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Prodigal Son

Discussion in 'Road Cycling, Mountain Biking & Cyclocross' started by ILoco, Jul 15, 2015.

  1. ILoco

    ILoco Well-Known Member

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    It seems like some things never change around here (John's commitment to fitness in my 10+ years here). I however have fallen off the wagon several times. I'm back on the wagon however and just finished my first Sprint distance triathlon at Naval Station Mayport, FL (finished 4th in Clyde division).

    I'm relatively new to road bikes and just bought a Trek Domane 2.3 to compete in the tris. I was primarily a weightlifter and then runner having done some half marathons in the past. But now... now I'm hooked on the cycling and want to continue doing longer tris. Great to see all the roadies here and I'll be learning here with everyone else.

    Quick question though - do you ride with earbuds? It's definitely more pleasant, but definitely a safety issue so I have not been wearing them at all.
     
  2. John Stone

    John Stone Every day is Leg Day
    Staff Member Owner

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    When riding solo I almost always wear earbuds, but I never wear them in a group. Although technically illegal on Florida roads (one of only two states that completely disallows earbud use), I don't feel earbuds make riding any less safe in most situations. I can still hear things around me, and cars approaching from behind happens pretty much non-stop anyway. So it's not like hearing the cars a little sooner is going to change how I'm riding--I <em>always </em>assume a car is behind me. Besides, the wind noise is generally so loud that hearing is difficult anyway.

    If I'm on a particularly congested or busy road, I'll go ahead and pop the earbuds out. I would never have them in while doing city riding, for example (which I never do anyway).

    I always look behind me before making any kind of lane position change, such as taking the lane. Relying on hearing instead of a visual is dangerous, IMO; this is especially true these days with nearly silent electric and hybrid cars everywhere. Being able to look behind you while riding straight is an important skill to master.

    It's interesting that the vast majority of states are okay with earbuds, while only a tiny fraction are not. Are the two states that don't allow earbuds suggesting that deaf people, or people who are hard of hearing, should not be allowed to ride bikes on public roads? There are no laws against that, as far as I know, so the earbud law seems like a contradiction to me.

    So I don't feel that riding with earbuds is inherently unsafe, provided you have the bike handling skills, confidence and awareness to compensate for the partial loss of one of your senses.

    I know some riders who just don't feel right unless they can hear everything around them, so it really boils down to what you're most comfortable with.
     
  3. ILoco

    ILoco Well-Known Member

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    After posting this question, I started wearing earbuds in one ear while riding solo. I also always check visually for vehicles as I've gotten accustomed to that riding motorcycles. The strategy is the same - ride as if everyone in a vehicle is trying to kill you and you're invisible.

    I didn't realize it was illegal in Florida to wear earbuds while riding. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. The need for some tunes will keep me with at least one in (right side away from traffic flow). I think the much more prudent aspect of bicycling safety is lights on my bike. That's why I bought the taillight recommended on the blog and use it when riding.
     

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