into several types:
- Overhead. Based on the name, you can understand that the headphones are applied directly to the auricle. Fastening is carried out by means of a special arc. Not the most popular type of headset among cyclists, but the safest. The headphones are not very tightly held on the head, which gives a certain discomfort while riding. In addition, the device does not provide complete sound isolation, that is, the cyclist hears the sounds and the street and music at the same time.
- Inserts. They are also called “earmolds”. Headphones look like small buttons, which are simply inserted into the ear, thus partially blocking the sounds of the city.
- In-ear headphones. Or “earplugs.” The headphones are inserted directly inside the ear canal. In-canal headsets are the most dangerous for cyclists. Devices of such a plan almost completely block out the sounds coming from the outside. Therefore, with such a headset, the cyclist may not hear the sound of an approaching car.
- Full-size. A serious headset that fully envelops the ear with soft ear cushions. Such headphones partially overlap the sounds of the streets, but at the same time provide a good transmission of music. The minus of such models is the discomfort of wearing them. Full-size headphones are more suitable for use in the home.
Especially for cyclists have created a helmet integrated with headphones. Its design implies protection of the head with the possibility of listening to music. The product of such a plan does not dampen the street noise, but at the same time allows you to enjoy cycling.
Headset for athletes can be classified according to the type of sound source.
Types of sound emission source
Depending on this factor, there are the following types of headphones:
- Dynamic. The most common category of budget headset.
- Electrostatic. This type of device is characteristic of hi-end headsets. These headphones provide high quality transmitted sound with virtually no distortion.
- Isodynamic. Headphones with high power, transmitting high-quality audio material.
- Armature. Products are characterized by their compact size and high definition of sound transmission.
Most often the in-canal or plug-in headset is dynamic or armature. Overhead headphones have a dynamic sound source, while full-size headphones have dynamic, isodynamic and electrostatic.
Why reinvent the wheel, if everything has already been invented before you? We suggest you pay attention to the most suitable headphones for cyclists:
- Samsung IconX. This model does not dare to call just “headphones”. It is a multifunctional headset with a built-in player that provides surround sound. The main features are: a built-in player with up to 3.5 GB of memory (can be used without a smartphone), records the distance covered on the bike, determines the current speed, remembers the time spent on the ride, measures heart rate, as well as keeps track of the calories burned. The recorded data are sent to a special application adapted for Android. Hence the only disadvantage – the headset can only work on this OS. But in general, this model can partially replace a full-fledged bicycle computer.
- Bragi HeadPhones. Unlike the previous product, Bragi headphones sync perfectly with other devices running on both Android and other OS. The headphones fit snugly on the earshell and do not fall off while running or cycling. The headset is equipped with a microphone, which allows the cyclist to hear the sounds around him. However, the available features allow you to completely remove extraneous noise. A full charge lasts for up to 6 hours of continuous use.
- RunPhones. An excellent choice for those who do not tolerate the limitations of movement. The headphones are made in the form of conventional headband, which hides quite high quality headphones in the performance. The product of such a plan does not constrain your movements, is well kept on the head and allows you to do sports to your favorite tunes. Headset is designed so that you can hear the sounds around you. Headphones can be easily removed from the headband, making the textile part of the headset easy to wash.
- Aftershokz. A great model for cyclists. The device features bone conduction of sound – the signal is transformed into vibration, which is transmitted immediately to the inner ear. The outer ear is not involved. The fact that the auricle remains open means that the cyclist can hear the noises around him perfectly.
Livall has released an original solution to the problem – a helmet with integrated headphones. Distinctive features of the headset with head protection:
- There’s a built-in walkie-talkie, which comes in handy for communicating during a group bike ride.
- There is a microphone that prevents gusts of wind from interfering with the conversation.
- There are turn indicators with LED backlighting.
- There is a built-in accelerometer that beeps if the cyclist falls. If you do not turn it off, it synchronizes with contacts in your phone and sends messages to pre-designated numbers.
Control of such a helmet is carried out with a special remote, coming with the kit, which for convenience can be attached to the handlebars of the bicycle.
As you can see, the problem is easy to solve with a high-quality headset. The main thing is to choose a product that will meet the stated requirements.
When choosing a particular headset, you should be guided by several factors:
- Type of physical activity. For example, for the gym, closed-type headphones are more suitable – as such, there is no danger around, and good sound insulation will provide high-quality sound transmission. For cycling, it is desirable to use an open-type headset, which will allow you to assess the situation going on around you.
- Portability. There are full-size headphones of foldable type – they will occupy more space than usual “earmuffs”. Here you should clearly understand how important the headset’s size is.
- Secure fit. No matter what sport you play, you want your headphones to fit snugly in place. Imagine what can happen if you hit a bump and the earphone falls out of your ear – sudden, hard braking doesn’t always end well.
- Material of the ear cushions. Ideally it should be soft silicon. Normal plastic or foam rubber will be uncomfortable after a while after intensive physical activity.
- Protection against moisture. When playing sports or riding a bicycle there is increased sweating. In addition, when riding a bike in bad weather, the headphones can also get wet because of rain. Therefore, when choosing a particular model, you should pay attention to its degree of protection from moisture. Usually the label “waterproof” or “water resistant” on the instructions indicates this.
- Pay attention to the wire. Its condition and degree of durability should not cause any doubts. Wires for models adapted for athletes should ideally have a Kevlar coating. To minimize the likelihood of catching the wire, headphones are equipped with a special clip that secures the headset to your clothing or belt.
- Bluetooth. Choosing wireless headphones, you should check the signal range. The optimal option – the phone or player is on the table, and the athlete at this time can safely engage in training on the simulator, freely moving around the gym.
- Convenience of switching songs. It’s good if the headset control is in the headphones. In this case, you can ride a bike and answer calls or control music as you go.
- Sound. Of course, you shouldn’t expect audiophile sound from sports headphones. They have an absolutely different task. Nevertheless you should pay attention to the sound quality.
Choosing a particular model, you should also evaluate their weight and appearance. Too bulky or too heavy headphones will make you feel uncomfortable, and that is not good for cycling.
How many accidents are caused by a cyclist using headphones?
There are no specific statistics on headphones. But bicyclists are very often involved in accidents. The most common causes are lack of visibility on the road, failure to comply with traffic laws, as well as trivial inattention.
Nevertheless, on bicycle and car forums you can often see angry messages against cyclists who ride around the city with headphones in their ears. To say that the frequent cause of accidents is precisely headphones, it is impossible. If you choose a good model correctly and exercise caution, the likelihood of accidents can be minimized.
Riding a bicycle can bring even more pleasure if the process is accompanied by pleasant music, rather than the noise of the city streets. In order not to create accidents on the road, but at the same time to ride with additional comfort, you should choose high-quality headphones, which will allow you to control the situation occurring around. In this case, cycling will be even more pleasant and comfortable.