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Reply To: Music while you cycle

Juan Medium Moose, February 19, 2016 at 1:58 pm

I have very mixed feelings about music while riding.

I had never come across bicycle speakers like the ones you describe until my first RAGBRAI (2014). My immediate response was disdain and bitter loathing. The bigger and louder the speaker, the greater my indignancy. A few days into the ride, I caught up with the kind of rig that I had come to despise. A large speaker mounted behind the seat and aiming backward to leave a turgid wake of distorted sound behind the heedless rider. In this case, however, the music wasn’t too loud, it wasn’t distorted, it wasn’t beat-laden mass-produced “popular” music…it was actually something I liked (Richard Thompson). I had a painful moment of cognitive dissonance as I realized that I was actually enjoying listening. It turned out that the guy on the bike was really nice too.

So, I forced to admit to myself that what I really disliked so much was having to deal with other people’s “tastes” in music.

What I most enjoy hearing on RAGBRAI is the chatter of the nearby riders, the sound of the breeze coming across to cornfields, the greetings of the local residents as we ride into town, and the owner’s stories when we stop at a farm.

That said, here at home I do a lot of long rides alone on familiar trails, and it does get boring at times. I have been considering getting one of those bottle cage speakers, but it will need to be of high enough quality that I can hear it without turning up the volume too much. I don’t want to annoy or distract anyone around me. I also want to be able to pause it quickly when I’m approaching an intersection or any other situation that deserves better listening.

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