Yesterday a friend posted the question commonly deputed on Facebook, "Ok, fellow mountain bikers please chime in. What's your opinion of riding with earphones on the trail?" There were many response, why you should go unplugged or just one ear or full symphony. But is the question really just about to ride with headphones or not? I say no, maybe it's about wanting to be alone and not in a pack, with friends, or have some strange guy come up and start chatting with you about who knows what. How many times have you seen some cyclists out riding together and they all have headphones on? Never unless they are a pro team and their all interconnected like the Borg. I think sometimes riders go plugged in on the bike to "check out" from the world. No talking, no listening, just hypnotic pedaling and music… or maybe no music, maybe they are just in and not on, just as a sign to keep people away… like repellent. Cycling can be a very social activity and also one that attracts introverts. Tell me how often you see another rider on a climb totally plugged in and you think of them as a"bubble rider", one who wishes to thinks they are all alone on the climb.
Do we (the unplugged cyclist) feel offended that this cyclist doesn't want to be social in an activity we consider to be social? Most of the comments on his Facebook page were in opposition of wearing headphones but why do we care if a rider is plugged in or not? Yes there are safety issues of being plugged in but are those safety concerns warrant of this must opposition… or is it resentment. I don't hear to many cyclists who DO wear headphones complaining about those who don't…. I'm not sure if I'm right here but I do think I'm on to something, what's your take?