Alternative to headphones/earbuds while bicycling?
July 7, 2011 10:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for ways to listen to music while bicycling that are safer than headphones/earbuds.

I sometimes commute to work by bicycle, and with the new bike I'm getting next week, I expect to be commuting a lot more (as well as shopping trips, etc.)

I am looking for a way to listen to music occasionally while I ride. I know that using headphones/earbuds while riding is not recommended. I had considered one of those single earbuds (that combines left/right sound into a single ear) but have heard that those aren't much safer.

Since my music is all on my Motorola Droid, which has its own small speaker, I was thinking that I could mount it to my handlebars and listen that way. The only device I could find was this mount but somehow it doesn't seem very secure, and I would probably be nervous that the Droid would fall out. Can anyone recommend any other mounts?

Or another option would be keeping my Droid someplace more secure (like a jacket pocket, or the little bag that I clip to my handlebars) and using some kind of speaker, maybe something I could clip to my shirt collar or wear around my neck. Does such a thing exist? I did some searches for "clip on speakers" but kept finding ones for laptops.

Or does anyone have any other ideas/suggestions? I am of course not expecting super high-quality sound, but just being able to have a little background music occasionally would be nice.
posted by LaurenIpsum to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
The Bone Fone! Perhaps not as dead tech as boingboing thinks, I have seen (but haven't been able to google) recent examples of this technology.
posted by zomg at 10:34 AM on July 7, 2011

You can also buy speakers to mount to your bike.
posted by empath at 10:35 AM on July 7, 2011

oh. duh. Here!
posted by zomg at 10:35 AM on July 7, 2011

Throw a Jawbone Jambox in your backpack and pair it with your phone via bluetooth. Or mount the thing to your bike with duct tape or a bungee cord. It's rubberized, tough, and LOUD (my friend has one and I'm very impressed).
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:40 AM on July 7, 2011

There's the iHome iH85B, an iPod speaker that fits into your water bottle cage. I don't have one, but I've found other iHome stuff to have a good amount of easy-to-use features, but not very durable.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:40 AM on July 7, 2011

My mother-in-law swears by the Tune Bug.
posted by klausman at 10:44 AM on July 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I bought some cheap $10 folding speakers from RadioShack and attach them to the top of my handlebar bike bag with velcro tape. My ipod goes in the side pocket of the bag.
posted by wherever, whatever at 11:00 AM on July 7, 2011

The Bose ear buds might work for you. Great sound, magnitudes better bass than I've heard in any other ear bud -- but the nature of their design makes them quite "open". So rather than jamming down into your ear canals (thus cutting out much extraneous noise), they sit outside and your ears tend to pick up what's going on around you in the real world.

I didn't keep mine precisely because they didn't cut out enough extraneous noise (frustrating as hell on noisy bus rides which is where I found myself using them the most).
posted by philip-random at 11:00 AM on July 7, 2011

Bone conduction (a la the bonephone mentioned above—I had a friend who had one of those back in the day) would be a good way to go, but the options are limited and AFAICT mostly expensive. I did some googling and most of the bone-conduction headsets I saw were designed for use with walkie-talkies or desk phones, it seemed.
posted by adamrice at 11:14 AM on July 7, 2011

The Droid supports A2DP so you can use a bluetooth bicycle mounted speaker such as the Cy-Fi Wireless Speaker.
posted by metaname at 11:23 AM on July 7, 2011

Hmm, this SoundShell looks like a fancy version of my DIY.
posted by wherever, whatever at 11:30 AM on July 7, 2011

I suggest that you get a nice pair of headphones (such as these) and wear them around your neck while riding. They provide some nice background music, aren't overly obtrusive to others, and can be put over your ears in just a second.
posted by masters2010 at 1:19 AM on July 8, 2011

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