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The thread on music and scooting got me thinking...

I don't listen to music while riding, and for the most part the riding alone has always been more than enough to keep me happy and focused.

But I have noticed lately that on my regular commute, about an hour long and fairly predictable, I have gotten so used to the route that my mind tends to wander a bit (a bit more than usual ) as thoughts about work or whatever intrude, and I find myself on auto-pilot. I find that a bit scary.

So I have considered getting some headphones to listen to some music, talk, news...something to keep my brain from going on idle without necessarily being distracted.

Any thoughts? Or, any ways that others deal with this?
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When I have done longer rides, my ride to work is only 15 mins or so, I have kept myself awake and alert by singing to myself. I haven't yet tried having music or radio play and I could easily as I have a headset in my helmet that can connect to my cellphone which has a radio. I'm not sure I'd want to have a radio or music playing as I think that would distract me. On the other hand, I know others here who ride while listening to music and they don't apparently have any issues with concentrating on the task at hand.
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Fuzzy ride
Since I started riding my scoot to work instead of my truck, I missed listening to the radio.
I bought some ear bud phones with the hook so the buds dont fall down ( I normally only use one ear bud) and now I can listen to Stephanie Miller in the morning (which some cagers around me might think Im weird cause start laughing out loud) , and NPR on the the way home.
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I find that either I get a song stuck in my head and sing to myself... or in my head.. or else I just thrash along to whatever the car next to me is blasting at the next stoplight.

Headphones under a helmet? I'm thinking it's a pretty bad concept. When I'm driving in my car I feel this odd desire to run over people on bicycles who ride with headphones on. Toreador Pants doesn't include an MP3 player.
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Menhir- Interesting insights.

Seems to happen and I can relate having done some long rides and battled with the mind wandering.

I always find that concentrating on my breathing and taking in the sights---allows me to refocus and "stay in the zone".

also keeping your eyes moving on things helps keep stay alert and prevent us from "zoning out".
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Sometimes I'll mix my commute up a little. I'll take different streets so that I'm looking at something new. If I'm not in a hurry, I'll take a side street rather than the major road I usually ride on.
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I sometimes listen to music while riding. I use the little earbud headphones and only do one ear. I don't do it if I'm riding early, before sunrise or after dark.
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Quote:
Headphones under a helmet?
OK, I could have worded that more carefully.

Earbuds, little teeny speakers, that sort of thing.
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It's a sign that you're very comfortable riding, then. It also means you're solidly in the danger zone.

I've reached the same kind of plateau, and I find my mind wandering off and thinking about other things. It frightens me as well, because I know I could easily become the statistic that David Hough was talking about -- I've been riding long enough that I'm no longer a danger to myself due to blatant incompetence, but I'm cocky enough about it that I'm not being hyper-vigilant about everything. In other words, still a danger to myself after all.

My choice is to make a conscious effort to be hyper-vigilant instead of thinking about other things. I hate being a statistic.
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jess wrote:
It's a sign that you're very comfortable riding, then. It also means you're solidly in the danger zone.

I've reached the same kind of plateau, and I find my mind wandering off and thinking about other things. It frightens me as well, because I know I could easily become the statistic that David Hough was talking about -- I've been riding long enough that I'm no longer a danger to myself due to blatant incompetence, but I'm cocky enough about it that I'm not being hyper-vigilant about everything. In other words, still a danger to myself after all.

My choice is to make a conscious effort to be hyper-vigilant instead of thinking about other things. I hate being a statistic.
+1

Oddly enough, I've found myself getting really complacent about the time I switched to a modular helmet from a 3/4. With the 3/4 I felt connected with the world zipping by....with the ff / modular I feel more detached from my surroundings. I definitely won't be going back to the 3/4 for obvious safety reasons, but like Jess said, I have to continually remind myself to be hyper-vigilant.

That said, I have been known to listen to my iPod occasionally while riding. If you go this route, I highly recommend getting a nice set of in-ear noise reduction earbuds. With regular buds, you have to crank up the music to compete with wind noise...it might not sound loud as your riding, but it's totally wrecking your hearing. The noise reduction buds cancel out a bit of the wind noise and allow you to listen to your music pretty much at the same volume as you would if you were just lounging around.

(A pair of Shure e2c's will set you back about $90 - $100 but are well worth it even if you're not using them while riding.)

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I wouldn't ride any vehicle (car, bike, scooter, rollerblades) with earphones on. Don't they partially block environmental noise (police, ambulance, people screaming "watch out!", tires screeching)? Nothing worse than being on a bike, trying to pass another bike, and saying "Passing on your left" to which the rider in front of you is completely oblivious because of their earphones.

Deaf people are allowed to drive, but they are much more attuned visually than hearing people are.

I'd be very careful.
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Raisin Hell wrote:
I'd be very careful.
I wouldn't. I know this isn't the politically correct thing to say.. safety and all, but I listen to my iPod 90% of the time or more. I am comfortable with it. My Etymotic ER6s block out as much noise as standard earplugs. I don't want to listen to "talk", just music. "I ride a Vespa motorscooter around having fun in the sun..." The only time it was a problem was when the cop was screaming through his loudspeaker for me to "PULL OVER". I did when I saw the lights blinking behind me!
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Quote:
" The only time it was a problem was when the cop was screaming through his loudspeaker for me to "PULL OVER"
I hate that.....

By the time they start screaming they're already sizing you up for a Rodney King moment.....

But I still wear the earbuds......

R

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Benito wrote:
When I have done longer rides, my ride to work is only 15 mins or so, I have kept myself awake and alert by singing to myself. I haven't yet tried having music or radio play and I could easily as I have a headset in my helmet that can connect to my cellphone which has a radio. I'm not sure I'd want to have a radio or music playing as I think that would distract me. On the other hand, I know others here who ride while listening to music and they don't apparently have any issues with concentrating on the task at hand.
Laughing emoticon I am glad I am not the only person who sings when they ride although I try to refrain from dancing.
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Music While Riding
I don't ride with any tunes due to the possible distraction. I also really enjoy just cruising along and listening to the quiet hum of my scooter. I can't be critical of anyone who rides while jamming to their favorite tunes as I do it in the car rather often. Just be alert, ride safe and have fun!

Merry Christmas,
Mike
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Raisin Hell wrote:
I wouldn't ride any vehicle (car, bike, scooter, rollerblades) with earphones on. Don't they partially block environmental noise (police, ambulance, people screaming "watch out!", tires screeching)?
Yes, they cut out noise, but (by my experience) no more so than the standard ear plugs that most motorcyclists / scooterists suggest you wear to save your hearing from wind noise.

I think the biggest danger in listening to music while scootering isn't the lack of ambient noise but rather the mental distraction of the music itself. Just think about the last time you were really concentrating while driving your car, like looking for an address or something...chances are the first thing you did was automatically reach to turn down the stereo. If the stereo is that big of a distraction while you're trying to concentrate while driving a car, how much more of a distraction is it while you're scootering?

Then again, to each his own. It all depends on the risks you want to take and the kind of traffic you're riding in. Like I said before, I occasionally break out my iPod for a quick scoot around town. It's little to no different than my step-father's Goldwing with it's in-dash CD player and helmet speakers.
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sarah wrote:
Sometimes I'll mix my commute up a little. I'll take different streets so that I'm looking at something new. If I'm not in a hurry, I'll take a side street rather than the major road I usually ride on.
+1

Fortunately (or not), there are several routes I can take home on my commute. Thanks to the ever-changing LA traffic none is ever always faster than the other. Though I have my preferred, scenic route that takes me by a Trader Joe's and the comic book store ( Nerd emoticon ) I do find myself going on autopilot sometimes so then make a point to take one of the other ways for a while and switch up where I make my turns, etc.

In a similar vein, every once in a while I'll realize that I'm riding a little too aggressively and will make a point to back off, chill and enjoy the ride.
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I sing to myself a bit, but my favorite is tucking behind the windscreen, pretending I'm on a cafe' racer, and attacking the road (at legal speeds of course...). I find pretending I'm Valentino Rossi makes me pay better attention.
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Hmmmm. I guess I better brush up on my singing skills.
Quote:
It frightens me as well, because I know I could easily become the statistic that David Hough was talking about
And that is what sparked my original post...I remembered reading in Proficient Motorcycling that accidents are high with new riders, lower as experience sets in, and higher again as riders become a little too relaxed and complacent. I recognized it was happening to me so I figured I would find ways to fight it.

Honestly, It's not a big problem for me even on long rides. The only time I have ever noticed it is during my regular commutes. But it only takes a moment to get in trouble if you're not paying attention.

(I have had, from time to time, people ask me about getting into riding, and I always tell them to get Proficient Motorcycling and read it first. )

I like the idea of finding alternate routes. Time to break out the maps!
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Good thread - well titled.
Your right - complacency creeps in on a regular commute and that is when the unexpected will occur - when you least expect it!

I have a similar commute - 14km each way with a little m/way riding, one harbour bridge and lots of suburban streets. My strategy is as follows:
1. I try to mix my route up a bit - even if it takes a little longer
2. I have this thing I do - a 'mental pinch'. Telling myself to be more alert, actively work my peripheral vision, manually work my headlight on and off full beam.
3. Take the wife's cage on a shitty day and remember how much I value scootering.
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I don't even like wearing ear plugs. And if your using music to engage your mind, I think it would be counter-productive. But then, I rarely listen to music while I'm driving anyway.

I find talking about what you see (potential dangers, road surface, etc), and what you're doing as you do it, gets me back in the zone if I catch myself riding along in a blank haze. I've read in some magazine that racers talk themselves around the track on every lap, keeps them focused. It seems to work.
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jess wrote:
It's a sign that you're very comfortable riding, then. It also means you're solidly in the danger zone.

I've reached the same kind of plateau, and I find my mind wandering off and thinking about other things. It frightens me as well, because I know I could easily become the statistic that David Hough was talking about -- I've been riding long enough that I'm no longer a danger to myself due to blatant incompetence, but I'm cocky enough about it that I'm not being hyper-vigilant about everything. In other words, still a danger to myself after all.

My choice is to make a conscious effort to be hyper-vigilant instead of thinking about other things. I hate being a statistic.
Agreed. I got very close to that a little bit ago. Getting t-boned by a cage (while, thankfully, still in a cage) reminded me how bad complacency gets... "assuming" people will do what's normal or right on the road, etc (like not running a stop sign going 20-30mph at night while talking on the cell phone).

I'm paranoid as shit.

And just a reminder to all those CA dudes who ride with headphones - it's illegal. Just know that it's possible that if you get pulled over for something else, it won't make you look better (and may lead to bigger fines or tickets) if you have to say, "hold on officer, let me turn down my iPod"...
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TheO.Z. wrote:
I'm paranoid as shit.
I'm not.
TheO.Z. wrote:
And just a reminder to all those CA dudes who ride with headphones - it's illegal. Just know that it's possible that if you get pulled over for something else, it won't make you look better (and may lead to bigger fines or tickets) if you have to say, "hold on officer, let me turn down my iPod"...
I have given up on trying to make myself look better. Rock on!
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As a "professional" driver, I view every driver in every car as a retard. I don't mean in a funny sense, but that they are seriously retarded and could do the most illogical and stupid thing at the worst possible moment.
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TheO.Z. wrote:
And just a reminder to all those CA dudes who ride with headphones - it's illegal. Just know that it's possible that if you get pulled over for something else, it won't make you look better (and may lead to bigger fines or tickets) if you have to say, "hold on officer, let me turn down my iPod"...
I thought one earphone was legal in CA... ? I've read that in many places, but it might be an urban myth of some kind, like the various non-existant but oft-quoted "laws" regarding lane splitting.
shamelessheathen wrote:
As a "professional" driver, I view every driver in every car as a retard. I don't mean in a funny sense, but that they are seriously retarded and could do the most illogical and stupid thing at the worst possible moment.
I've heard "drive like everyone is out to kill you" and other maxims for rules of the road. Mine is "drive like you're invisible": Just start with the assumption that no one can see you or acknowledges your physical presence.
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ericalm wrote:
I thought one earphone was legal in CA... ? I've read that in many places, but it might be an urban myth of some kind, like the various non-existant but oft-quoted "laws" regarding lane splitting.
no, you're right, but as I read the law it was only for communications, not for music.

*shrug*
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olhogrider wrote:
I'm not.
talk to me when several inches of steel are pressed up against your hip after being pressed in over 13" by a negligent driver you weren't worried about.

*loves* and *cuddles*
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TheO.Z. wrote:
ericalm wrote:
I thought one earphone was legal in CA... ? I've read that in many places, but it might be an urban myth of some kind, like the various non-existant but oft-quoted "laws" regarding lane splitting.
no, you're right, but as I read the law it was only for communications, not for music.
Here's the actual code:
Quote:
Wearing of Headsets or Earplugs

27400. A person operating a motor vehicle or bicycle may not wear a headset covering, or earplugs in, both ears. This prohibition does not apply to any of the following:
(a) A person operating authorized emergency vehicles, as defined in Section 165.

(b) A person engaged in the operation of either special construction equipment or equipment for use in the maintenance of any highway.

(c) A person engaged in the operation of refuse collection equipment who is wearing a safety headset or safety earplugs.

(d) A person wearing personal hearing protectors in the form of earplugs or molds that are specifically designed to attenuate injurious noise levels. The plugs or molds shall be designed in a manner so as to not inhibit the wearer's ability to hear a siren or horn from an emergency vehicle or a horn from another motor vehicle.

(e) A person using a prosthetic device that aids the hard of hearing.

Amended Sec. 45, Ch. 594, Stats. 2003. Effective January 1, 2004.
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Singing to one's self is sounding better all the time. Not to start a helmet war but fullface helmets are the best for singing. No one knows you are and they have decent acoustics. Razz emoticon
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I tried taking my MP3 player but it made me uncomfortable not being able to hear anything else so I went back to singing to myself. Sometimes when I have a song stuck in my head I will be bopping along to the beat and yes, I've gotten some pretty strange looks from cagers.
I also talk to myself...like someone else said here...talking out loud about the things I see such as road conditions, what cagers are doing or just the beautiful scenery.
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TheO.Z. wrote:
olhogrider wrote:
I'm not.
talk to me when several inches of steel are pressed up against your hip after being pressed in over 13" by a negligent driver you weren't worried about.

*loves* and *cuddles*
Been there, done that many times. Still not "paranoid". I just don't learn.
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maydaverave wrote:
Singing to one's self is sounding better all the time. Not to start a helmet war but fullface helmets are the best for singing. No one knows you are and they have decent acoustics. Razz emoticon
I confess, I do it. But often when I realize I'm doing it, that comes with the realization that I'm not paying enough attention to the road and too much attention to trying to remember lyrics or whatever.
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ericalm wrote:
Quote:
Wearing of Headsets or Earplugs

27400. A person operating a motor vehicle or bicycle may not wear a headset covering, or earplugs in, both ears. This prohibition does not apply to any of the following:
[]

(d) A person wearing personal hearing protectors in the form of earplugs or molds that are specifically designed to attenuate injurious noise levels. The plugs or molds shall be designed in a manner so as to not inhibit the wearer's ability to hear a siren or horn from an emergency vehicle or a horn from another motor vehicle.

Amended Sec. 45, Ch. 594, Stats. 2003. Effective January 1, 2004.
That reads you can wear a headset if you also wear earplugs. That is indeed how I ride, so I'd be OK in CA...
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jimc wrote:
ericalm wrote:
Quote:
Wearing of Headsets or Earplugs

27400. A person operating a motor vehicle or bicycle may not wear a headset covering, or earplugs in, both ears. This prohibition does not apply to any of the following:
[]

(d) A person wearing personal hearing protectors in the form of earplugs or molds that are specifically designed to attenuate injurious noise levels. The plugs or molds shall be designed in a manner so as to not inhibit the wearer's ability to hear a siren or horn from an emergency vehicle or a horn from another motor vehicle.

Amended Sec. 45, Ch. 594, Stats. 2003. Effective January 1, 2004.
That reads you can wear a headset if you also wear earplugs. That is indeed how I ride, so I'd be OK in CA...
I sure hope you're not a lawyer (or solicitor, barrister, whatever y'all call 'em over there.)
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Hmmm, that also states you can't wear those items in BOTH ears. I guess one earbud to the iPod is fine.
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not wear a headset covering, or earplugs in, both ears.
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platinum_ghost wrote:
Hmmm, that also states you can't wear those items in BOTH ears. I guess one earbud to the iPod is fine.
Quote:
not wear a headset covering, or earplugs in, both ears.
What it says is that you can wear earplugs (not earbuds, which would probably fall under "headphones") in both ears if they're designed to reduce injurious noise but still allow you to hear sirens and such.
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And it states that the prohibition on a dual-ear headset does not apply to those who wear earplugs to avoid injurious noise. As written of course, that may not be what they meant...
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Well, in any case, wake up while riding! I actually broke out my MSF training manual yesterday to make sure I wasn't screwing anything up by being complacent.
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jimc wrote:
And it states that the prohibition on a dual-ear headset does not apply to those who wear earplugs to avoid injurious noise. As written of course, that may not be what they meant...
No, section (d) is the exception in its entirety.
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Exactly. The prohibition does not apply.
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