April 30, 2015
While I enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with cycling on the open road, I do like to have music along with me on bike tours. Here are a couple products we've had fly through the office that are great for tuning into your bicycle touring soundtrack.
I don't condone bicycling with earphones since you need to be able to hear traffic around you, however, I will almost always pack a set of small earphones for any style of cycling trip. Lately I've been a big fan of the MK5 isolator earphones from Etymotic. Don't be fooled by their size. These earphones pack some great sound quality, and are designed to fit snuggly so that they minimize background noises. This is particularly useful in group campgrounds, where other folks can be creating a loud ruckus late into the night. At $59, these can be a bit spendy, but they do come through well with sound quality, build quality, and comfort. Included with the earphones are three different ear tips. It's a good idea to play around with these to find the set that is most comfortable for you. Also included is a nice carrying pouch, which helps protect your earphones when they are floating around in your panniers or backpack during the day.
If you want to listen to some music or a podcast while on the bike, I'm a proponent of external bluetooth speakers. These allow you to tune into whatever you're listening to, and also hear traffic around you. The Buckshot speaker by Outdoor Technology is an excellent option, and priced well at $49.99. Sync this to your smartphone and you've got a great small portable speaker that straps to your handlebar and is water resistant. It comes in a variety of colors to match your personal aesthetic, and pumps out some impressive volume.
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh's "Fine Tuned" column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.