Not Evangelism

Monday, December 6, 2010

OBEs for cyclists: music for cycling

Car drivers can keep their ICE. Cyclists have OBEs.

On-Bike Entertainment systems, that is. A means of listening to music whilst on the wheel.

I've seen some impressive systems, including a full boogie-box with massive speaker, on one particular ride from London to Brighton. But for the commuter, something smaller, more discrete, and lighter is appropriate.

My current OBE is a Sony NWZ-8142F paired with a set of Philips sport earphones.

The Sony is a great little device; it's small, lightweight, and doubles as a USB drive. So I can take files to and from the office, if I ever need to, and charge it using any USB port. Putting music on it is as simple as dragging and dropping. There's also an FM radio, which I'll admit I've never used.

It's no longer available, in the way of consumer electronics, but the current Sony NWZB153 is similar.

The Philips earphones have that little ear hook that goes behind each ear and helps keep the earphones in place.  I have slightly strangely shaped ears and struggle to keep regular earphones in place so sport-type earphones are de rigueur for me.

At a push, I could use my phone, but it's easier to tuck the Sony into my sleeve (even using an elastic band to keep it in place) or arm warmers for cable management.

The buttons of the Sony are a tiny bit small, and definitely no use when wearing gloves.  But an OBE should be a set-and-forget; it's not for fiddling with once in the saddle. No, set it up and get on with the ride. And never never never fiddle with your OBE on a climb.

Music for OBEs

Fundamentally, it's whatever works for you and your riding style. In the morning I favour something with a bit more pace, a higher BPM; something to stir the reluctant blood and get the muscles working. At the end of the day, I find the tracks that worked in the morning quite often irritate, and I need something a bit more soothing.

The soundtrack to my summer commute is currently being revised for the cooler, darker months.

What's on your OBE? Which tunes are getting you going in the winter mornings? Leave a comment below.

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