Wear earbuds riding on the trail?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Wear earbuds riding on the trail?

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    • #181832

      Just curious how many people ride (even occasionally) with earbuds in? I haven’t worn earphones on the trail in years and even when I did, it was strictly on long, boring training rides.

      Looks like a new law in CA just outlawed biking with both earbuds in, though one is still ok.


    • #181834

      If I am riding with somebody I don’t listen to music. If I ride solo I will sometimes ride with one in. I don’t like riding with two, as I like to have one ear open on the trail. I don’t turn it up very loud, just enough to hear the music but not to drown out the other sounds around me. Almost like background music. Sometimes I don’t listen to anything when riding solo, really depends on the mode I am in.

      • #190500

        I agree with sgltrack

        Alone – Earbuds

        With buddies – No earbuds


    • #181835

      Nah, being in the woods is about being in the woods to me. I like loud rock music on the way to the trail, the sounds of my own heavy breathing and nature while on the trail, and then something chill after the trail. No ear buds here.

    • #181851

      Definitely depends on the ride. If I’m riding with people, no ear buds because wearing them is anti-social. I do wear them sometimes when I’m on solo rides, although the trail I’m riding will factor in to that decision. If it’s a busy trail like Blankets Creek, then no. But if it’s some secret squirrel in-town stuff, then I will.

      Also, like Jeff said, I do wear them on long training rides. Overall though, I probably wear them 10% of the time.

    • #181860

      I always listen to music while riding.  Usually I only have one in when I’m riding with someone.  If I ride by myself I sometimes have both in, but the volume is turned way down so I can still here stuff around me.  With the trials I’m on ,  horses are generally present and the last thing I want to do is startle one of them.

    • #181866

      I tend to bring music with me but i dont always use it. I guess it depends on the mood im in.

    • #181869

      I have never worn them. Once in the Bear Lodge Mountains of Wyoming, I was barreling down a descent in a really, really thick forest. As I came around a blind corner, I soon halted to a complete stop about three feet from a backpacker. If I hadn’t heard the soft pinging of his pan against his eating utensils, I would have run right into him. That experience has kept me from ever wearing them. That said, I think wearing them on Milwaukee’s bike path the Oak Leaf Trail might be worth a try.

    • #182133

      Please don’t wear ear buds. I play music on my phone or Bluetooth speaker but only loud enough to enjoy safely. Too many things could go wrong if you can’t hear what’s going on around you.

    • #182225

      No, for two reasons:

      1.  I’m out there to enjoy the outdoors.  Cutting myself off from the sounds of the woods defeats the purpose.

      2.  Nothing irritates me more than approaching a hiker and announcing myself — to no response because the hiker is unable to hear me due to wearing earbuds.  I will not levy that disrespect against my fellow trail users.

    • #182227

      The Oak Leaf Trail is a paved trail wide enough for a car used for commutes. However unlikely, wearing earbuds on singletrack also could stop you from hearing danger.

    • #182228

      No earbuds here for those few savory hours out on my bike in the woods I want to be totally connected with my surrounding and don’t want to be listening to music I could have listened to on the drive to the trailhead or any other time I feel like it. For my motivation on the big climbs I use the birds chirping, the sounds of my breath, and the smell of the fresh air and trees around me

    • #182234

      I wear them on some fire road trails I ride that are a little dull. They are, however, very fast to dry out, so sometimes they are all I can ride. I never use them on more technical trails.

    • #182479

      Never have and don’t think I ever will. I agree with those who enjoy the sound of silence. Plus, it’s much more safer.

      Don’t even get me started on speakers. Not just a pet peeve but just plain disrespectful in my view.

    • #182480

      Hate earbuds on the trail or slope because the users are more likely to hit me.

    • #182481

      Nope. I agree with all points. I want to encapsulate myself in my surroundings. It’s a holistic experience.

      Secondly, it’s dangerous as hell to wear them if you can’t hear someone in front or behind and the occasional rustling before a deer pops out in front of you (had it happen a couple of times)

      And when riding with others who have had them in…not fun. Might as well ride solo.

    • #182483

      I wear one in, almost all the time. I live in a forest area and am well aware of the animals that may pop out. Solo rides as well as in groups I wear one as I am usually left behind, until they stop to wait. My music enhances my ride, the flow of some of the tunes, goes hand in hand with the flow of the trail or ride. Do you watch the mountain bike videos that have music attached to them. It enhances the videos, why not my ride. I am courtesy and more often than not, will turn off my music if we meet someone on the trail and stop to chat. I have never run into anyone because of an earbud in and my music is not so lod that I can not hear my surrounding area.

    • #182485

      I thought it was already illegal. It appears it only applied to ones that covered your ears.

      I like being able to hear if someone is behind me or coming up from the front. I do listen to music from my phone attached to my backpack strap sometimes (but at a low volume). Most of the time I’m with friends and want to be social so no music

      Unless your on a remote trail where you can see ahead of you for safety reasons I don’t think it would ever be wise to wear earbuds in both ears.

    • #182487

      I never ware them. Is just a matter of time before you end up hitting someone or something. You can also have someone hit you if you stop and can’t hear what is around you. The whole experience of trail riding is to see AND HEAR what is around you. Why drowned out nature, if you need all that noise stay home and ride your trainer. I have run over a opossum, raccoon, rabbit, snakes, and one bird. You might be next!

    • #182589

      I wear a headphone in one ear on trails that are either one-way or not very crowded.  This seems to be a popular option to balance safety with the inspiration that music adds to the ride.  And now its going to be popular in CA.  Here’s my million dollar idea:  Bring to market a headphone that sends a stereo signal to just one ear.  I’m tired of hearing half the stereo mix.  Especially on Beatles songs.

    • #182633

      It depends on where I’m riding and who I’m riding with. I find that two things make me ride faster and get better: riding with better riders than me and/or with earbuds in. When I’m by myself on local trails or long and slow ones, I have music in one ear. When I’m riding in a group, I usually scrap the music.

    • #182693

      I don’t wear ear buds as I feel very disconnected from riding. I do ride with a pair of headphones that sit in front of the ears on the cheek bones and use bone conductivity as well as sound.

      they don’t cover your ears so you can still hear what’s going on around you (great for commuting), and can also still hear someone else’s greeting on the trail. Shox something they are called, picked them up at duty free in Dubai airport for around $100 usd.

    • #184010

      I just got back from my morning ride… and I had to literally dab a foot for three people who had head phones in(GOING DOWNHILL) couldn’t hear my bell or my voice.  And this is a known place with crowds of hikers and bikers sharing trails so it seems like common sense to wear just one bud but people are so stupid.  Another thing, I rolled through the biggest pile of dog crap somewhere on the trail and it sprayed everywhere. People,  you don’t have to be extra considerate. lets just not be dicks,  and be safe. please pick after your dog and take out an ear.   I still had a good ride, you cant get me down , new mavic crossmax set had me stoked brah!!!!!

    • #184467

      I occasionally like to have some music on my rides.  When I do, I only wear one ear bud. I think completely blocking my hearing is just a bad idea. I want to hear the things going on around me. I get really frustrated when I come up behind someone and they can’t even hear me yelling to try and go around. We should all be aware of our surroundings.

    • #184560

      NO!  My wife wears them when running and I always discourage her from doing it.  Obviously she ignores me!  I personally think you need to be aware of your surroundings, bike or any other sport.

    • #184691

      I can not have ear buds in my ears at all. It makes me throw up. That being said, I could not imagine wearing them on the trail. I would be afraid that they would rip out of my ear getting caught on branches etc. along with what everyone else has mentioned above.

      I also don’t want to be one of the people I hate to encounter on the paved trails that ride/run/walk along oblivious to the world with their buds/phones on. The ones that give you a dirty look as you pass them too close b/c they were all over the lane moving erratically etc. I like to keep my pedal cadence consistent, but I do it with certain songs just going through my head

    • #186141

      I don’t wear earbuds on the trail. As people have said I am outside to enjoy the woods.

    • #186169

      I occasionally use a Bluetooth speaker that mounts to my handlebars for longer boring training rides.  Great for gravel grinding.

    • #186324

      There’s been a few times riding singletrack where I’ve come up on people with earbuds in both ears.  It’s definitely something that makes me pretty feel pretty punchy/stabby.

    • #186327

      Safety issues aside, folks who ride with music/earbuds should really try just completely logging off and enjoying the ride no matter how boring they think it is. I used to ride religiously with music until my buds pooped out on me. I couldn’t care less on the downhill, but missed them on long fire road climbs. That was until I just got used to riding without music and now I never think twice about not having tunes. Call it a purist attitude, but there’s something to be said about having a 2-3 hour window each week (about as much as I ride) without being plugged in. That said, I’m totally jazzing it up in the car on the way to and from the trailhead.

    • #186355

      That said, I’m totally jazzing it up in the car on the way to and from the trailhead.

      Like smooth-jazzing it up? Listen to some Kenny G to get you pumped!

    • #187062

      i tried this once and when i went to take my full face helmet off it yanked the wire out of my head phones and ruined them. needless to say have never even considered doing it again

    • #189566

      I wore ear buds one time on my bike and almost ended up getting hit because I could not hear the person coming up behind me. When I want to hear music now I have my phone playing in my bag. I only listen to music when I have been to the same trail many times which is about 5% of my rides.

    • #189577

      The last couple of months I have quit wearing them completely and don’t miss them. I use to wear one in but not both… now I just don’t wear them at all. I got into MTB to be outdoors in the woods doing something exciting, and to get away. I use to never wear them at all, but for whatever reason started doing so the last couple of years. Now that I have gone away from them, I doubt I will ever go back.

      To be honest, I think I ride better.. I think I react quicker and more in tune with how my bike is handling and performing.. Probably because my sole concentration is just on the trail and not something being jammed in my ear. Or may be that is just what I am telling myself…. 🙂

    • #189667

      I ride mostly on neighborhood and city streets and intracity paved walk and bike paths. Depending on the time and day of the week, bike paths can be quite busy or completely empty. I wear  Sony MDR-AS200/PNK Active Sports Headphones which fit parallel to the ear canal. If I don’t turn them up too load I can still her most of the traffic noise around me, and people talking as I pass them. Yet I do worry about not knowing about what I am not hearing. So far I have not had any scary surprises.

    • #189808

      Never wear them and never will, love just being in the woods.  Also hate that disconnected feeling you get.  I even try to discourage my wife from wearing them when she goes out running.  Nowadays it pays to be aware of cars, people texting, and potential threats out there.

    • #189858

      It depends.  Alone, more than likely.  Depends on the mood and setting.  During dirt jumping, always.  Freeride almost always.  With the guys, loud enough to hear.  Basically, if others are around or the parking lot had others out, then just enough to have background music.  If I don’t want music, then it’s all nature for me.

      I’ve thought about a bluetooth speaker to put in the sack, need durability and play time.  Any input on that?


    • #190212

      I like to wear them while on the street when I’m by myself, but I like to enjoy nature and be aware of my surroundings on the trail.

    • #190215

      Never!  I am with many who mentioned getting out in the woods, for me that is the whole point!  The quiet and just the trail, my bike and me.  The noise and rat race are around me the the other 95% of the time and that is already way too much!  The phone even gets turned off so I don’t hear calls or texts!

    • #190219

      If you want some music when riding, why not buy a speaker? I have a compact bluetooth speaker with me when riding. You guys can check it out if you want. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DBW2ZZQ


    • #190442

      I’ve never worn ear buds. I’m not even going to try em. I’ve ridden upon oblivious hikers/bikers and it’s very annoying.

      I enjoy listening to the woods, the trail, my tires on the dirt, and my rear hub. I want the entire experience. 

    • #190848

      Not every ride I take music with me. Of course, when in group, no earbuds. And when riding remote bear populated areas always keep my senses on alert (lesson learned the hard way). Otherwise, why not?! Especially on long rides good music helps.

    • #191145

      I wear headphones not earbuds, on less technical trails when I ride alone. I keep the volume low and try to check behind me often. I would say 70% of joggers I come up behind have earbuds in and have no idea I am behind them. no worries just take it easy. the music helps drown out the other voices in my head.

    • #191146

      Why would you isolate yourself from the world like that when you’re riding? Surely immersion in the now and embracing the experience is one of the reasons we all go riding.

    • #191151

      In my opinion, earbuds on the trail is a no-no, mostly for safety reasons. You’re completely oblivious to anything outside your field of vision, including oncoming cyclists. Just had one rider collide head on with another on my favorite piece of trail, and they weren’t even wearing earbuds. Broken ribs, punctured lung, and a nice stay in the hospital. The hazard is real.

      Furthermore, a cyclist with earbuds creates a terribly frustrating and hazardous obstacle to pass.

      Being on a bike in public requires operator awareness and vigilance. I’m open to another view on this, but I currently just don’t see how earbuds can be considered acceptable while operating one.

      Hikers/runners should also maintain awareness when on shared use trails. Sat behind a “stroller” just the other day for 30 seconds, wearing earbuds, had no idea I was behind him waiting.

    • #191303

      long boring rides, yes. Specially open, grassy trails where I have clear sight lines. But within treelines with  hikers, runners and wildlife to lookout for, no.

    • #239711

      Would not be able go ride with earbuds in. I like the sound of my tires and hubs and chain rattle, the birds the squirrels rustling off the side, hearing another rider saying they need to pass. I remember being towards the top of a long climb. Lungs heaving, in my lowest gear struggling to get to the top. Behind me, out of what seemed like nowhere, a man charging up the hill behind me with a HUGE backpack playing what can be best described as techno bing-bong music. Came out of nowhere and scared the hell out of me. After he passed I couldn’t believe that somebody would play music on a loud speaker on a public MTB trail. I consider it rude to do that. The only thing less rude is a hipster trying to make it up a climb with two earbuds in and is hat turned backwards in front of your while your trying to pass him and thinking he heard you (not realizing that his earbuds were in) wind up buzzing his tire thinking he’s about to let letting you pass, both crashing and ruining your STRAVA TIME!!! Just kidding, Im not that crazy about my strava but you need to be aware at all times on the trail. Earbuds tends to hinder that, just like being distracted when your driving.

    • #239801

      Most of you take yourselves waaaaay too seriously. It’s almost like there’s a competition for who can be the most caring, considerate mountain biker. Recognize that many people out in the woods are there to do it their own way, maybe that includes wearing earbuds and not hearing your bell. They’re not being inconsiderate, just doing their own thing.

      Just one opinion from a dude who like to hike, mtb, and even *shock* ride one of those noisy internal combustion 2-wheeled bicycles that destroy trails, ruin it for everyone, and kill unicorns.

      Also, no, I don’t wear them. Never liked them during any form of exercise, even weight training.

      • #241971

        If you are the fastest dude on the trail, feel free to wear earbuds.  Otherwise, you end up being a road block that is impossible to move because you have no idea about anybody coming up behind you.     Don’t be that guy that drives 45mph in the fast lane on the interstate and refuses to switch lanes.

    • #241967

      Always!  Need to keep yourself pumped!  “Breaking Benjamin”, “Volbeat”, “Disturbed”, etc. etc.  But all the trails I ride in Michigan are 1 way MTB dedicated.  Once in a blue moon a runner will be on them, but they know it is for MTBing and they are taking there lives into their own hands.

    • #241979

      Riding alone, I listen to music. I keep the volume low and the earbuds aren’t all the way in, so I am able to hear other bikes (and hikers and trail runners) around me with no issues. When I hike, I don’t listen to music because I want to have the full ‘woods experience’, but when I’m riding, it’s all about the ride and I’ve found the right music enhances the experience.

      I have two ride playlists on Spotify which I’m always adding to – ‘flow’ which consists mostly of up-tempo rock with a lot of soaring guitar solos (Van Halen, Steve Vai, Phish, Pearl Jam, Allman Brothers, Coheed and Cambria all work well there) from the past few decades; and ‘shred’ which consists of metal ranging from the most extreme modern metal to the classics like Megadeth, Metallica, Maiden. It’s funny though…the volume is usually turned down to the point where all I really hear consistently is the rhythm and low end; only occasionally do I hear or notice the guitar.

      If I’m riding with people, it depends on who I’m riding with and how annoying they are. ;^)

    • #242021

      I wear them on solo, fire road climbs.

    • #242275

      No buds (electronic nor herbal ones during any bike ride or skiing).  Like to keep my wits up, ears clear to hear other riders, wildlife etc.                                Post-ride Buds (Cerveza of some variety and herbals)?  sometimes if there is no vehicle driving involved (though generally prefer edible forms & avoid combustibles and vapor).

    • #242280

      I work outside so I hear nature all the time. I use earbuds. I will leave one out so I can hear what around me.

    • #242282

      I wear earbuds when I workout, run and road cycle.  Whereas I would prefer to wear them when MTB’ing I never do.  And it’s not because I get passed (that rarely happens) it’s out of respect for other riders.  If you ride two-way singletrack you need to be tuned in to what’s going on around you.  Just sayin’….

    • #242413

      I use AfterShokz Trekz Titanium they use bone conduction and your ears are exposed. You can still hear your surroundings as long as you dont have them too loud.

    • #243335

      I use AfterShokz Trekz Titanium they use bone conduction and your ears are exposed. You can still hear your surroundings as long as you dont have them too loud.


      I’d never heard of these until reading your post. They definitely look interesting, if a little pricey, but that might be okay if….well, how do they sound?

      • #243470

        I always wear 2 BT earbuds when riding alone….. just works for me. In a group ride I’ll bring them but have them out until a long climb starts and I’ll throw them back in while I suffer…… at 210lbs, I need all the extra pump I can get.

        Get Off My Lawn

    • #243898

      Never ridden with earbuds. Has never really appealed to me or seemed very safe. But, if people like to do so, I don’t see it as problematic as long as they just use one and are aware of their surroundings.

      Pretty frustrating to come up behind a jogger who can’t hear you but is surprised and and angry when you pass them. Haven’t had the same problem with riders, though.

    • #244021

      The sound of drifting tires and varied grip is one of my favorites. Natural forest song is lovely as well. I also want to hear if someone is ahead of or behind me, so I skip earbuds while riding trails.

      On road, gravel, and any other ride I find boring, I almost always wear earbuds. Sometimes I listen to podcasts, or for interval workouts, techno or metal can feel pretty good.

      The only car I would need to hear, rather than see, will come from behind me. Since I don’t look back at cars that are coming to see if they are going to hit me, I am no safer with or without earbuds.

      Speakers on trails are frustrating for sure, but I try to use them as motivation to ride faster away from that person.

    • #244202

      I’ve been wearing the Aftershokz Trekz Air headphones.  They sit in front of your ears and supposedly conduct through your bones.  They sound good and do not block outside noises.  I love them, and at only $150 they are also a good deal being that they are a new technology.

    • #247803

      I don’t wear ear buds and often get stuck behind hikers, walkers, and such that can’t hear me call for “Pass” because their ears are plugged and look mad when you pass them when you do get a chance like you didnt give them any warning.

    • #247808

      I could tell you a story bout some schmuck with ear buds in and how we almost died,  but i ll save you the time.  Plain and simple, if youre riding with buds, then you should just be in the basement or gym riding a stationary bike.  Period, end.

    • #476264

      Frankly, the amazing sound of my bike rolling along is a symphony in and of itself. The Onyx hub is a key component of the  experience. These days, I prefer the ambient sounds that are inherent to the activity and environment.

      During the days of music on the trails, Grado RS-1’s, Grado headphone amp and a Creative Labs HDD based player was pretty awesome. Only used that setup in the backcountry where the next person around was miles away. Admittedly, wasn’t the best idea since bears and big cats call it their front and back yard. Sounded freakin great tho’. Times that have been and gone, long ago.

    • #476442

      I do not use earbuds or listen to music on the trails. It distracts me from my concentration. Plus, I will periodically stop and listen to nature.

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