Stereo systems for bikes

I’ve often wondered why bikes can’t have stereos. One of the great joys of driving your own car is being able to listen to your own music, even at high volume. But the only way to do that on a bike is headphones- which are dangerous due to traffic- or boomboxes attached to the bike – which may annoy passersby.

This is a neat version of the latter but obviously not especially practical. Here are some slightly better versions but they are still far from your ears so would need to be loud with low sound quality and high neighbor disturbance.

I think there’s still room for more innovation in “bike stereo systems” that allows me to listen to music without it being dangerous and without annoying everyone else around me.

Tunebug seems like it might fit the bill by putting the music near my ears but not in my ears. Probably requires wearing a helmet though and if you are wearing one you probably already feel unsafe and may not want to reduce your safety further. But this seems to be the right direction.

Anyone know of any others?


4 responses to “Stereo systems for bikes

  1. I’m not keen on loud music systems. it seems to go against the silent enjoyment of cycling.

    As for public annoyance, some of the really loud car sound systems I’ve heard, seem more suited to performing seismic surveys than for listening enjoyment.

    When one of those goes by, I think to myself ‘****ing idiots’, and I fully expect that most of them really are ****ing idiots.

    • Just to clarify, I was suggesting that a good biking sound system would compose of the following features:
      1. Safe: enables cyclist to listen to music without compromising their safety (eg, lets them still hear what’s going on around them)
      2. Non-audible to other cyclists/passersby/car drivers (no annoyance to others)
      3. Easy to adjust volume/soundtrack/etc. (as safe and easy as shifting gears)
      4. Ideally adjustable to helmet or non-helmet wearing options
      If you don’t want to listen to music- yours or others- that should be your choice. But if you do want to listen to music (or a podcast) without compromising your safety or the comfort of others’ quiet airspace you should be able to do this as well.

  2. Your points are agreed, but practical considerations indicate that real-world personal stereos are similar to car-stereos, differing little except in power output and do often impinge negatively on others, decrease the individual’s attention and ability to hear and thereby increase danger etc.

    There is at least one method capable of delivering sound locally, without it being easily audible nearby. IIRC, it was developed by the US authorities for crowd manipulation. To deliver sound at a distance to an individual in a crowd uses audible sound superimposed [modulated] upon an ultrasonic carrier. The modulated ultrasound is completely inaudible.
    Ultrasound is highly directional but of limited range. To achieve the conversion to audible sound, a second beam of unmodulated ultrasound carrier frequency is directed to intersect with the first beam, where they interact and audible sound emanates from thin-air, the consequence of the mechanism of ‘beats’ or interference – it’s called ‘acoustical heterodyning’.
    Clearly, if used to produce high sound-levels, this method will cause similar problems to those resulting from open headphones.

    Using such technology, it would be possible to transmit the sound of a swarm of large buzzing insects, gunfire, ghostly wails, disembodied voices etc. Highly effective for dispersing a crowd. There should be no reason why it won’t work for any sound, including music.

    For stereo, one just needs a second channel

    The practical downside of this method are numerous. Whether this would be easily applicable to bicycles [there would likely be refraction and wind-speed complications], wind-noise, head movement would cause complications [avoided if head-mounted], the power requirement, along with construction, vibration resistance, weatherproofing, cost and mass implications of the device.

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