… and not much of anything else.
I tried to introduce myself to a new rider on Saturday’s club ride, but he couldn’t hear me. He was wearing ear buds.
Lot of riders do, although relatively few on Stockton Bicycle Club rides. Our club kind of frowns upon the practice. Some very strong and competent riders that I know listen to music while riding. But in my opinion doing so is a terrible idea. It is bad enough on solo rides, but on group rides, where we regularly communicate with each other regarding traffic (“Car Back!”) or road debris, doing so can actually put the entire group in danger. Wearing head phones makes it harder to hear the riders behind you and beside you, and makes you less aware of their position. And the music makes it harder to detect cars overtaking you.
Some riders tell me that it is ok, since they only listen with one ear. But I would like to meet the person who can hear an approaching logging truck while riding into a 20 mph head wind with one ear dialed into classic rock. Suppose I missed Stoker’s request to stand up, or get a drink, or stop for a wardrobe adjustment because I was listening to the Queen of the Night hit those impossible high notes? That would not be good for tandem team harmony.
Really, is cycling not exciting enough? Avoiding cars and potholes and glass a little too boring? Trying to keep up with the bunch and not get dropped so mundane that you need some audio input into your brain?
The quiet, beautiful hum of a well-tuned and lubricated drive train, the smooth swish of tires rolling over the tarmac, and the gasping of my breathing as I watch riders disappear up the road; that is plenty of music for me.
I almost always refrain from suggesting riders remove their ear buds. I don’t want to upset anyone. But if you are reading this and you regularly listen to tunes or books or whatever while riding, at least consider not doing so when other riders are around. You might even get to hear someone introduce himself and perhaps make a new friend.