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Thread: Do you listen to audio books while riding?

  1. #16
    Registered User marcopolo's Avatar
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    Not A Good Idea

    I can't believe it would be a good idea. I don't listen to music (except my own singing) when I ride, let alone abook. As several have said, you want your concentration to be on the road and what's around you, not on the book.
    Mark
    2006 R1200RT

  2. #17
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by username
    i'm considering adding audio to my bike so that on long trips i can listen to someone besides myself. one thing i've thought about is that you can get audiobooks to listen to.

    do any of do this? i've listened to two books on tape in my life while in a car. it was interesting. what im wondering is if you have done this on the bike, did it mess up your concentration? i wonder if my brain can process riding awareness and book content simultaneously for hours at a time. in a car i feel ok zoning out occasionally, but on the bike i'd like to minimize that. so if you've tried audiobooks, i'd like to hear about it.
    Only if you want to DIE! I don't, so I never listen to books on tape, not even while driving a car. The only things I do while riding are:

    1. Look ahead, far ahead
    2. Scan left-right as you bring your sight picture back
    3. Check mirrors.
    4. Check gauges.

    Repeat.

    NO BOOKS AN TAPE.....MYSELF...NO MUSIC!

  3. #18
    USERNAME
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKETHEBIKE
    Only if you want to DIE! I don't, so I never listen to books on tape, not even while driving a car. The only things I do while riding are:

    1. Look ahead, far ahead
    2. Scan left-right as you bring your sight picture back
    3. Check mirrors.
    4. Check gauges.

    Repeat.

    NO BOOKS AN TAPE.....MYSELF...NO MUSIC!
    mike, i'm highly skeptical of your claim above that if i do not listen to books while riding, i will achieve immortality.

    also, i'll bet you $100 that those aren't the *only* things you do while riding.

    i think you need to take a good look in the mirror and think about what you say to people like me. i admit that i am highly gullible. and regardless of how much money i've lost, i still think amway products are superior to those found in the stores! i can't believe you are treating me like this!

  4. #19
    I Used to Be Someone sheridesabeemer's Avatar
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    Stick w/music

    Well I'm not adding anything new, but I'll join those who said it's not a good idea. I love books on CD or tape in the car, as I'm in the car ~3 hours a day. But we all know the level of effort does not compare. I found that on my ride out to Spokane last summer, I'd listen to tunes only 3-4 hours a day, I needed more focus in the AM, and in city traffic; where as long stretches in Nowhereville, MT was perfect for music. But a book takes your mind else where, and builds scenery, characters, thinkgs about plot etc. Else you zone out on the book, and realize you have no idea what is happening!

    Gail
    Last edited by SheRidesABeemer; 03-27-2005 at 02:14 AM. Reason: typo
    Gail Hatch
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  5. #20
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    Well, I've been silent up until now about this thread, not wanting to draw anybody's wrath or ire, because I am a listener. An audio book listener, that is. I have been listening to audio books for over 20 years while riding and driving. I listen to them daily. My comute is only 3 miles, but anytime I'm on the bike or in the cage I usually have a book going. I am 50 years old, ride over 20k per year, and have been riding on the street since I was 15 yoa. I've been down 4 times in that 35 year span, the worst get off required surgery to repair a shoulder when I high-sided a brand new Goldwing in 1981 avoiding an errant oncoming left-turning cage (who's insurance company paid for all my expenses and lost wages plus some). My long winded point is that none of my mishaps have been related to inattention on my part due to distractions while listening to audio books. Our brains are mighty complex and powerfull. Some of us can even multi-task. My SO can even read a newspaper while listening to an audio book. A great source for audio books is your public library. I also belong to a service, audible.com, where I down load books to listen too while riding. I prefer the unabridged recordings.
    Pete Wittstruck
    '07 R1200GSA
    Turlock CA

  6. #21
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by username
    mike, i'm highly skeptical of your claim above that if i do not listen to books while riding, i will achieve immortality.

    also, i'll bet you $100 that those aren't the *only* things you do while riding.

    i think you need to take a good look in the mirror and think about what you say to people like me. i admit that i am highly gullible. and regardless of how much money i've lost, i still think amway products are superior to those found in the stores! i can't believe you are treating me like this!
    That is humor, right?
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  7. #22
    USERNAME
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    pete - i've got a friend and he thinks he'd be fine listening to books too.

    i think all of our brains are different, with different capacity and bandwith for various things. the visual and auditory portions of the brain can be processed independently of each other, and i think for some it is totally within the realm of possibility that they can listen to books and safely operate machinery. i'm not convinced that *i* can do both simultaneously, so i sought to find out if i was in the minority or majority.

    if you can do it, good!

  8. #23
    RoboCommuter philabeemer's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Holy Cow!

    Who'd have thunk this question would get such intense feedback. Anyway, spurred me on to give mine. I commute 70 miles roundtrip to work. Almost all of it on I95 between Philly and Wilmington. Everyone moves fast, people drive badly, traffic is heavy. Not a good combination for audiobooks and driving you would think. However, I have an MP3 player and a subscription from audible.com that allows me to download five complete books a month. For 24 months (not entirely true since I missed 11 days due to snow), I have been doing this commute daily and listening to audiobooks the whole time.

    I have had a couple of close calls with folks cutting me off, or veering while rubbernecking an accident, and I have never felt that my evasive maneuvers or reaction time were in any way compromised by the fact that during the whole process I had an audiobook playing.

    There may be people out there who cannot process more than one input at a time, and I would suggest that those people should not be allowed to drive. Period. If anything, I have found that trying to solely concentrate on driving is actually counter-productive as it fatigues me a lot more than listening to books on tape.

    Driving does require attention, but for the most part even my extremely defensive driving, with constant scanning, anticipating and reacting, is in no way compromised by audiobooks.

    Cheers,
    Philabeemer

    Note: I am not affiliated with audible.com except as an extremely happy customer.

  9. #24
    USERNAME
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    thanks to all the good advice pro and con, i've decided to do a little testing on my own. after all, my brain is not your brain, so i might as well see what mine can handle. last night i purchased some etymotic er6i earbuds an iPod mini and the little remote control fob-thing. in addition, i went and snagged a copy of total recorder that allows me to record streaming audio to mp3 format and listen to it later. so right now, my PC at home is sucking down episodes of this american life and as soon as everything arrives, i'll go do three types of riding listening to both music and spoken word, and try to step outside myself and see how my attention is focused. i'll ride in town, commuting. i'll ride country roads. i'll go do an hour on the local interstate. then i'll post my thoughts in this thread. it'll be interesting.

    thanks to everyone for taking the time to read and post.

  10. #25
    USERNAME
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    running the risk of talking to myself, i'll provide an update.

    this past weekend the ipod arrived. i loaded a number of songs and a few episodes of TAL. then i spent 30 minutes to an hour futzing around trying to figure out how i wanted to mount the ipod. there doesn't seem to be a simple solution with my current tankbag and jacket. this tells me that the ipod is an excelletn piece of equipment, becuase it is enabling, no, DEMANDING another gear purchase. so i'm going to shop for tank bags. anyway, i mounted it in my current bag, and fa-shizzled a little tab to clip the remote to, and i was ready to go.

    the noise in the helmet was just too much. i had to turn everything way up to hear it on the highway. then when i'd stop, it would seem super loud. i need to re-evaluate the whole thing when the other earbuds arrive. if they cut down the noise enough, i should be all set.

    as for content vs. road type, i got the results i expected. listening to something like this american life while riding on city streets, any road with hairy traffic, and on curvy technical roads was dangerous for me. i tried all three and decided i don't have the right kind of brain to listen to meaningful speaking and focus on the ride at the same time. i'm going to try again with the etymotics, because they will (should) allow me to listen at a lower volume level, and that may be less distracting, but i'm ok with it not working out.

    music on the above roads was fine, albeit too loud. (i dont like things loud.)

    TAL on a dull piece of highway was another story. that was no problem.

    i havent found a way to measure it quantitatively, but for me, it's a function of number of stimuli. on the slab, it's few stimuli. in the city, with more cars coming at me from different directions, stoplights, etc, i need too much of my brain to let some be devoted to decoding and interpreting interesting radio. too many of the stimuli are critical and need to be focused upon, and that focus needs to rotate and shift around to different ones at different times.

    i'll re-test with the etymotics sometime this week, and post again.

    anyone with a slick tankbag/jacket/ipod mounting/cord routing scheme, please weigh in, i'm looking for ideas.

  11. #26
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
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    I just tried an audio book on a plane flight, after reading this thread.

    I slept through most of it. Then again, there were some mitigating circumstances. Was up at 4:30AM for flight, got five hours of sleep. Book was 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
    -=Brad

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  12. #27
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    Some audio helps the driver

    Sunday I mapped out a route on my Street Pilot, popped it into the RAM mount, attached a small earbud type device, and headed out. I found the audio instructions very, very helpful on the road. Particularly when headed down the slap at 75+mph (which I don't do very often), it was nice to get verbal clues of which exit to take, or which way I would turn at the next exit. It helped me keep my eyes on the road and the traffic ahead. Even though the Street Pilot gives large, very visible cues for each turn, the verbal cues were far nicer, and not distracting.

    Dan

  13. #28
    USERNAME
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradfordBenn
    I just tried an audio book on a plane flight, after reading this thread.

    I slept through most of it. Then again, there were some mitigating circumstances. Was up at 4:30AM for flight, got five hours of sleep. Book was 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
    brad - i think it is BEAUTIFUL that you slept through a book like that. totally hilarious. im guessing "sleeping through motivational books on tape" is not one of the habits?

    fantastic.

  14. #29
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by BradfordBenn
    That is humor, right?
    If it wasen't, I need to check my sence of it.

  15. #30
    USERNAME
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    Quote Originally Posted by MIKETHEBIKE
    If it wasen't, I need to check my sence of it.

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