Wheel alignment

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Who rides to music?

Time for one final teensy post before we depart for overseas next week........

Music....  I love music......

On the bicycle, music takes away the fatigue of a decent ride and also takes the mind off the inevitable chafing of the sensitive regions!

If  I'm in the 4x4 on my own, there's always music on.  Having said that, it's rarely on when Jennie's with me because a bollocking is likely on the grounds that it blocks meaningful wife to husband conversation.  Now I'd better be careful how I phrase this, even though I don't think Jennie or our daughter Victoria reads the blog.  Guys actually like not talking (apart from aforesaid music which is really like silence to us).  It doesn't mean we're brooding by not talking, we're probably just mulling over "guy stuff" and don't want the train of thought to be interrupted.  And really pushing my luck with the better half, the same reasons apply to why I resisted buying a bike intercom despite pressure from certain quarters but 'nuff said on that subject!

Anyway, back to music. It's nice in the 4x4 when driving solo as most times, I amble along at well under the speed limit and it helps time to pass.  It doesn't seem to be distracting because of the pedestrian pace.  If I'm driving Jennie's sports car on my own, it's normally at a pace that would earn a right earful if the "one careful lady owner" was alongside.  Playing music on these occasions is rare because the great exhaust note and the sound of the wind with the top down are both music enough.  Music also interferes with concentration when you're ahem... enthusiastically "pressing on" down a twisty road.

With motorcycles, there always seems to be more than enough to fill the senses in terms of concentration, listening to the bike and just plain 'ol enjoying the ride not to need any other stimulus.  Went for a 300 km ride early this morning and I was almost in sensory overload as it was.  Mind you, I rarely commuted to work by bike pre-retirement as it was only 10 minutes down the road. A bit of music might be a different on a slow daily commute. 

Now I'm certainly not inferring that listening to music on a bike is bad in terms of safety because I have no idea.  It's simply that I personally find it distracting. Maybe I'm easily distracted!

What are your thoughts?

Loud enough for ya?  (Acknowledgement Techblog website)


  1. I'm a recent convert to riding with music: http://banditrider.blogspot.com/2010/01/tunes.html
    I find that it relieves a bit of the boredom on long rides and if it gets too annoying I turn it off. Listening to it through the Zumo is great. I tried a 12v Boostaroo to increase the volume (be nice to have just a little bit more volume sometimes) but had issues with interference so have ditched that at the moment. Really should load up some more sounds for the Southern Cross...

  2. I've tried it a couple of times, but I find it detracts from the ride rather than making it more enjoyable. That and the hassle keeping earbuds in the ears and fussing with yet another wire - I have a disproportionate hate of wires hanging about. The road and the ride itself seem to be entertaining enough.

    Sometimes I sing while riding though...be glad you don't have to hear that! :)

  3. Hi Geoff,

    If that bike in the photo comes in Red I'll get one!!

    .....but as mentioned on my blog this week, for me while riding, music is generally on all the time, and I have a playlist full of "riding music" which is generally faster & louder songs and nothing that's too slow or quiet to put me to sleep.... When I first started riding a few years ago I had to consciously watch my speed when faster stuff was playing....

    For new roads and at times when greater concentration might be required I just lower the volume.....but for the rest of the time its always there.


  4. Well, I love music and I use always to have some music on, but when I ride/drive I try not to have it too loud for safety matters. I want to hear other noises around me, noises of approaching vehicles or their horns. I also love the sound of my the engine. But I tell you what, seeing that top most photo it reminds me on something. I love being able to easily communicate with the passenger on my bike (my wife mostly). Often I want to comment about the some fantastic scenery or to get her attention on something, and in regular way it's hard to do, except if you're at very low speed, everybody knows that. One day, a friend of mine told me he's got electronic communicator for helmets and I borrowed it for couple of times. Great stuff. I want to get one this year and I will write about it when I get it... maybe sooner. If you often ride with a passenger, u should try it... or u got one already? :)

  5. I don't like listening to music on the bike - no matter how long the trip. With a bit of wind noise inside my helmet, and a bit of engine noise outside, I find myself cocooned in a nice little bubble of thinking-space that's mine all mine. I sing to myself, play maths games in my head, write short stories and get ideas for novels - all while I am on the road - and I wouldn't want it any other way!

  6. I listen to music in one ear and plug the other, in compliance with CA state law. I love it. Music on a motorbike *is* where it's at!

  7. Geoff; I love my music also, in the car, walking with the ipod, on at home and my collection is very ecletic. On the bike, NO NO NO Never, I need to concentrate, this is the very reason why I also did not get bike to bike intercoms. Besides what would we talk about once we stop?
    THe last thing I need when entering a beautiful left hander with the bike crank over is "oh look ........ a nice tree!

  8. I'm on the no music while riding camp, at least so far. I tried it once but it was difficult to hear the music, it made it more difficult to hear what was going on around me and it just didn't seem to add anything to the "riding experience."

    But then again, the only time I even listen to music while driving is on long road trips when there is no other conversation going on.


  9. Andrew:
    you get bored on long rides? I've never got bored on a bike, even on a trip to pick up a bottle of milk from the local store! As for the Southern Cross, anticipating those long, dreadful gravel stretches was sufficient to keep me alert! Glad one of them is now sealed.

    I hate wires too. Was always accidentally disconnecting or snapping my radar detector helmet wire and it eventually drove me to a wireless system.

    Know what you mean about "riding music". I think that half the cops on the Peninsula would be after me if I played Mark Knopfler's "Speedway at Nazareth" whilst on the bike!!

    You must have missed that I've resisted past efforts to get me to buy a comms kit! I love my wife to bits but no way will I have her chattering in my ear at inopportune moments. Raftnn summed that up nicely!

    Very neatly summed up. I think I could have easily been a monk with a vow of silence in an alternate life. Thinking is good - true Zen space!

    Maybe on the freeways of California, but not in NZ where 90% of the roads are twisty and a biker's dream. Thanks for dropping by!

    It's no surprise from all our discussions that we have similar thought processes!

    Yup! Riding is one of the few times when we aren't distracted by all the peripheral stuff which life throws at us and "riding experience" is a precious commodity to be savoured. As I said in the post though, I'm not being sanctimonious about it and if people enjoy music, that's great.

  10. If the bike is ridden correctly it makes it's own music.
    As an aside, I was crossing Tuam St in Christchurch yesterday to get lunch at the hospital cafe when I noticed everyone stopped what the were doing.I checked the time and realised it was 12:51 and the nation was observing 2 minutes silence for the casualties of the earthquake exactly one week previously.
    The only sound to be heard was a Street Triple travelling slowly up Tuam St.

  11. Thanks for dropping by Paul! I was in Whitianga getting some lunch and you could have heard a pin drop. Both very moving and eerie. It really shows that NZ is a big family both in times of celebration and crisis.

  12. I'm with Bluekat, I think I would find it too distracting. I have never tried listening to music on the bike but I like to be hyper aware of my surroundings and I think I might zone out to music or not hear the bike properly or an emergency siren. But it is is fun to sing in the helmet, intercoms are good for that too.

    When in the car the music is usually louder when I am by myself than with Troubadour. When we are in the car together we usually have no music on or music very low. It isn't that we are talking and need the music off, just that we also enjoy the silence.

    Sometimes when people travel with us they think we are mad at each other, not so, we are just capable of going half an hour or longer without even saying a word.

    I think it all depends on the mood. Have a great vacation/holiday.

  13. I like music, and I use my ipod in the car and on walks but NEVER on the bike. Too distracting! I rather pay attention to the traffic noises around me.

    In our car we have a rule: the driver pics the music. Hubby loves music, well actually he is kind of a music buff. I love being chauffeured hence the least I can do is accepting his eclectic taste in acoustic entertainment. Not much talk ongoing, and necessary, we understand each other without words ;-)

  14. I love my music and I listen to it 95% of the time I am on the bike. I find that it keeps me alert and awake. I can't imagine riding for very long with out it.

  15. Trobairitz and Sonja:
    We're all alike in that long,comfortable silences are ok! Love the idea of the driver picking the music although I could foresee bloodshed (or at least no music in some circumstances! We have a reasonable middle ground with Simon and Garfunkel, Queen, Beatles, Mark Knopfler, Mike Batt and so on but we're poles apart on lots of stuff. Which is why I need some new stereo headphones for home as I love to listen to music and read without upsetting whatever Jennie is doing!

    You must have much better concentration than me!

  16. Wow. My husband is the one that insisted on bike to bike communications. But then again, I am not a chatterbox. We mostly ride without music. Sometimes I just don't want to talk with him and will put the music on. However, most of the time we are connected, but we just don't say anything. Same way in the cars. We usually drive without music together, but the music is on when we are alone.

    But...when I ride alone, sometimes I like music and sometimes I don't. I have slow and fast music depending on the mood. Fast music will tend to make me increase my speed. Slow music just keeps me calm. But most of it is just background noise to let my mind wander. :)

    Have a great trip!!


  17. I love listening to music while riding! It actually helps me concentrate and enjoy the ride.Each to their own but I wouldn't be without my I-pod and earphones. One of my mates likes it occasionally and my brother never does it. :)

  18. BeemerGirl, Stacy & Scotch Broth:
    It looks like music on the ride is pretty much skewed to guys - not at all sure why! I went on the 'net last night to look for any research and basically, there isn't any. One stupid article said that loud music might be distracting (duhhh...)but it's all down to a matter of preference and long may it be so. (The bias toward guys in favour of music is interesting, event though the sample size is statistically meaningless!)

  19. Hello Geoff

    Thanks for the post re the information on my blog. I have come across your blog and signed up as a follower. If you need any advice extra on the IAM stuff, let me know, only too willing to help. Have a look at my Youtube clips and see if there any that may help : http://www.youtube.com/user/advancedbiker

    All the best


    Catch me on Facebook and Twitter as well are you on them ?

    If you private e mail me I have some PDF on line you can have access to

  20. Music in my Ears

    I am a convert to music and have it on all the time. The only time it is interupted is when the Zumo 550 speaks to me to turn left or right. I have it on the Zumo, connected to my Autocom playing through custom ear plugs. Great for long journeys

  21. Hi Nigel - thanks for dropping by.

    If an advanced instructor with your background listens to music on a run, it can hardly be adverse! I still prefer to soak up everything which is going on though, especially as NZ has very few straight bits of road and no motorways in the true definition of them!

  22. I absolutely love music. I even play guitar. But no music on the bike for me. I tried it a few yrs back w an Ipod in my pocket and earbud under the helmet. Just didn't do it for me. Haven't ridden a fulldresser w a radio, but have my reservations.

    I've ridden 8hr trips without tunes with no complaints.


  23. Allen:
    Interesting point about a music source external to the helmet. A couple of years ago, I took part in a toy run in a local town. I was riding alongside a Goldwing who had Chuck Berry playing at full volume and that was fantastic in those circumstances!

  24. Geoff, yeah, I missed that part, sorry. Well, I am very concerned about safety when I ride, and I will definitely rethink those communicators. No, I don't like those "Look, nice tree" exclamations, it's so wrong. Surprisingly my wife is very quit while we ride, and I just thought it could be good to be able to hear it if it's something important, instead of giving sometimes confusing signs and yelling through helmet and wind noise. Finally, being safe and concentrated during the ride is most important. And as I said, I love the sound of engine and the wind. Regards to all!

  25. I'm in the no music while riding camp. There is just so much to take in already. Part of what I enjoy most about riding is listening to the wind, to the engine, and to the sounds in my surroundings.

  26. Thanks for the input Keith! I'm like you in enjoying the sounds and sights but certainly not dissing those who enjoy it.

  27. Geoff:

    I saw this post days ago and thought to myself that this old guy is going on vacation and hoping on a plane so no need to reply right away, and then I see you posting comments all over the blogosphere.

    I like to have a system to hear the traffic reports as I have been stuck on the Freeway before. It gives me a chance to change routes but the wires get in the way. I like the sound of the engine but on long rides it would be nice to hear some music but the problem is that there is no music between major cities due to our mountains and I dislike MP3's. I have a portable satelite radio I may activate for those long distance trips.

    Riding the Wet Coast

  28. 'ello Bob!

    Thanks to constant pressure from Management, we're all packed and still have a couple of days up our sleeve!

    Do you have that fancy traffic reporting system which is part of GPS software? Our Garmin Nuvi is so enabled, but there's a catch! There's no traffic reporting system in NZ other than local radio as outside the rush hours in Auckland, traffic problems aren't a big issue!

  29. Have to say I'm right into have some good tunes pumping through the Ipod on my daily trip in and out off Wellington and even on long solo rides but not when I'm riding in a group with a little pace on... :)

  30. Top o'the day to ye, Davey lad!
    Despite ALWAYS listening to the stereo in the car, it's simply something I've never done on the bike, being a latecomer to iPods :-).

    No wonder I've never seen you using your iPod as we always ride in a small group with a little pace on :-).


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