What's with the new boom box trend?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum What's with the new boom box trend?


This topic contains 32 replies, has 30 voices, and was last updated by  Rob Juric 3 months ago.

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    Has anyone else noticed the trend of playing music out loud while riding? It’s like we have gone back to the 80s and people are blasting their music on the boom box for everyone to hear.  I know the ear buds have caused controversy but this loud music trend is put if control.  It still impairs the used from hearing other trail users while also forcing them to listen to whatever crappy song happens to be playing.

    Enough is enough! Stop with the noise pollution!


    I agree. When I ride trails I am looking for peace and quite. I want to hear nature not  hip hop or dance or some other crap music.


    I’ve started using a bluetooth speaker while riding – but only in the fall during hunting season….i figure there are very few deer that can play guitar like Hendrix or Van Halen so it cuts down on the hunters’ confusion. 😉


    I’ve noticed this too and was going to ask this community on whether or not it was good or bad. Some people have the volume level set so that it can only really be heard within their personal space, ie. not blasting throughout the entire forest. The biggest drawback is forcing your (shitty) music on other people and disturbing the peacefulness of nature and all that exists there. However, I always have music when I run and playing music while riding would make the experience much more enjoyable. At first thought it seems sensible to combine my favorite music (not shitty, I promise) with my favorite activity.

    Ear buds absolutely don’t work for me and I’d highly discourage ear bud use. I’d rather just not have music than use ear buds. That being said I guess the drawbacks of playing music aloud outweigh the benefits and maybe we should just keep music at home. I don’t know the right answer but I’d love to know what the community at large thinks about this.


    I haven’t heard them. Hope I never do. I don’t visit the woods to hear anyone else’s craptastic music. Get off my lawn.

    I took a philosophy class once. The professor was this crazy dude who always had a gin drinking look in his eyes, totally committed to squeezing every bit of experience that life had to offer. He told us we were foolish sheep who had no idea just how fragile our existence was, and eventually he left the university to go fly small airplanes for small paychecks. Oddly enough, so did I.

    Anyway, he was also an absolute nut in the gym, but he strongly discouraged listening to music during any sort of exercise, as it detracted from the life of the mind. He said, “the monkeys in your head won’t shut up for that, they will only get louder.”


    <p style=”text-align: left;”>I do this when I’m alone on a trail. I put my phone in the top of my backpack right behind my head. I always make sure it’s just barely loud enough for me to hear though, so that if I get going too fast even I barely hear it. I do get nervous about it, but I ride on off days and am usually alone out there.</p>
    I like hearing what my bike is doing too much to listen to any music loudly anyways.

    I agree with the get off my lawn statement though, anyone listening to music too loud is rude on the trail. I don’t want to hear anyone elses music, and it gets old getting glared at by people wearing headphones that you yelled at during your approach, who act like you snuck up on them.



    I’m probably the odd one here. When I rideI I wear one ear bud and keep the volume reasonable so that I can hear others coming. People always tell me one ear bud is strange… but it’s a way I’ve found to have music and safety.


    I transfered to MTB from road biking  about a year ago.  On the road, I would listen to music to keep my cadence.  I have headphones which are designed to allow external sounds.  I kept the volume low enough that I could hear approaching cars and have conversations.  I tried this on the trail, but mountain biking is so much more active.  My phones kept yanking out.  Also, the constant need to hear approaching cyclists and hikers meant that I wound up not listening to music.  The result?  My rides are not as intense and the exercise is not as good.  So, I’ve started playing music on my phone’s speaker which is in my pack near my head.  It is loud enough that I can hear it while climbing but quiet enough that I can hear things behind me.  I generally can’t hear it when descending.

    So, the other day a guy was listening to loud head-banging music with amplified speakers.  I could hear him coming for 15 minutes before I finally saw him.  Technically we were doing the same thing, listening to music in the open.  I was annoyed by this guy.  Am I annoying others?  I still don’t know.  Am I setting a bad precedent?  Is this the logical next step in the progression?  I am still looking for solutions.


    I inherently believe that people are garbage. Really stupid, self-absorbed, garbage. As such, we are glued to smart phones, driving SUV’s, blaring horrid 90’s mixes in the woods thru Chinese made bluetooth speakers bought off Amazon. My days of being a car-keying, mirror smashing instigator are mostly behind me so I generally ignore most. However, when I come upon some jackhole doing this on the trail I politely tell them that no matter awesome their awesome mix is and I’m sure it’s really awesome…NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR IT.

    That said, I listen to music during every ride. Headphones, earbuds or even one earbud in just pegs you as an idiot that will either not hear what’s going around you or at least someone that doesn’t mind their music sounding like shit. Instead get one of these. I’ve used a short bud stereo to mono earbud for over two years. You can hear everything around you on both sides as the speaker is ported, the sound is great and in stereo and NO ONE can hear what you are listening to. They are durable and cheap. I plug mine into a Nano that’s clipped to my bib beneath my jersey. I can easily turn the iPod on and off, adjust the volume and fast forward. You can also buy a Bluetooth receiver and link it to your phone if you want. No, I don’t work for them. However, I’ve been listening to music on rides since Walkmans were a thing and have learned every lesson in what not to do the hard way.


    I inherently believe that people are garbage. Really stupid, self-absorbed, garbage. As such, we are glued to smart phones, driving SUV’s, blaring horrid 90’s mixes in the woods


    Hey now, not everything from the 90’s is awful. 😉 AIC, Pearl Jam, STP, Soundgarden, Deftones are all wonderful IMO. While music is purely subjective, there were definitely a lot of great sounds to break through the cracks in the flood of awful music during the time.


    But I do agree with you on everything else. Also I don’t really do any riding with any kind of music. A distraction from the ride is counterproductive for why I’m on the ride on the first place. I save the sweet tunes for the car ride up to the trail head.



    “Hey now, not everything from the 90’s is awful. AIC, Pearl Jam, STP, Soundgarden, Deftones are all wonderful IMO. While music is purely subjective, there were definitely a lot of great sounds to break through the cracks in the flood of awful music during the time.

    But I do agree with you on everything else. Also I don’t really do any riding with any kind of music. A distraction from the ride is counterproductive for why I’m on the ride on the first place. I save the sweet tunes for the car ride up to the trail head.”

    I selected the 90’s to make my point as there is great nostalgia of late for those times (or maybe I’ve heard too much of it and hate nostalgia),  but the reality is, to quote myself with a notable addendum: ” NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR (any of) IT”. Believe me, I get it. The tunes I enjoy kick ass, but…no matter how great they are (they rule) out in the forest is not the place to share it with anyone.

    Case in point, my latest acquisitions are trio of hardcore offerings from Raleigh, NC. A Double Negative (blistering high speed dissonance hardcore) ep I did not already own, the debut from Davidians (3/4’s of Double Negative with a different guitarist, also insane sounding) and a Blackball ep (crushing downbeat, noisy hardcore ala early Discharge). I dig it it, but most will not and the way I enjoy it no else will have to.

    A final note regarding tunes in your vehicle. By all means get your rock, groove or whatever on, but please don’t be “that guy” at the trailhead parking lot blaring that stuff. See above rationale.


    Sometime I play music from my Iphone, so it’s not very loud but I can hear it fine. I usually only do this when I’m out on solo rides. If I use the ear buds, I alway only put one in, so I can still hear my surrounding. I guess if it was super loud that would be annoying to others.


    My 2 cents:

    I’m seeing (actually hearing) speakers more and more.  Most of the time it’s at cycling venues that are more extreme (lift parks, jump parks, etc.) and sometimes they trickle onto trails other than that.  I guess the busier the trail the more there are issues with riders; at our local trail systems we can have 50-100+ riders at a time of all sorts of demographics during popular times.  Many aren’t aware of mountain bike “rules” or “common courtesy” and trails get rutted in rain, people blare music, ride the wrong way, etc.  If you’re choosing to ride at a popular time on a popular system you take inherently more risks of everything, including behaviors you don’t agree with.  It’s the same with hikes on popular trails on weekends, road bikes, pick-up basketball, even driving motor vehicles, etc.  It is what it is.

    Now if I’m miles deep in a remote forest then I think the speaker is annoying AF.  But hopefully it only happens very seldom.

    As for my thoughts on music?  Busy trail, no music.  Not busy trail, i’m ok with ear buds but if I start seeing multiple people I usually take them out.  Speakers?  If there on low volume, that’s cool by me, my cassette hub is pretty loud too!



    Different strokes for different folks, I’d say. I seldom listen to music when I ride, but when I do, it’s through a variety of means like others here have mentioned. Sometimes it’s playing through my phone’s speaker, other times through headphones. I haven’t personally used a little bluetooth speaker on the trail yet, but I wouldn’t rule it out either.

    As long as you are being respectful to your fellow trail users (ASK if your music is bothering anyone, turn it down when approaching a group, keep it at a reasonable volume level) I don’t have an issue with it. Sadly, as Dr. Sweets pointed out, many people are totally oblivious to others.

    Maybe you have to listen to someone’s music you don’t like for a few seconds as they pass, big deal. Don’t let that ruin your ride or your day.


    Not a fan of boom boxes played loudly on the trail.  But people don’t seem to care about disturbing others anymore, on the trail or elsewhere for that matter.  Starting to sound like my father!


    I thrive on music, love it.  Been one of the few constants in my life for 45 years. My first concert: Ozzy with Randy Rhodes and Motorhead. Second concert: Van Halen…..and on and on………but having to ride with a bluetooth speaker……..yuk……I despise seeing other people when I ride much less hear them.  Part of riding is getting away from anything electronic.  I think when I was 16 we snuck a boom box in our golf bag a couple of times and a couple beers, but now-days, getting away from anything that uses electricity or batteries or  feeds me sound or text, is cherished!    I can’t imagine looking at the junipers, ponderosas, and red rocks and enjoying the vistas for a quick break in riding, only to hear in the distance the faint sounds of “enter sandman” or “baby got back” trailing off with or even worse, increasing in volume and coming my way….lol.


    So you’re telling me you’re not in the market for one of these?

    All kidding aside, it could just be me but hearing some tunes on the trail isn’t going to ruin my day. Generally my main goal is to enjoy the peace and quiet of the mountains… but I also try to be impervious enough to what’s going on around me that a little music won’t throw off my entire day.


    Hmm. I could care less. Probably only going to hear them for a few seconds anyway. Not enough to ruin my day. Then again, I have a wide tolerance of music genres. Also, I tend to try not to worry too much about how others are getting on unless it’s destructive or dangerous.

    On another note, I considered playing music on my phone just 2 days ago. Not for me, but because of the fact that there are grizzly bears in the area and I’d rather they hear me coming. Hopefully my music is just bad enough that they won’t hang around, but not so bad they’d eat me to save anyone else from the suffering.


    Shitty music is what one puts on their YouTube video, not on the trail.


    I’ve found this to be the best overall solution:

    It lets everyone know you are a trail boss-and to “move out the way!”  I also find it handy in blocking the way of any potential passing cyclist, thereby reinforcing the fact that you will always be the trail boss.  Furthermore, scarrying the shit of animals is a wonderful feeling. It’s more offensive than bear spray without the potential danger of any blowback.

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