Join Us in July - Register Today!

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

Juan Medium Moose, March 5, 2016 at 4:00 pm

<H3>The Practical</H3>

: Some folks on this thread have recommended the Buckshot because it is loud enough to hear while you’re riding but not so loud that it annoys those around you (or so they say).

I Googlied the Buckshot, and found the “Outdoor Tech OT1351 Buckshot Pro“, which seems to have most of the features you’re looking for. I don’t think it has an FM radio. Worth a look-see.

<H3>The Theoretical</H3>
The one piece of equipment that I most want to keep charged while I’m riding is my ‘phone. I bought an extra-big battery for the ‘phone itself, and a high capacity external battery as well. I had absolutely no problems running out of charge on RAGBRAI last year. The charter I use has a charging station, which helps.

I put both the ‘phone and the extra battery into a bag on my top bar. I have a separate display system (Wahoo RFLKT+), so I don’t need to see the ‘phone itself (or waste power on the phone’s display).

I also have a USB-rechargeable headlight.

So, in my case, if I ever decided I wanted a speaker on my bike, the baseline Buckshot would likely be my preference.


T. Gap Woo, March 5, 2016 at 8:24 pm

: T-Gap, I must share a stop about ten years ago on the ride.

Wow, what a great story! Please allow me a few reminiscences about my RAGBRAI experiences in the same vein.

I remember riding out of Council Bluffs in 2013. As I chugged up one of the “hills,” I noticed a long row of seniors in wheel chairs on the lawn of a nursing home. Those folks hooted, waved and hollered their encouragement as the parade passed by. That reaction inspired me to conquer that “hill” and continue on to the end town.

I rode into Hull in 2014. While waiting in the water line, I struck up a conversation with one of Hull’s senior citizens. We shared all manner of Hull jokes: going to Hull in a hand-basket; when Hull freezes over; to Hull with it; it’s a Hulluva town; etc. We laughed like a couple of kids. I’m sure this made his day, as it certainly made mine!

Last year, one of the pass through towns had a display of vintage automobiles. I walked my bike into the display area and honked away on my ooga horn. That elicited a brisk discussion of antique cars from one of that town’s seniors, who remembered quite a bit of information about those cars. We were, unfortunately, unable to reach a conclusion as to the type of vehicle my 1915 Lovell-McConnell hand klaxonet ooga horn came from.

Probably my fondest experience happened last year, while I was riding my last prep for RAGBRAI. I drove to a rail trail about 50 miles from home and parked the car at a township parking lot. While taking my Trek off the car rack, I noticed an elderly couple in their mid-to-late 80’s sitting on the porch across the street. He was whittling and she was knitting. We exchanged pleasantries while I was getting my act together. Before I rode off, I gave a few honks on my ooga horn. What a reaction that got! Their eyes lit up and their smiles were a mile wide! He said that his daddy’s car had a horn like that. He asked his wife if she remembered going courting in that car. I swear she blushed as she gave him a playful slap on the arm! They were still giggling like school kids as I rode off.

I look forward to making more of these memories this July. See you along the I-O-Way in a few short months.


Marla Shifflett, March 9, 2016 at 9:16 am

First of all, thank you for your concern about offending others. I guess I’ll chime in and say music on RAGBRAI does not bother me. (But, I suppose like others said, “F” Bombs would offend me.) I never listen to anyone’s music for very long, because they are usually riding much faster than I am. lol I still find plenty of time to ride along in the semi-quiet. As younger riders join the ride and choose to play a lot of Rap music, I might change my mind. lol


navychief01, March 9, 2016 at 10:51 am

I enjoyed the music last year-most of it. When someone was playing something I liked, I told them so, and in some cases rode and chatted with them for awhile. If I didn’t like it, I either rode faster than them or let them pass. I’m considering getting a modest speaker for this year’s ride. I think everyone needs to keep in mind that RAGBRAI is different than any other cycling event and the music is part of it. As long as it doesn’t impair safety I say play on.

On your left-I say it and appreciate when it is said. While I always assume someone is on my left (or right or too close behind), I think it’s helpful. Coupled with hand signals and having your head on a swivel, it makes for a safer ride. For those who are uncomfortable with having other riders close or shooting the gap, either avoid big rides like this or ride closer to your companion to avoid creating a lane that someone will think they can get through. And Ride Right. One poster was correct in saying that people like to drift left and then get upset when you pass on the right.


Randall Murphy, March 9, 2016 at 5:11 pm

I agree chief. Music is a part of the ride. It’s a double edged sword though as I’ll probably like most but not all. I’m ok with that.

I’ve taken to reply to “On your left” with “Thank you”.

Ride nice.


Michrider !!!, March 10, 2016 at 6:49 am

I don’t play music. However, I occasionally sing. I don’t sing well just loud! My singing is also a substitute for “on your left”. If I’m singing, you know I’m on your left!!! My song preference is a medley of my favorite Barry Manilow songs! You’re all lucky that I won’t be riding this year!!! RAGBRAI don’t care!!!


KenH, March 10, 2016 at 7:52 am

Self made music is welcome anytime, anywhere, during RAGBRAI!! SO much better than the canned stuff.


Gypsy Rose, March 10, 2016 at 6:45 pm

I would not recommend RAGBRAI for a rider seeking solitude. It’s a “noisy” ride, in a lot more ways than the music.

The music is part of the scene, and, as one of my favorite independent radio stations says in its tagline, “Some songs you’ll like, and some songs you won’t.”



thecyclingsloth, March 17, 2016 at 11:53 am

Buckshot’s on sale $19.95 can’t hardly pass that up.

Enter code BS19 at checkout if it doesn’t automatically do it for you.

One day only.


wnl256, March 23, 2016 at 7:38 pm

I can’t imagine RAGBRAI without the music! Keep playing it. I heard a wide variety of music last time I rode RAGBRAI, from classical to jazz to top 20 pop. But that was some years ago. I love hearing the variety so hopefully that hasn’t changed.

Keep playing the music. If someone doesn’t like it they can just pedal harder and pull away from it.


Willie Kelly, January 27, 2017 at 12:36 am

Hi there! Playing music while cycling is an amazing experience. I also enjoy my ride while playing music through headphones. My sister rides a cycle and play music through headphones such as were an amazing experience while cycling. And also it feels good and fresh.


Viewing 11 replies - 46 through 56 (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