RAGBRAI LI July 20 -27, 2024

Music while you cycle

I confess, my wife and I play music on a BigJam Box (quality sound) a good share of the route, not obnoxiously loud, but plenty loud for others to hear, usually up beat 80’s. After reading the survey results from last year, I was surprised to see how many people are opposed to hearing music along the route. Is this just the consensus of respondents of the survey or is it becoming the norm for RAGBRAIers. Not one to offend…

56 Replies

Jay Jelinek, February 25, 2016 at 3:38 pm

I use a buckshot speaker as well – and completely agree w/ jeffreydennis.
I can still hear what’s going on around me including my choice of tunes – and it’s not so loud as to be a distraction to anyone around me.
I think you can Ride on, play on and still play nice.


Nico ZZZ, February 26, 2016 at 2:50 pm

I use a Buckshot when training alone. Perfect volume and can still clearly hear all traffic noise (danger) around me. I brought it to Ragbrai, but only used it on Colombian Independence Day (July 20) to play vallenato. Met a few Colombian riders doing so, as they were shocked to hear vallenato in Iowa!


Randall Murphy, February 27, 2016 at 8:43 am

Bring your music and play it. Enjoy it. Enjoy the conversations that it spawns with fellow Colombians, with that older guy talking about jazz or whatever. The silly bike license plates are solely intended to strike up conversation so why can’t music do the same? It’s part of the ride. In general I don’t care for the trailer boom boxes because volume is usually valued more than quality but there is an Iowa Hawkeye that drags a boombox that I look forward to. He uses his music for good and not evil. Among other things, he often plays the Iowa fight song coming into town and it causes a quite a good natured ruckus. Makes me smile every time.

I think Ken is right on target with “ride nice”. Similarly with music we should “play nice”. If you’re not sure if you’re riding or playing nice, just remember, if you wake up in the morning and meet an ass… well he’s an ass. If you meet asses all day the ass is probably you.


dw, February 28, 2016 at 5:30 pm

If I’m two or three bike lengths away and I hear someone’s music, then fine. If I’m ten bike lengths away and I clearly hear the music, then why is this happening? Why would someone feel they need to broadcast their music to others? Sure, some people would enjoy other people’s music. But to others it’s an irritation. So why do it? Quietly playing your own localized music seems more considerate and reasonable.

That being said, I don’t believe any survey results or the potential of irritating some people with their music will influence the behavior of the riders with the loud music systems. And to a point, this is also reasonable. Most of the time it’s relatively easy to get out of hearing range by riding ahead or dropping back.


SRogers, February 28, 2016 at 9:06 pm

I ride with a sound system my bike. The volume is set so that if I am more than 6 – 8 feet away from the speakers I can not hear the music. With this level I can hear what is happening around me and carry on a conversation with anyone that wants to talk to me. I feel that having a sound system that can be heard 100 yards away (Have heard many this loud on the ride.) is dangerous to the riders around them because they can not hear what is going on around them.
Enjoy the ride and keep safe.


thecyclingsloth, February 28, 2016 at 9:37 pm

I too ride with a Buckshot, almost perfect at top volume, could use a notch or 2 more. But I have learned I just record my music a notch louder. Has worked perfectly over the years, and I have been caught in a couple RAGBRAI rainy days, but the speaker grill is rusting. Anyway, anyone have any experience with the Turtle Shell 2.0 for Outdoor Tech?


KenH, March 1, 2016 at 9:48 am

And here’s an entirely different way to get music while you ride:


If you have enough vacation time and want a slightly easier ride that would make excellent training for RAGBRAI it sounds like it could be worth taking in. Not in the cards for me anytime soon and curses on Pork Belly Ventures for featuring this in their most recent newsletter. Now they have me wondering just how many cross state rides there are and if it would be possible to ride them all during a season? ….

RAGBRAI will always be my favorite and I would not want to miss it for anything else but any rides that don’t run during RAGBRAI week could be something to add to the bucket list!


jwsknk, March 1, 2016 at 1:17 pm

I’ve registered for BIGBAM this year and know of 5 others that have too. Two of them did last year when it was a 5 day ride. Northern Missouri and southern Iowa rides will probably have a lot in common, hills and fewer towns than farther north.


thecyclingsloth, March 1, 2016 at 8:21 pm

I have a thread started under my old ID a couple pages back about Big Bam. Anyone ride Big BAM, Started by: TGIMerv.
Got a little feedback, was thinking about signing up. Seen it on Facebook, think it was an advertisement from Missouri Bicycle & Pedestrian Federation.
Anyway still looking for info, think last year was it’s inaugural ride.


Csprint, March 3, 2016 at 7:53 pm

I hadn’t thought I’d want or need something for music, but for kicks I got a basic handlebar sound system to hook into my phone for the ride last year. It turned out to be fun (even though the cheapo Sunlite player was a bit of a hassle). It was rewarding when I was playing The Replacements “Beer for Breakfast” on Thursday morning and a lady cheered when she heard that!


dalebob1, March 4, 2016 at 9:47 am

I rode BigBAM last year right up to the point where all the bridges were washed out. Kind of a sad ending to an otherwise very enjoyable ride. If the hills of northern Missouri and southern Iowa are anything alike then this RAGBRAI should be a breeze. The music was great as every town had at least one band or performer. Unfortunately, the organizers assumed the riders would follow the posted start times and scheduled the band times accordingly. Most of the riders who didn’t drop out after the first day would leave at dawn and were pulling into the overnight town about the time the first pass thru town band was just setting up. Most bands played to the same 20 folks like me who were there to ride at a leisurely pace and listen to the music. This year they have added a day and shortened the milage per day with the hope of changing that. I hope it works. I have never understood the mindset of racing to the overnight town when the pass-thru towns so often have music and hidden treasures to explore. To each his own I guess.


T. Gap Woo, March 5, 2016 at 10:22 am

Ride NICE! What a great concept!

Keep the music volume at a reasonable level and follow the “Ride Right” rules, for the sake of safety and courtesy.

Enjoy the hospitality of the fine folks of Iowa and all of the things that Iowa has to offer. Don’t be in such a rush that you miss the little things. Remember that RAGBRAI is a ride, not a race.

RAGBRAIers should strive to be ambassadors of goodwill. Take time to talk with the locals. Support the local charities as best as you can. Leave a good impression that will long be remembered after RAGBRAI leaves town. I can only speculate about the memories made by scores of youngsters who never saw RAGBRAI before and probably won’t see RAGBRAI again for many years, as they laughed and cheered at the old guy — me — who honked his ooga horn on the approach to the pass-through towns.

Have fun, use common sense and be courteous. You’ll enjoy RAGBRAI even more. See you along the I-O-Way in July.


Randall Murphy, March 5, 2016 at 11:55 am

T-Gap, I must share a stop about ten years ago on the ride. A good friend on the ride asked me to join him on one of his traditional stops one day. Every year he would stop at an old folks home to talk with the residents. We pulled in and it will be something I will always remember. They obviously don’t get out much and the ride going by was a special treat, seeing all of the crazies. We started to talk about the day; where we were going, etc. and one of the staff members yelled out, “NOW!”. All of the residents pulled out squirt guns and super soakers and hosed us down. We all laughed like hell. We never saw it coming. I hope the anticipation and enjoyment that they got out of it was equal to my suprise and the memories of the looks on their faces. We laughed and talked about it for miles and we still do. When I started riding RAGBRAI it was all about the challenge of the ride. Now it’s all about enjoying the people; both riders and our hosts. (And the pie).


trknight, March 5, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Safety is paramount….

Worst – Ear buds reduces one’s awareness of what is going on around them. Most, essentially, become “deaf”. At least deaf riders have a jersey or a sign advising others they are deaf and unable to hear.

Large boom boxes on a trailer with loud, distorted sound is incredibly annoying. Also, they create a safety hazard by reducing everyone’s, within ear shot, ability to hear what is happening around them. If you insist everyone should hear you, at least invest significant dollars in very high quality speakers and turn the volume down (you might be amazed that the better the speakers, the better the music, even at modest volumes) And, please, don’t assume everybody likes your play list.

Next in line are those with speakers mounted on the bicycle with significant volume. At the least, get good, high quality speakers or turn the volume down.

I don’t mind good quality speakers played at a volume that don’t intrude upon others much more than 10-20′ away.

You should always practice “defensive riding” (like defensive driving) and I can’t think of any ride more important to do so than on RAGBRAI.


Andrew Conquest, March 5, 2016 at 2:58 pm

I understand this thread is more about actually playing music, but I’m sort of curious about the utensils to do so. I’ve looked around for quite a while seeking an “all in one” device that can serve as a flashlight, speaker, and phone charger. I’ve only found two devices that can do this: the Trekstor 4 in 1 (which is no longer sold) and the Ivation Bike Beakon (which looks cheap). Are there any other recommended products out there? I guess I would be willing to split things up and buy multiple products(one speaker, one phone charge, and one light) if I have to. To be picky, it would be ideal for the speaker to be an FM radio (I don’t have unlimited data to play Spotify), and waterproof to withstand the rain. Thanks in advance.


Viewing 15 replies - 31 through 45 (of 56 total)

The forum ‘RAGBRAI XLIV – 2016’ is closed to new topics and replies.


RAGBRAI L – 2023




Gatherings & Meetings

Lost and Found


Clubs, Teams & Charters