Coffee Talk Tuesday - Wearing headphones, is it a matter of safety or resentment?

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?

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19 Comments

She can wear whatever she wants and that's just fine

If you like wearing head phones/ear plugs wear them, if you don't then don't, but the worst thing you can do is to impose your view on someone else. Telling someone else what to do (michael robson, the anti ear plug man) is really terrible. Keep your thoughts to yourself and enjoy your ride the way you like to enjoy it.

Maybe this girl should also be wearing a helmet, but who am I to say, I can only decide for myself, and she can do whatever makes her happy so long as it isn't damaging others.

Live and let live...

Headphones = Not safe

I appreciate the need or want to "disconnect" from the world, but it's just irresponsible in many circumstances. Crowded trails, paths, or roads are not the place to "check out" if you can't maintain awareness of your surroundings. Whether it's failing to hear an approaching car, a rider calling out, "on your left", or hearing the sound of a 75lb dog on an intercept course, at some point, people wearing earphones while riding WILL crash and most probably WILL be the one responsible for causing it.

None of your arguments have

None of your arguments have anything to do with headphones.

If a person can't maintain awareness of their surroundings they shouldn't be on a bike. It has nothing to do with headphones, and everything to do with that person being clueless.

At some point anybody who rides will crash and it will be their own fault. People crashed their bikes for decades before headphones even existed.

Amen...It's about the only

Amen...It's about the only way to make it through a ride like that. Not only that, but studies have shown that music actually improves athletic performance. Let's just forget that it is illegal in Colorado to ride a bike on a public roadway with headphones/earphones on.

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