Even the best earbuds for mountain biking can put your safety at risk. Well, I am not one of those people who are against the use of headphones.
In fact, I also love wearing them, especially while I am training in preparation for a cycling competition.
However, you should understand your responsibilities when you choose to wear headphones, particularly earbuds, for mountain biking.
1. Take Your Destination into Consideration
You should know the environment of your destination or the way to your destination. You must consider the climate, the humidity, and the level of the place of your journey to where you are going.
It is ideal to wear the earbuds where you can see everything around you and even the other riders within that place.
If there are blind spots or if you cannot see some areas around, it is better not to use the earbuds to avoid possible accidents and to hear the approaching riders.
One example of the place where using earbuds may seem not a good idea is a forest and a road.
2. Hearing Other People Can Become Challenging
If you are out cycling with someone, I think it is best to leave your earbuds at home. You need to talk to the people who you are with because that is the point of cycling out with someone.
If you are always ready to hear what other people want to say to you, you will never be ostracized. You can easily understand where your group is heading to, and you can easily hear their warnings just in case you are about to stumble on a dangerous situation.
Moreover, you do not want to annoy your comrades by letting them scream out their lungs so that you can hear them.
Do you think these people will feel motivated to cycle with you again if you are always isolating yourself because of the earplugs plugged in your ears?
If you want the best of both worlds, like being able to socialize and listen to the music at the same time, get yourself an open-ear headphone.
However, it does not guarantee that you can finally be attentive to what other people are saying because there is still music right there playing beside your ears, but compared to earplugs, it is the better option.
Getting an open-ear headphone is the least of my advice. That is only if you insist on wearing a headphone while you are cycling with somebody. It is still best to leave them at home and enjoy the company of the other cyclists.
3. You Must Know if You Are Allowed to Wear a Headphone
Let us face the fact that wearing a headphone while cycling makes you more prone to accidents. Therefore, you cannot blame the authorities for imposing laws or restrictions about wearing a headphone.
You should know your state’s position about the ban or restrictions of using a headphone while cycling. There are states that can only allow you to plug a headphone only in one ear.
There are states that totally ban the wearing of headphones while you are on the road (https://kassandmoses.com/bicycle/blog/cycling-headphones-legal).
You might say that you are a mountain cyclist; however, some people go through the road first before cycling on the mountains.
Additionally, wearing a headphone during a cycle sports event is a ground for disqualification. The board of a cycling sports event usually bans the headphone usage so that you can hear the other cyclists in the game.
Also, they want to make the environment of the sports event safer for the cyclists.
4. Headphones Can Definitely Affect Your Safety
In a study conducted involving 25 people by scientists from the University of Groningen, they found that the participants’ auditory signals got worse when they were listening to music. Those who were wearing two in-ear headphones missed the 68 percent of the auditory signals.
In addition to that, there is almost no difference on the effect of both the hands-free or handheld operation of phones on perception. Therefore, headphones can definitely be a threat to the cyclists’ safety.
On the positive side, they also found out that there were no negative effects to those who used only one earbud.
The in-ear headphones have a good passive noise cancellation feature compared to the other types of headphones.
If you are just sitting in a quiet place to have a picnic on a lazy Sunday while reading a book, the earbuds’ noise cancellation feature may be something that is ideal.
However, if you are cycling on the trails of an unknown place in a rocky mountain, the noise cancellation feature of the earbuds is the least you would prefer.
The noise cancellation feature prevents you from hearing the ambient noise, thus, making you unaware of your surroundings. Therefore, it is either you keep your one ear open to hear your surroundings or use the safer type of headphones.
5. As Much as Possible, Choose Wireless Earbuds
While on your ride, you might get caught up to the rhythm and beats of your music making you feel more energetic.
As a result, the wire from your headphone might tangle up on your bike’s handle, or you might accidentally pull it along with your phone, leaving it crushed by the tires of your bike.
This is the situation that you do not want to happen. Therefore, the wireless ones are the best earbuds for mountain biking. Choose earbuds powered by Bluetooth so that you can freely move your arms while biking.
Also, playing your music tracks will be easier because you can control them through the earbuds itself.
If you still insist on wearing wired earbuds, keep the cord hidden in your skirt to avoid the unpleasant events from happening.
Additionally, you have to make sure that your earbuds fit securely inside your ear because even though they are wireless, there is still a chance for them to fall out.
You do not want to bother yourself pushing the earbuds in your ear all the time as you cycle. Moreover, you do not want your wireless earbuds to fall on the ground and waste your time finding them.
6. Generally, Music Can Enhance Your Performance
Various cyclists have different opinions about whether is it acceptable to wear headphones while cycling or not. However, even though it seems like wearing an earphone is a controversial topic and some cyclists are against using it while cycling, there is still an upside to it.
For some cyclist, even I, love listening to my favorite tune while cycling my way on the mountains. I love the euphoric feeling of hearing the beat of my music while releasing the energy while cycling. It is my great way of motivation and escape.
I am not alone. A lot of my comrades love listening to their music too while cycling alone.
Moreover, evidence shows that listening to your favorite music or an upbeat tune can improve your performance. A doctor from Brunel University proves that music can enhance one’s performance just like a drug.
Your endurance may increase to up to 15 percent just by listening to your favorite music, and it also lowers that effort perception. The reason for this result is that it can trick the mind by making it feel like it is less tired while doing a strenuous workout.
A study conducted by Dr. Rachel Aldred and Dr. Katrina Jungnickel found out that listening to music can help in creating the sensory strategy. It is the term they used to describe the situation in which the cyclist is able to adjust to a hazardous environment by calming the sensory data overload.
7. The Earbuds Are Good Option for Blocking the Sound of the Wind
As a cyclist, the sound of the wind is the least that I want to hear. You know that its sound is deafening and irritating as you go along with your trails.
The earbuds alone cannot completely block the sound of the wind. However, it is the type of headphone that can work together along with the wind blockers. The wind blockers are the buffers that you attach on the straps of your helmet to shield the earbuds.
Personally, I am not against the use of earbuds while cycling. In fact, my earbuds are my best friends while I am in training. They keep me motivated, and they boost my performance.
I do not think it is wrong about wearing the earbuds or headphones per se as long as you know when and where to use them. There is also nothing wrong with wearing them if you are still aware of what is going on in your surroundings.
I do not use them while I am on the road, while I am cycling with my friends, or when I am in an unknown and strange place.
The bottom line is that even the best earbuds for mountain biking can be as dangerous as the ordinary ones if the user is not responsible enough to know the right time and place to wear them.
Your safety is in your hands as we from Ironhorsetrading says. All you have to do is to make sure that while you are on your trail, you are still capable of using all your senses.